Interview bombshell: Susan was 'unstable,' father-in-law loved her

Interview bombshell: Susan was 'unstable,' father-in-law loved her
Susan Powell
PUYALLUP, Wash. - In a new bombshell interview, the father-in-law of missing mom Susan Powell admits that that he interacted "sexually" with her before her mysterious 2009 disappearance, and her now husband says she was mentally unstable.

Also in the interview, conducted Wednesday by ABC News, Susan Powell's husband Josh says he still loves her and misses her.

"I guess you could say that I still love her, it's a different kind of love," he said. And if he could speak to her now, he would say, "I miss her ... I love her ... she's got two boys who love her," he said.

The ABC News interview with Susan Powell's husband Josh and her father-in-law Steve Powell comes 20 months after her disappearance on Dec. 6, 2009, from her home in West Valley City, Utah.

She was reported missing the next day after she failed to show up for her stockbroker job. She had been seen by friends at church and at dinner the day before.

Her husband, Josh Powell, said he last saw his 28-year-old wife before he left with their two boys, ages 2 and 4, to go on a midnight camping trip in freezing temperatures on the Pony Express Trail, about 80 miles west of Salt Lake City.

Police have said that Josh Powell a person of interest in the case, although he's never been arrested or charged.

Both Susan and Josh Powell are natives of Puyallup, and Josh moved back there with his young sons after Susan disappeared. Susan's father-in-law and father also live in Puyallup.

During Wednesday's ABC News interview, Josh Powell said Susan showed signs of mental instability before she vanished.


"She's hard to reason with when she gets that angry," he said. "At times she has walked out the front door in her underwear and started walking down the street.

"At the time when all this was happening, it was mortifying to me. I was trying to call her back, trying to apologize for what I may or may not have done. ... I tried to protect her from doing things that I thought might embarrass her in that respect," he said.

He said he believes her mental problems began as a child, and that her diaries bolster that belief.

"Susan was very emotionally abused as a child," Josh Powell said. "Her mother has a very angry personality. Her father is very manipulative. People can see that; it's still going on."

Susan's father-in-law Steve Powell also says Susan flirted with him and that he had feelings for her.

"Susan was very sexual with me. She was very flirtatious. I mean, I'm her father-in-law, and she would do a lot of things that, um, she did it. ... We interacted in a lot of sexual ways because Susan enjoys doing that."

Asked if he was in love with Susan, Steve Powell said, "That's pretty likely, yeah, I think so, and there's no question in my mind that the feelings were mutual."

Also in the interview, Josh Powell reiterated his belief that Susan probably ran off with another man.

He said he believes that because "she was a very sexual person" - although he admits she never cheated on him before her disappearance, to his knowledge.

Susan's father, Chuck Cox, said after watching the new interviews that there was no truth to the allegation that she ran off with another man.

"That's just ridiculous," he said in an interview with ABC News. "The police have already investigated the possibility that she could have left on her own and have determined that did not happen."

Chuck Cox also denies that his daughter had feelings for her father-in-law.

"That's completely false," he said. "She had told us a long time ago, before they moved to Utah, that he (Steve Powell) had made some advances toward her, basically. And she didn't go into details with me, but she told us that it made her uncomfortable, her husband didn't seem to care, so they decided they were moving to Utah. And one of the main reasons for that was to get away from Steve."

Chuck Cox said he believes Josh Powell is opening up with the media now, after months of silence, is because he is a "desperate person."

"He needs to find some way to excuse his behavior or to deflect attention from the fact he is unwilling to cooperate with the West Valley City Police Department," Cox said.

The disagreements between the Powells and the Coxes broke into the open this month when Josh filed for and obtained a no-contact order against her father, Chuck Cox.

In documents filed in Pierce County Superior Court, Josh accused Chuck Cox of stalking him and using "lies in the media as a weapon to engender fear and hatred of my family."

Police say the investigation into Susan's disappearance is still very active.

Authorities recently searched on a network of abandoned mine shafts near Ely, Nev., about 235 miles southwest of West Valley City.

No body parts were found, according to West Valley City police Sgt. Mike Powell, but he dubbed the efforts as "successful."