Susan Cox Powell case: Nothing new on computer hard drive, WVCPD says

Susan Cox Powell with sons Braden and Charlie. Photo: Susan Cox Powell Foundation

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah, Oct. 26, 2017 (Gephardt Daily) — The West Valley City Police Department wants to set the record straight after a local news organization said a break in the Susan Powell disappearance case might be close.

“There are no new developments in the Susan Cox Powell case,” said a statement released by WVCPD spokeswoman Roxeanne Vainuku. “The case remains active and is assigned to a West Valley City Police Detective who actively pursues any leads surrounding this case. At this time, however, the case is cold, meaning that all leads thus far have been exhausted.”

The statement follows Fox 13 News’ interview with a local forensic agency hired to try and decode encrypted information on the hard drive of a computer owned by the late Josh Powell, the only person of interest in the disappearance of his wife, Susan, who was reported missing Dec. 7, 2009. She was last seen the day before, when she attended church at her ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Josh Powell was uncooperative with police, and moved his sons to Washington state. After a court awarded custody of the boys to Susan’s parents, Powell killed himself and his sons, ages 5 and 7, in a murder-suicide house explosion on Feb. 5, 2012.

No sign of the whereabouts of Susan, who is presumed dead, has ever been found. Fox 13 reported that her parents have high hopes of finding information in the computer.

“All of the hard drives, with the exception of one that is currently being worked on by the Utah company Decipher Forensics, have been decrypted,” Vainuku’s statement says. “These drives did not contain any material of significant evidenciary value.”

Vainuku said Decipher Forensics has a mirror image of the original drive, and has been working on it since 2013. Decipher Forensics was able to get through a “first layer” of encryption fairly soon after receiving the copy, but “the encryption itself remains intact,” Vainuku’s statement for West Valley City says.

“No evidence on this hard drive has been made accessible to anyone, including WVCPD.”

The WVCPD statement said that as technology advances, Decipher Forensics and West Valley City investigators will continue to search for new ways to access the encrypted information.

“We must, however, make it perfectly clear that this drive, as with other drives we have examined in the past, may hold nothing of evidenciary value. To comment on the potential contents of this drive would be speculative at best.”


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