Josh Powell was the main suspect in the suspicious disappearance of his wife Susan in West Valley City, Utah in December of 2009. Powell went on a late night camping trip with his two sons in wintery conditions and told police Susan was missing when he returned.
Josh moved with the children to a home in Washington state but lost custody to the children's grandparents after police said they found child pornography in the house. Josh's father, Steven Powell, was charged with possession of child pornography.
Earlier this week Josh Powell was ordered to undergo a psycho-sexual evaluation by the judge handling his custody case.
Susan Powell has still not been located. Police have conducted a number of searches in remote areas outside of Salt Lake City but have not located any remains.
Ed Troyer, Pierce County Sheriff's Office: Accelerants throughout the whole entire house. The gas cans were in there. We're in the process of determining where he got the gas. But this obviously 10 gallons of gas spread throughout the house, one of them appears to be lit off, right where the bodies were.
Secondly what we found out that's new is we've discovered multiple e-mails that he sent to his pastor, he sent to his cousins, and he sent to other people that are in longer length. They dictate what to do with the utilities, what they need to do with his money, what they need to do with certain aspects of his life.
None of these e-mails arrived anywhere where anything could do anything about it but they do so that he was intending on doing this before it occurred and he had planned this event out. We believe he planned this event out and he had taken certain steps. He'd taken boxes of toys and books and donated them to the good will sometime over the weekend. So this is definitely a deliberate planned-out event and that's the two big new things that we found, that we believe the accelerants were used and we believe the gas cans and the guys are down there, west valley is arriving as we speak, they'll be out here at the scene later this afternoon, early this evening. And anything to do with Susan's case we're going to defer to them.
If anybody's got some questions...
Ed Troyer: No, there's no indication about Susan in anything that we've found so far. There's no indication about Susan. And he, some people got the short e-mail that we all know about. Some people got a longer one describing what to do, moneywise, where, how to shut off utilities and how to take care of some final business. Putting all that together along with what happened this is definitely a planned-out event and this is something that he intended on doing. It was going to happen no matter who was here.
Question: Those e-mails --.
Ed Troyer: Hang on a second, what?
Ed Troyer: Yeah, from what we've determined the e-mails were sent minutes before, minutes before, it wasn't days or weeks before. There's nobody that we've been able to determine that would have had any type of notice to have done anything about it.
Question: Did he describe any intent in the e-mails?
Ed Troyer: The only thing we've gotten from him and the only thing we've gotten, as he says "I'm sorry, I can't live without my boys," And that's it, nothing any more detailed than that. And you guys know the one that went to the attorney said, that went to a lot of other people, some other e-mails went to cousins, family members and his pastor and we have those and we're continuing to look but as of right now we don't have anything indicating anything more than what we've told you. We do have the accelerants, the fire marshal confirmed down there there's accelerants spread throughout the house and we've recovered two five-gallon gas cans.
Question: What's the point of origin of the fire?
Ed Troyer: Where the fumes and gas, it was actually lit off we believe lit off where all three of them were, one of the cans intentionally.
Question: In a living room or --?
Ed Troyer: I don't know the layout of the house because it's burned out but it was in the center of the house. Whatever room was there at the time at the center of the house.
Ed Troyer: The autopsies are ongoing and continuing right now. We have a team of detectives there and waiting to hear from them. I'll give you an update as soon as that's done. That information is not available yet. They're still working.
Ed Troyer: What, say again?
Ed Troyer: We don't know. We know that the social worker smelled gasoline fumes. Whether the boys came in and he spread it around or it was already spread around, we may never know that.
Ed Troyer: We don't know that because the autopsy's going right now, as we speak, the autopsy's going.
Ed Troyer: That's being elevated with the medical examiner's office. It would be speculation. I'm going to wait until the autopsies are done in the next hour or two and we have something a little more definitive and then i will give you a heads up on that or an update on that.
