Special Reports

Families tussle over missing mom’s journal

SALT LAKE CITY – The father of a Utah mother who has been missing for two years said Monday that he will fight the release of pages from her diary. But the family of her husband, Josh Powell, who is under a cloud of suspicion in her disappearance, said the pages show she had tried to commit suicide as a teen and could have walked away from her family, as they suspect.

The debate comes days after authorities searched a sprawling network of abandoned mines outside Ely, Nev., but didn’t reveal any new evidence.

Chuck Cox, Susan’s father, and Steve Powell, Josh’s father, argued loudly in front of reporters and television cameras in Puyallup on Saturday. The families are scheduled to meet in court today, with Josh Powell seeking a restraining order against Cox.

The family of Josh Powell, whom authorities have called a person of interest in his wife’s disappearance, is backing up assertions that Susan ran off with another man in December 2009, leaving her husband and two sons, by saying that pages from her diary prove she had a history of erratic behavior. The family initially released the documents to KTVX in Salt Lake City.

As sent to The Associated Press on Monday by Josh’s sister, Alina Powell, the two journal entries – seven handwritten pages on what appears to be school notebook paper – details events from Susan’s life in 1996 and 1998. In the email, Steve Powell contends the documents prove “Susan is a lot more vulnerable emotionally than Chuck and Judy Cox would like people to believe.”

Cox objects to the release of information from his daughter’s journals.

“They don’t have authority to do it,” he said.