Special Reports

Parents of Susan Cox Powell push for police records

A lawyer for the parents of missing Utah mother Susan Powell has gone to West Valley, Utah, city council in an effort to obtain police records that detail the probe into her 2009 disappearance.

Attorney Anne Bremner has previously sought the records, but has been rebuffed repeatedly by West Valley City police who claim such a release would compromise their ongoing investigation.

Bremner argued her case before the West Valley City Council on Tuesday evening. She contends that under Utah law, victims and defendants should be provided the same access to police records in a criminal probe.

The council has five business days to make a decision.

In early August, authorities released about 800 pages of heavily redacted documents that provided scant new details in the case of Susan Powell's disappearance or the ensuing investigation of her husband, Josh Powell, who earlier this year killed himself and the couple's two young sons at a home in Washington state.

The records were released after more than two and a half years of legal wrangling by The Salt Lake Tribune. Multiple media outlets, including The Associated Press, also sought the documents through public records requests.

Bremner contends that the documents provide few new details, and that Charles and Judy Cox, Susan Powell's parents, should have access to the entire case file.

West Valley City police Sgt. Mike Powell has said the released records "make the public aware, to some extent, of what's been going on," but he noted the investigation is still considered active.

Susan Powell was reported missing Dec. 7, 2009, after she didn't show up for work. Josh Powell had maintained his innocence and said he took the couple's boys, then 2 and 4, on a midnight camping trip in freezing temperatures the night his wife disappeared.

Within just a few days of her disappearance, authorities were classifying the case as a murder and kidnapping probe as they focused largely on Josh Powell, according to court records. He was never charged in the case.

In February, he attacked his two sons with a hatchet, and lit his Graham-area home ablaze, killing himself and the children.

Meanwhile, Bremner and another attorney have filed a $20 million negligence lawsuit against Washington state's Department of Social and Health Services in the children's deaths. The state has declined to comment.