Mountain of Evidence?

Now that Josh has died, the West Valley and Pierce County police have been trying to convince the media and the public that they had accumulated what they call a "mountain of evidence" against Josh, to make their attack on Susan's entire family seem justified. On this page, we will evaluate some of the more salient pieces of "evidence" from their "mountain".

The bogus accusations listed below raise the question of just how many claims we are going to allow these police agencies to make before we finally begin to hold them to a standard of evidence and fact-check the things they say.


Charred Wood at Topaz Mountain

Starting 12 September 2011, the WVCPD conducted a desert search stunt in Topaz Mountain, Utah, in which they claimed to have found "bones", then retracted their statement, claiming to have found "human remains" instead, after which they again retracted their statement. News articles questioned "why [police] earlier stated that they had found human remains when they had not even seen any." Finally, the WVCPD admitted that they had found nothing but "charred wood".

The WVCPD attempted to tie Josh to their "find", by claiming that the charred wood could have been used to incinerate a body. But according to the National Funeral Directors Association, cremation requires a special chamber, large enough to hold a body, that can be raised to heat between 1400 and 1800 degrees Fahrenheit for two and a half hours, after which bones are still left over and have to be pulverized using special equipment. Of course, when it came time for the WVCPD to present their forensic evidence on the charred wood and show the public that their "search" wasn't just a big expensive hoax, their eagerness to spill every detail of their activities mysteriously dried up.

Theorizing that a body could be incinerated in a campfire was not the WVCPD's first public demonstration of their incompetence. An earlier "search" in Ely, Nevada turned up nothing and remains unexplained to this day. Ely, Nevada and Topaz Mountain are a hundred miles apart and it is not at all clear what motivated these very expensive, time-consuming searches in seemingly random locations.


The Sofa without an Alibi

In their effort to convince the world that Josh "spun a web of lies" about the day Susan disappeared, they reiterated a laundry list of circumstances, no doubt intended to be suspicious in some vague, undefined way. Perhaps the most emblematic of these circumstances is the police's claim that they found a sofa that appeared to have just been cleaned when they searched Josh's residence in 2009.

This piece of "evidence" is its own counterargument. The police have been making the same claim about that couch for over two years now, leaving the public to wonder whether the police have conducted any forensic tests on it to see whether it actually contained any bodily fluids or other evidence of interest. If the couch had contained blood, the police would have included that in Sanders' affidavit; and if there was nothing on it, then there's no longer any reason for the police to bring it up because there's no effective way to get blood out of a fabric couch well enough to hide it from investigators. Instead, the WVCPD has continued to float this couch story, hoping all the while that nobody would ask any questions about why it is still relevant.

By the way, the police want us to think that the recently cleaned carpet on the living room floor is also really suspicious, but have expressed absolutely no interest in the carpet cleaning machine that they took as evidence from Josh's house.


Blood She Could Live Without

In the affidavit used by Pierce County Detective Gary Sanders to obtain the August 25th search warrant on the Powell home, Sanders claims, "Blood evidence was located on the tile floor next to the carpet adjacent to the sofa. Forensic tests of this blood indicated it was Susan Powell's" (Sanders' affidavit, PDF page 15). Then later in the very same document, Sanders claims that in an interview conducted the day after Susan disappeared, "C. P. advised during this forensic interview that his mommy went camping with them although she did not come back home with them and he did not know why" (PDF page 17). (We'll just ignore for now the fact that the police here were backtracking from earlier statements they had made that Charlie had recounted the events of the camping trip just as Josh had described them.) So apparently the police's theory about what happened to Susan goes something along these lines:

1. Josh kills Susan and gets her blood on the tile floor in the living room.
2. Susan recovers enough to go camping with Josh and the boys later in the evening.
3. Susan disappears and doesn't come home from the camping trip.

How are the police going to convince anybody that Josh was spinning a "web of lies" when they didn't even bother to use any common sense when they were making up their own web of lies?


Susan's Surprise Beneficiary: Jennifer Graves

The police have claimed they found a handwritten will by Susan in a Wells Fargo safety deposit box (Sanders' affidavit, PDF page 15). In the alleged will, she supposedly states that if she dies, it's not an accident because she doesn't trust her husband. The police also claim Susan said that "if something were to happen to her, she requests the reader speak with her sister-n-law [sic] Jennifer Graves." What the police neglected to mention was that Josh and Susan had done some estate planning in late 2007, taking out large life insurance policies on themselves and naming each other as beneficiaries. Also, in February of 2009, Josh and Susan did some additional estate planning; among other things, Susan set up and notarized a Power of Attorney for Josh so he would have total control over all her finances and legal decisions if she became medically unfit to take care of things.

In other words, the police want us to believe that Susan named Josh as a life insurance beneficiary in 2007, then suddenly decided he was going to kill her in 2008 but did nothing to try to prevent it (and instead just wrote a letter to make sure that Jennifer Graves could go get Josh after the fact); then in 2009, Susan decided to trust Josh with a comprehensive Power of Attorney in case she ended up incapacitated. Are we supposed to just take the police's word about what Susan's alleged will says? Why have the police not yet produced that document, especially now that it is directly relevant to two ongoing court proceedings?

Would it be relevant here to mention that Jennifer Graves very aggressively persuaded Josh and Susan to buy their first life insurance policies in 2002 for half a million dollars each, and that Jennifer's father-in-law Dennis Graves was the life insurance agent who sold them the policies?


In the "Trunk" of Josh's Minivan?

The Coxes have not hesitated to chime in with their claims about the boys' comments in order to try to make Josh look guilty of something. Chuck Cox claimed that the summer after Susan disappeared, Josh's younger son Braden had made the comment "Mommy's in the trunk," while describing a picture he had drawn. Obviously, Chuck Cox screwed up a kind-of-important detail: minivans don't have trunks.

In an even tackier development, the Coxes' attorney Steve Downing gave a conflicting account. He claimed it was the older son, not the younger one, who made the comment, and that he had made the comment recently while in the Coxes' care. The Cox attorney was trying to argue that the boys "were beginning to verbalize more," presumably in an effort to justify their amateur questioning sessions with the children.

But considering that the Coxes and their attorney couldn't get their basic vehicle facts or their story straight, the only thing the children's comments are evidence of is the kind of coaching and brainwashing the kids were subjected to by the Coxes and their followers.


The Suspicious Period

A couple days after Josh died, the police raided his storage room and took a comforter with an alleged blood spot on it, claiming that it was "evidence" against Josh. This is one of the most poorly reasoned claims the police have ever made during the Susan Powell missing person case. It is not at all clear how menstrual blood relates to a person's disappearance, or how that implicates Josh.

If the police are capable of saying something this ignorant about female reproductive processes, maybe the folks down in Utah should rethink their ideas about banning sex education from the curriculum.