Ed Troyer: We don't know. 10 gallons of gas could easily take care of that house and do exactly what happened. What we do know, i can tell you, is that at this point there was no gunshots fired. We've not recovered a weapon, we've not recovered a gun. Preliminary examination of the victims, there was no -- there was no gunshot wounds on the victims.
Question: Is there anything that would lead you to believe that there was some kind of device, anything like that, blunt force trauma?
Ed Troyer: I'd have to wait for the M.E. on that.
Ed Troyer: No, was Steve Powell -- I know a lot of you keep requesting the interview of him. He's said no to everybody and has told us to stop asking him. We've been directed by his attorneys not to exact him anymore. If you want to do an interview you have to go through his lawyer. We're not going to ask him any further.
Ed Troyer: Don't know that. I don't know that.
Question: Do you know how long he's planned this?
Ed Troyer: No.
Question: Do you know whether or not he got this gasoline Sunday morning or where did he get it?
Ed Troyer: That's part of the investigation. We still have teams of detectives out looking and trying to determine where the gas came from, when he got it, that's still happening as we speak but i wanted to come give you what we knew, wanted to give you a heads up. We're going to try and give get you the most accurate information as fast as possible. We're not Hollywood-ing anything back. We just want to make sure it's correct.
Question: The nature of the photos that the police found that prompted the order for the second psychological evaluation what was the nature of those photos?
Ed Troyer: The photos that we have that we charged him in, there's a lot of them on multiple computers, voyeuristic charges, there's pictures – voyeuristic charges, there's victims, little girls, taken from his camera, in girls in bathrooms doing what girls do in bathrooms when they expect privacy and also Susan in different states of undress and she obviously didn't know her picture was being taken.
So our case -- that's our case and we have a ton of evidence in that case and what you have to understand with that is, is everything he's saying about Susan and him having any type of relationship was a flat out lie. There's nothing to support that. In fact, it's completely the other way. She didn't like him, she thought he was a creep and weird and intentionally stayed away from the house and we've verified that and that he is the cause of all that and he made it all up and thought -- flat lying.
Question: How did you verify that?
Ed Troyer: There were times through verification how we verified that. There were people that she'd stay with and she'd made comments in the past that she would not stay at the hoist and stayed at friends' houses and made comments about his behavior being bizarre in the past, way before any of this happened so it was an ongoing thing with him, and her complaining about him. So she had confided in some people and we've talked with those people and we have that information. So if you guys give me like 15 more minutes I'll get a quick little update.
Ed Troyer: I don't know about those. The West Valley City photographs? I don't know anything about them.
Question: And the e-mails that said he has plans, where did they come from?
Ed Troyer: From him. The e-mails came from him and went to various people.
Question: Those people come through or did you get it off the computer?
Ed Troyer: Both. Some came to us, some we went to them.
Question: Can you make those available to us?
Ed Troyer: Eventually I'm guessing they may be part of something but at this point our detectives are still out in the field with them.
Question: Did he send an e-mail to [inaudible].
Ed Troyer: Don't know.
Ed Troyer: We think that now our best information he was living here since august. He'd been in here since august. Most of the neighbors didn't know who he was or that he was here, he kept a pretty low profile.
Question: He'd been planning this for --?
Ed Troyer: We don't know if he's been planning this since Wednesday the court time, or had it in the back of his hand, we have to go back to the earliest part where he actually bought something or did something and took it over and stepped toward this plan which there is plenty of information that this was planned between the e-mails and the gasoline and everything that's happened this was double homicide intentionally inflicted on the boys.
Ed Troyer: What?
Ed Troyer: No, I know there's multiple. There are multiple e-mails because that's what we found so far. We know they've gone to a pastor, we know they've gone to family friends and we're continuing to do that. As we speak this is continuing to happen. We're, if anything, to do the investigation and we'll still be doing some more follow-up on it. So I'll have better numbers and more information for you in a bit. I'm going to go ahead and break it off right now because until I can go check that I'm not going to have it.
Stay with ABC 4 for more on this developing story. More detailed coverage on this case can be found at the Susan Powell section of ABC4.com.