While investigating the 2009 disappearance of 28-year-old mother of two Susan Cox Powell, detectives in West Valley City, Utah, made a startling discovery. Inside a safety deposit box kept secret from her husband, 33-year-old Joshua Powell, Susan had left a letter to her friends and family titled, "Last will and testament of Susan Powell.” Dated June 28, 2008, the letter contained an ominous message that led investigators to take a closer look Joshua.
According to a search warrant affidavit, Susan wrote in her will that if she died, "it may not be an accident, even if it looks like one.” That affidavit stated that Susan "does not trust her husband and that he has threatened to destroy her if they get divorced and her children will not have a mother and father." Local station KIMA TV also reported that Susan wrote, "I want it documented somewhere that there is extreme turmoil in our marriage."
These details — along with several other shocking case facts — became public in 2012, when the documents were used to request a search warrant for the home of Joshua's father, Steven Powell, in an unrelated case. Though the search warrant request was not tied to Susan's disappearance, the disclosure of her will and various pieces of evidence (including the fact that Joshua cancelled Susan's chiropractor appointments and withdrew all the money from her IRA accounts a week after she went missing) characterized Joshua as highly suspicious.
Unfortunately for Susan and her family, any information Joshua had about his wife's disappearance died with him on February 5, 2012, when he killed himself and his two sons, 5 and 7, in gas-fueled explosion that destroyed their Graham, Washington, home. According to investigators, Joshua attempted to murder his children with a hatchet before the house erupted in flames.
The aforementioned affidavit also referenced two family friends who said Joshua and Susan experienced marital discord, with Susan discussing divorcing Joshua. According to them, Joshua had spoken about how to murder someone and dump the remains without getting caught.
Joshua was only named a person of interest in Susan's disappearance, but he was never charged in connection with the case. To this day, Susan Powell's body has not been found.
[Photo: Getty Images]
Crime Time is your destination for true crime stories from around the world, breaking crime news, and information about Oxygen's original true crime shows and documentaries. Sign up for our Crime Time Newsletter and subscribe to our true crime podcast Martinis & Murder for all the best true crime content.