Crime writer Ann Rule plans to write Susan Cox Powell’s story
Missing Persons Examiner
PUYALLUP, Washington (Isabelle Zehnder reporting) -- Crime writer Ann Rule announced last week that she will be publishing a book about Susan Cox Powell, the young West Valley City, Utah mom who went missing in Dec. 2009.
Susan literally vanished without a trace. Three weeks ago Susan's husband, Josh Powell, set his rental house on fire killing himself and their two young sons in what police have called a double-murder-suicide. He was the only person of interest until his death.
Susan’s father, Chuck Cox, wants to make it clear that he and his wife do not wish to profit from the book. Rule made a contribution to the Susan Cox Powell Foundation, and any other money entitled to the family will be used to advance the foundation’s mission, Chuck said.
Rule told KIRO 97.3 radio, “This would be in the top five things that have shocked me over the last 30 years. A lot of parents kill their children to get revenge on an ex-spouse, but they usually don’t die themselves.”
Chuck says he is in support of the book because he believes it will bring attention to his daughter’s case. He wants people to know what went wrong during the investigation into Susan’s disappearance as well as shortcomings by Washington child welfare agencies. He believes those shortcomings include emphasis on family reunification over the safety of children. As a child and family advocate in the State of Washington, I agree wholeheartedly.
On Thursday Chuck, his wife, and their attorneys joined State Senator Pam Roach (R) at a press conference and town hall meeting in Olympia to discuss Roach’s demands for a review of child welfare policies following the death of Charlie and Braden.For more on Thursday’s hearing read: Coxes, attorney call for changes in Washington State’s CPS, DSHS systems.
Roach rightfully criticized the state’s approval of the children’s visitations with their father after concerns were raised that the boys had been exposed to pornography at the home of their grandfather, Steve Powell, where they were living for over two years with their father.
The boys died during a supervised visit with their father at his rental home in Graham. Josh lured the children saying, “I have a surprise for you,” dragged them inside, locked their social worker out of the house, attacked the boys with a hatchet, and then set the house on fire after dousing it with 10 gallons of gasoline.
Josh left messages to family members saying he couldn’t stand to live without his children, who had been placed in the custody of their maternal grandparents, Chuck and Judy Cox, after Josh was investigated in a child pornography case involving his father.
Chuck said if he has to he will file a wrongful death lawsuit to facilitate change. He said he’s optimistic that he can make his points outside the legal system by working to revamp public policies. Chuck will have a tremendous amount of support in his endeavors as a great number of people have been crying out for change within the systems that are supposed to be there to protect children and so often fail them.
Chuck also said he doesn’t blame any of the case workers for what happened to his grandsons, and that he believes they had Charlie and Braden’s best interests at heart. A review of nearly 1,000 pages of documents from DSHS shows that to be true.
The Coxes will keep up the work of the Susan Cox Powell Foundation. The foundation was formed in 2010 to give support to other families with missing loved ones. Chuck is hoping to work with other foundations dedicated to families who have gone through a tragedy.
"When people have a difficult situation, they’ll know there is someplace to turn," Cox said. "I’m kind of excited about that, trying to make something good come out it."