Video: Susan Powell’s kin ‘shocked, outraged’ by porn charges

  1. Closed captioning of: Susan Powell’s kin ‘shocked, outraged’ by porn charges

    >>> we begin this half-hour with new details on the arrest of the father-in-law in the case of a missing utah mom, susan powell . he's now facing serious charges, including child pornography after a raid on his home tied to his daughter-in-law's disappearance. in a moment we'll talk to susan powell 's parents. but first, nbc's miguel almaguer is in tacoma, washington with the latest.

    >> reporter: good morning. steven powell spent the weekend in jail unable to make bail. detectives say they've just begun their investigation and say more charges could follow. in his first court appearance, steven powell pled not guilty to 14 counts of voyeurism and possession of child pornography . behind bars on $200,000 bails, the father-in-law of susan powell is accused of secretly videotaping the missing mother & and an unknown number of other females, including two sisters from his neighborhood just 8 and 10 years old. police say some of the unsuspecting victims including the children were nude.

    >> we don't know how many victims there are because we've only looked at 5% to 10% of the photographs and videos. what's most disturbing to us is the weird creepy factor with this is already high.

    >> reporter: police raided powell 's home last month. detectives then saying only the search warrant was connected to susan 's disappearance. police now say they've recovered over 1,000 images, some ten years of secret videotapes and pictures. the raid conducted the same day steven powell told nbc news his daughter-in-law had likely run off with another man and often flirted with him.

    >> susan and i -- it just happened. i don't know -- i think it was more her than me at the beginning but as it progressed, it was both of us.

    >> reporter: susan 's family has always denied steven powell 's allegations, calling them victim blaming .

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

    >> reporter: police say the arrest is not connected to susan 's disappearance but susan 's sister says steven powell may know something more.

    >> just knowing that -- what he's capable of, i thought i heard it all, seen it all from that family.

    >> reporter: susan 's husband, josh powell , told police his wife disappeared nearly two years ago after he had taken their young boys camping overnight in a snowstorm in the utah desert. shortly after susan vanished, police named josh a person of interest. but he's always denied any involvement in her disappearance.

    >> i could never hurt susan or my sons.

    >> reporter: shortly after susan vanished, josh and his children moved back home here to washington state with steven powell . but after steven 's arrest, the boys were removed from the home and placed in protective custody .

    >> i want them to be with a stable family where they can learn good values and grow up normally.

    >> reporter: susan 's family is now ready for a custody hearing set for wednesday. a legal battle playing out in the same courthouse where steven powell 's been charged with multiple felonies and faces five years in prison. since the arrest, the powell family has denied all of our interview requests and late last week they suffered another setback in court -- a judge said they could not publish susan 's private journals. ann?

    >> miguel almaguer, thank you so much.

    >>> chuck and judy cox are susan powell 's parents. good morning to both of you.

    >> good morning.

    >> morning.

    >> possession of child pornography , voyeurism. chuck, let me start with you. what's your reaction to hearing these kinds of charges against your daughter, susan 's, father-in-law?

    >> very disturbing. i had no idea that this was going on.

    >> do you think, given that the police are now treating his case as a separate case -- you know, i guess i'm asking what is your thinking about this? are you more concerned that steven powell could have been involved in your daughter's disappearance? judy , want to weigh in on that?

    >> i feel, being his father, i think it is very possible that he knows something. but that's the investigation with the police .

    >> chuck, you want to add to that?

    >> well, it increases my concern but we let the police do their police work. we are very comfortable that they investigated all aspects of our daughter's disappearance and they're continuing to work hard on it.

    >> have they asked you about what susan may have told you regarding steven powell 's behavior toward her, whether she reported any instance in which she caught him videotaping her?

    >> we discussed all aspects with the police and we have told them that she was uncomfortable with steven .

    >> you know, i am just trying to get a sense about how you two are wrapping your minds around all the sort of facts of this case. i mean would you say that you are shock by these charges against steven powell ?

    >> oh, definitely. definitely shocked by the charges. we had no idea that there would be this -- that this type of situation was going on.

    >> does it change the way you look at josh, judy ?

    >> it's hard to look at possibly even the whole family. we just are amazed of -- and shocked and outraged at steven powell .

