Video: New twist in Susan Powell case

  1. Closed captioning of: New twist in Susan Powell case

    >>> now to the latest on the arrest of the steven powell , the father-in-law of missing utah mom susan powell . he was arraigned in court on monday on more than a dozen counts including possession of child importapornography.

    >> reporter: steven powell entered a not guilty plea friday, his first court appearance after he was formally charged with 14 counts of child pornography possession. it was last month when investigators raided his home in connection with susan 's disappearance. they say they discovered thousands of images of young girls and women in various states of undress. the pictures and video taken without their knowledge. among the victims secretly shot, say prosecutors, susan powell and sisters who were just 8 and 10 years old.

    >> we're going to seek justice for the children in this case and we're going to hold steven powell accountable for every crime that he's committed in pierce county .

    >> reporter: the police raid on steven powell 's home in what they call a ten-year stash of pictures came just hours after he spoke to nbc news last month. during our interview, steven claimed his daughter-in-law susan disappeared after she ran off with another man.

    >> she was very flirtation and sexual with people.

    >> susan 's father calls those allegations disgusting and false.

    >> clearly, plablatantly an attempt to assassinate my daughter's character.

    >> reporter: josh powell wouldn't comment this week, but he told police susan vanished after he took their boys camping in a snowstorm nearly two years ago. police call josh their only person of interest . because josh powell shares a home with his father, he'll be back in court next week to try to regain custody of his two children who are now with child protective services . meantime, steven powell faces multiple felonies. for today, miguel al miguair.

    >> with us now is the father of susan powell , his attorney, frank cox . chuck , i know you have no warm feelings for steven powell . he has said hurtful things about your daughter in the past. react, if you can, to these charges that he now faces.

    >> it fully took my by surprise. i never got along very well with him, but i had no idea the extent of the issues that have been brought up the.

    >> had susan ever raised any black flag issues in her relationship she had with him?

    >> absolutely, she was uncomfortable with him. she said something had happened. she didn't want to go into details. she did want to get away from him.

    >> and, ann , let me ask you about some of the images in the home were of minors. i know the children of josh and susan , chuck 's grandchildren lived in the home with steven powell . they've been placed in foster care . chuck , i know, is going back to court on wednesday on the child custody issue. you're not his attorney of record on that. what can you tell us about that?

    >> well, the children, of course, were placed in protective custody . and that's kind of a silver lining here for chuck and judy in terms of seeing their grandkids again because they haven't been able to up till now because of josh and steven 's actions and desires and court actions. so what happens now is they go into court , there's an issue about temporary custody for chuck and judy, where they could have the grandchildren because, of course, it's not a safe home.

    >> and, chuck , you were in court yesterday and got a win on another issue. steven and josh powell were threatening to release your daughter's journals to the public, journals she had written at a younger age. you won an injunction against the release. why was that important to you and what do you think the point of them want to go release those was?

    >> well, their point, i believe, is simply they wanted to embarrass us, they wanted to attack sue an's character. and the importance is, they had no right to publish her personal journals . and i was very thankful that that's the way the ruling went.

    >> and, ann , let me turn back to you again regarding if arrest of steven powell . as i said, he had said hurtful things in the past about susan and suggested maybe she had run off with another person. the fact he's been arrested now on what a appears to be a totally unrelated charge, how does that affect the missing person case here, and his credibility in it?

    >> well, the fact of the matter, there was information early on that he said he wanted to share with susan . so the thought in the beginning walls maybe he could be involved and maybe he had her some place alive. so it's come full circle . there was a creep factor here and she said he creeped her out. but no one had any idea the extent to which he was involved in voyeurism, pictures of susan , etcetera. this has to be digested by law enforcement . but the other part of it is does he have information about josh and does she have an incentive somehow to point the finger at this only person of interest they've had so far in this tragic disappearance case of susan cox powell ?

    >> chuck and ann , we thank you very much for your time this morning. we appreciate it.

updated 9/23/2011 4:47:00 PM ET 2011-09-23T20:47:00

The father-in-law of a missing Utah woman on Friday pleaded not guilty to charges of possessing child pornography and secretly videotaping her, other women and young girls without their knowledge.

Steven Powell, 61, entered the pleas in court in Washington state on Friday. A judge has set bail at $200,000.

Powell was arrested on Thursday at this home in Puyallup, a city south of Seattle.

Prosecutor Mark Lindquist said Powell was charged with 14 felony counts of voyeurism and one count of possession of child pornography. He said police found "thousands of images of females being videotaped without their knowledge, including Susan Powell," on tapes and discs seized from his home during an Aug. 25 search as part of their investigation into her disappearance.

Powell is the father of Josh Powell, Susan's husband, who is the only named person of interest in his wife's disappearance. Josh Powell has never been arrested or charged in the case.

"The photographer focuses on the women's buttocks, breasts," Lindquist said in a statement. "Many images were of minor females."

The images included shots of two girls who were as young as 8 and 10 years old at the time, the prosecutor said.

Image: Susan Powell
Amber Hardman  /  AP
Susan Powell, a 28-year-old mother of two young children, was reported missing Dec. 7, 2009.

Pierce County authorities determined those girls lived near Steven Powell from June 2006 to August 2007.

A person who answered the phone at the Powell home Thursday night hung up on a reporter.

Josh Powell, as well as his two sons, had been living with Steven Powell in Puyallup, but a lawyer for the Washington state attorney general on Friday said the boys are now in foster care.

Susan Powell's father, Chuck Cox, on Friday sought custody of the boys, but a court official said he would not decide until after a child services investigation.

In a statement issued late Wednesday, West Valley City, Utah police, who are investigating Susan Powell's disappearance, said Steven Powell's arrest was not related to the missing persons case.

West Valley City police have said Josh Powell has been uncooperative in the investigation into his missing wife. He claims he took the couple's two sons — then ages 4 and 2 — on a midnight camping trip in the mountains west of Salt Lake City on Dec. 6, 2009, the night before Susan Powell was reported missing.

Authorities have spent the last 11 days searching a remote central Utah desert about 30 miles from where Josh Powell claims he went camping that night. At one point, they said they found a "shallow grave" after cadaver dogs alerted them to the spot, but they later found no human remains.

Image: Josh Powell
Elaine Thompson  /  AP file
Josh Powell has denied any involvement in his wife's disappearance.

The search of Powell's home came after police wrapped up a search for evidence in a network of abandoned mines outside Ely, Nev.

Around that time in August, Josh Powell and his father went on national television to discuss the case.

They claimed Susan Powell was promiscuous, emotionally unstable and suicidal, a claim her family denies.

Steven Powell said he had a flirtatious relationship with his daughter-in-law and believed they were in love.

"Susan was very sexual with me," Steve Powell told ABC's Good Morning America. "We interacted in a lot of sexual ways because Susan enjoys doing that."

Cox denied the allegations, and said it was Steve Powell who initiated unwanted sexual advances. Cox didn't return a telephone call Thursday night.

Josh Powell has denied killing his wife or having anything to do with her disappearance.

"I would never even hurt her," a tearful, red-eyed Josh Powell told CBS' Early Show in August.

Josh and his father have said they believe Susan Powell ran off with another man.

"I'm still thinking she left," Steve Powell told the AP in August. "Hopefully they'll be able to find her at some point. ... We don't believe she's dead."

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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