SEATTLE – Steven Powell, the father-in-law of missing Utah mother Susan Cox Powell, did not report to work in the two days after Susan disappeared in 2009, reports the Salt Lake City Tribune.
Those days coincide with the period that Susan’s husband, Josh Powell, rented a car and drove more than 800 miles before returning it.
A spokeswoman for the Washington Department of Corrections told the Tribune Steven sent an email to his supervisor asking for sick leave on Dec. 8 and Dec. 9, 2009. Steven was reportedly an account executive with Washington state Correctional Industries, selling furniture made by inmates.
West Valley City, Utah, police would not comment on Steven Powell’s absence from work, but said investigators “absolutely” believe Steven Powell may have had a role in Susan’s disappearance or death. That contradicts a statement by Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist, who said last week he does not believe Steven is linked to Susan's murder.
Josh Powell always maintained his innocence and said he had taken their boys, then 2 and 4, on a midnight camping trip in freezing temperatures the night Susan disappeared, Dec. 7, 2009.
One of the children, Charlie, allegedly told investigators in an interview shortly after Susan disappeared that she had gone on the camping trip with them but did not come back home and did not know why. A few weeks later, he told a church teacher with no emotion: "My mom is dead."
During their investigation, police learned Susan had a $1.5 million life insurance policy and Josh was the beneficiary. Josh once talked about his love of camping in West Utah, where there were mine shafts that, according to unsealed search warrants, you could "dispose of someone."
The search warrants also show Susan's blood was found in the couple's suburban Salt Lake City house when police arrived to investigate the disappearance.
Josh killed himself and his two sons when they arrived for a court-ordered supervised visit in Graham, Wash., on Feb. 5. Investigators determined he attacked the boys with an axe, spread gasoline all over his house and lit a match, causing a huge inferno.
The DSHS case worker frantically called 911 after she said Powell took the boys and slammed the door in her face. Minutes later, she witnessed the home explode into flames.
The deaths came days after a judge ordered Josh to undergo a psycho-sexual evaluation.
Steven Powell has pleaded not guilty to 14 counts of voyeurism and one count of possession of depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct in the second degree. Last fall, Steven declared he and Susan had been in love. After Josh's murder-suicide, investigators said images seized last Fall from the elder Powell's home were of Susan and clearly taken without her knowledge. Photos of young girls who lived in Powell's neighborhood were also found, investigators said.