September 24, 2011 in City

Missing mom’s father-in-law in jail on child porn charges

Gene Johnson Associated Press
 
Associated Press photo

Steven Powell, father-in-law of missing Susan Powell, appears in a Pierce County courtroom Friday.
(Full-size photo)(All photos)

TACOMA – The two young sons of a missing Utah woman are in state custody as the paternal grandfather they lived with in Washington sits in jail, accused of possessing child pornography and secretly videotaping their mother, other women and naked neighbor girls.

Now, the family of their mother, Susan Powell, is for the first time publicly accusing the boys’ father of being involved in her disappearance. On Friday, they asked to get immediate custody of the boys, ages 4 and 6.

“The time has come where we have to stop playing cat and mouse games: Josh Powell had something to do with the disappearance,” said Steve Downing, the family’s lawyer, at a custody hearing Friday.

In response, Josh Powell said: “Everything they said is patently false. I am a good father to my sons.”

A judge will decide custody after the child welfare agency has time to consider where the boys should be placed.

The two sets of in-laws have been arguing publicly for months as investigators have gone from abandoned mines of central Nevada to the remote desert of western Utah looking for clues.

All of it exploded Friday, a day after Steven Powell, 61, was arrested and accused of secretly videotaping Susan Powell, other women and young girls taking baths and sitting on the toilet. Susan Powell has been clothed in all of the footage detectives have reviewed so far, but they had only seen 5 to 10 percent of the videos, prosecutor Mark Lindquist said.

Josh Powell and his sons have been living at Steven Powell’s house in Puyallup, Wash.

Steven Powell pleaded not guilty at a hearing on Friday. Utah police said the arrest was unrelated to the missing person case. The judge set bail at $200,000 and ordered him not to have contact with the boys.

Josh Powell has been the only named person of interest in the case, but police have not charged him with any crime.

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