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Journals reveal Steven Powell's obsession with missing daughter-in-law

Thousands of handwritten pages in Steven Powell's journal details an obsession with his missing daughter-in-law, Susan Cox Powell. KING's Elisa Hahn reports.

Updated at 6:18 a.m. ET: Nearly 3,000 pages from journals kept by Steven Powell have been released to the public, revealing in intimate detail his obsession with his daughter-in-law, who disappeared in Utah in 2009.

Steven Powell is the father of Josh Powell, who in February used a hatchet to chop at his two young sons before blowing up the house that contained the three of them. Josh Powell’s wife, Susan Cox-Powell, remains missing.

“The fact is, I can hardly control myself when it comes to her,” Steven Powell wrote in his journal.


In passages from 17 spiral notebooks, which spanned more than a decade, Powell allegedly wrote of sexual fantasies and expressions of love for his daughter-in-law as early as January 2003.

He admitted he secretly recorded Susan and watched the videos while masturbating. In some entries, he admitted to "looking at her naked body under the bathroom door (using a mirror)."

The journals also included photographs of Susan and parts of her body. Powell confessed to secretly stealing her private belongings, like her underwear and the discarded strips she used to wax her legs, and even wrote songs about her.

Josh Powell kills himself and their two little boys. What made Josh Powell snap? Dateline NBC's Keith Morrison reports.

"She is an amazing woman. I hope I am right, that she is in love with me, but of course there is the problem of her being married to my son," Powell wrote.

Read the original story at King 5 News

The journals reportedly indicated Powell believed Susan felt the same way, but when he told her about his feelings, she didn't speak to him for months.

Newly unsealed documents tied to the disappearance of Utah mother Susan Powell have many people questioning why charges were never filed against the woman's husband, Josh Powell, who later killed himself and the couple's young sons. NBC's Miguel Almaguer reports.

When Susan Powell disappeared in December 2009, Steven Powell called in sick to work for two days, according to police reports. Some suspect he was involved in her disappearance, but in his journal he claimed she ran off with another man and was certain he would see her again.

"I would be devastated were I to find out Susan was dead from any cause," he wrote.

Officials: Powell children had head and neck wounds

Ted S. Warren / AP file

Ken Landgrebe lights a candle next to photographs of Susan Cox Powell and her sons Braden and Charlie, during a candlelight vigil at McKinley Park in Tacoma, Wash., held the day after the boys' father, Josh Powell, set fire to the house they were in.

Powell talked about being in despair at one point when he thought Susan was dead. He wrote that he lost 20 pounds and said she was his reason for living.

Court documents released Tuesday also revealed that investigators in Utah almost immediately began classifying Susan Powell’s 2009 disappearance as a murder and kidnapping probe. It was largely focused on her husband, Josh Powell.

Last year, authorities got a warrant to search the Puyallup home of Steven Powell. Josh Powell and his sons were living there at the time. Investigators found explicit images of underage neighbor girls on Steven Powell’s computers during the search. He was convicted in May on 14 voyeurism counts and sentenced to 2 ½ years in prison.

Two young boys who died in a murder-suicide at the hands of their father, Josh Powell, are remembered at a memorial service. NBC's Miguel Almaguer reports.

During the trial, prosecutors described a 2004 diary entry in which Powell wrote, "He is a voyeur and Susan's an exhibitionist and they're a perfect match."

Authorities said Steven Powell has been uncooperative in their investigation into the disappearance of his daughter-in-law, who he claims he had a flirtatious relationship with, something her family denies.

The two children were placed in the care of Susan’s parents, but Josh Powell was later allowed to see them. Police discovered hundreds of images of disturbing cartoon sex and graphic depictions of incest on Josh Powell's home computer something Utah authorities investigating his wife's disappearance kept private for about two years.

Cops: Josh Powell murder-suicide house was sham set up for social worker visits

In February, a Washington state psychologist altered her assessment after reviewing the images and ordered Josh Powell to undergo a psycho-sexual evaluation. That conclusion came just six days before Josh attacked the boys with a hatchet, then lit his Washington rental home ablaze, killing himself and his sons. 

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