    >> i know that at the end of miguel almaguer's report we heard that your grandsons have been removed now from the home. have you been able to see these children, your grandchildren? do you know that they're okay?

    >> we haven't been able to see them. we heard they were in protective custody and we're glad that they're being taken care of.

    >> so what is your best hope now as you wait for word about your still-missing daughter, still missing after two years, and your two grandsons now in someone else's care? judy , what is your best hope now?

    >> well, we're very pleased that the children are staf aafe and out of the home. we still want to focus on finding our daughter and we feel with all the energy and actions that have been going on with the police that they are doing their job and i think they're doing an excellent job.

    >> we hope they're getting close to resolution. they're going to arrest the persons responsible and we're going to find out where our daughter is.

    >> well, that's what we all wish you the best on that, chuck and judy cox, thank you so much this morning for joining us. our best to you.

    >> thank you.

    >> thank you.

updated 9/28/2011 12:50:56 AM ET 2011-09-28T04:50:56

The children of a Utah woman who's been missing since late 2009 have been placed in the care of her parents.

Sherry Hill, a spokeswoman for the Washington state Children's Administration, said Tuesday that the department's legal counsel had confirmed in court that the 4- and 6-year-old sons of Susan and Josh Powell would remain with Susan's parents, Chuck and Judy Cox, pending future court orders.

The boys had been living with Josh Powell and his father, Steve, in Puyallup, but the children were taken out of the home last week after Steve was arrested on charges of voyeurism and possessing child pornography. John Long, the assistant attorney general representing the Children's Administration, told a judge Tuesday that Josh Powell is also a subject in that investigation — prompting Josh to quickly deny any such activity.

"I have had nothing to do with any kind of illegal pornography," he said.

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

Chuck Cox's attorney, Steve Downing, confirmed that the boys were turned over to his clients Tuesday afternoon.

"The Cox family has had a very good and very strong relationship with these children," Downing said. "They had a joyous reunion and that's all I can say."

Pierce County sheriff's spokesman Ed Troyer did not immediately return an email seeking to confirm Long's assertion, but told The News Tribune of Tacoma that everyone in Steve Powell's house is a person of interest: "We have not eliminated anybody and we are not at the point of arresting anybody else," Troyer said.

The boys were placed in foster care after Steve Powell's arrest, but by Tuesday Child Protective Services had turned them over to their maternal grandparents.

Downing told the judge that the children were being harmed because they had never received counseling about their mother's disappearance, they might have been exposed to the inappropriate videos, and they had been cut off from their maternal grandparents without explanation.

"Those kids may know something, and he sure as the dickens doesn't want them talking to anybody," Downing told Judge Kathryn Nelson.

Powell countered that he's a good, loving father; that the children are not at risk; and that they've never been exposed to porn of any kind. He also made clear that his family would not be posting bail for his father, and that if Steve Powell somehow managed to return home, Josh Powell would take the boys and stay at a hotel.

"There is no clear and present danger to my sons," he said.

Steve Powell pleaded not guilty to 14 charges of voyeurism and one of possession of child pornography. He remains jailed on $200,000 bail. Prosecutors said that for at least a decade, he had been secretly filming women, including Susan Powell, and that he shot footage of two young neighbor girls as they took baths and sat on the toilet.

Image: Josh Powell
Elaine Thompson  /  AP file
Josh Powell

The judge took the matter under consideration and told the parties to reconvene Wednesday morning. After the hearing, Chuck Cox declined to comment when asked about whether his grandsons were already staying with him.

Josh Powell frequently came near tears during Tuesday's hearing, breaking up as he described how the boys sat on his lap and hugged him during a visit supervised by CPS on Monday. He also grew emotional as he described the failure of the "general public" to look for his wife: "That, your honor, is deeply hurtful to me."

Josh Powell has said he took his boys, then 2 and 4, on a late night camping trip in freezing temperatures the day his wife disappeared from their West Valley City, Utah, home.

Authorities wrapped up a 12-day search of the desert Friday about 30 miles from where Josh Powell said 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 found no human remains. Charred wood chips discovered in the hole have been sent to a lab for testing.

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

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