Special Reports

Powell wants sons turned over to neutral caretaker

The husband of missing Utah woman Susan Cox Powell has asked a Pierce County Superior Court judge to move his sons to a neutral caretaker, contending his missing wife’s parents are turning their two sons against him and have even encouraged the boys to call him “Josh” rather than “Daddy.”

Josh Powell also objected to medical and counseling information his in-laws, Chuck and Judy Cox of Puyallup, shared in their court bid to get permanent custody of the boys.

He described the move as an attempt to “weaponize my children” in ways that were harmful.

In the court papers filed Monday in Pierce County, Powell, who represents himself, also says the release of the information is an invasion of their privacy.

Powell, reportedly the last person to see his wife, of West Valley City, Utah, is the only person of interest police have named in Susan Powell’s disappearance two years ago this week.

State authorities took custody of the Powell’s children, Charlie, 6, and Braden, 4, on Sept. 22, the same day Steve Powell, their grandfather, was arrested on charges of voyeurism and possession of child pornography.

After five days in a foster home, the boys were moved to the Coxes’ home in Puyallup. A Pierce County Superior Court judge approved the temporary placement Sept. 28.

Powell said the Coxes continue to engage in a “very hostile media campaign” against him, have spread lies and are unable to keep their opinions about him to themselves.

“The Coxes are coaching my sons in ways that are clearly intended to destroy our loving relationships as a natural family unit,” Powell wrote in Monday’s declaration.

“...By living in the Cox house, the boys are exposed to the Coxes’ overwhelming attitude of hatred toward me and it is seriously traumatizing my children. There is considerable evidence that the Coxes make explicit comments to and around my sons reflecting their attitude.”

Powell alleges the Coxes are using his sons to pass messages to him or extract information, which is “very damaging to my sons emotionally.”

He contends the boys learned about a photo album that’s the subject of a lawsuit, and that one of his sons asked for it to be returned during a visit.

He also claims he learned from them that the Coxes were trying to obtain his new address, so he told the boys never to show anyone where he lives, the court papers show.

“By being with the Coxes, my sons are caught in the middle of a very hostile war of words and emotions,” he wrote.

Powell said his oldest son has started to have nightmares since being placed with the Coxes. Powell said the nightmares are “obviously stress-related.”

He said his sons are increasingly acting out while in the Coxes’ care and are angry because they have to return to the Cox house when they’d rather come home with him.

“As their natural father, I am the most important person in my sons’ lives and they are acting out because they feel attacked as the Coxes make diligent efforts to destroy our bonds with one another,” he wrote.