'If I Die, It May Not Be An Accident': Missing Mother Left Behind Chilling Will

Susan Cox Powell's husband, Josh, attempted to murder their children with a hatchet before rigging the house to explode.

By Aly Vander Hayden

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 Josh 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 Josh.

Susan's will, as well as other mysterious aspects of her vanishing, will be covered in the two-night special "The Disappearance of Susan Cox Powell," premiering Saturday, May 4 and Sunday, May 5 at 7/6c on Oxygen.

According to a search warrant affidavit cited by The Seattle Times, 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 Josh's father, Steve 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 Josh cancelled Susan's chiropractor appointments and withdrew all the money from her IRA accounts a week after she went missing) characterized Josh as suspicious. 

Susan Cox Powell with sons Charlie and Braden

Unfortunately for Susan and her family, any information Josh might have 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, Josh attempted to murder his children with a hatchet before the house erupted in flames. 

The aforementioned affidavit also referenced two family friends who said Josh and Susan experienced marital discord, with Susan discussing divorcing Josh. According to them, Josh had spoken about how to murder someone and dump the remains without getting caught. 

Josh was named a person of interest shortly after Susan's disappearance, but he was never charged in connection with the case. To this day, Susan Cox Powell has not been found.

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