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Susan Powell's Husband Says In-Laws Have 'Irrational Vendetta' Against Him

Josh Powell

First Posted: 12/08/11 08:25 PM ET Updated: 12/09/11 09:32 AM ET

The husband of missing Utah mom Susan Cox Powell is accusing his wife's parents of turning the couple's children against him.

Two years ago this week, Susan, then 28, disappeared. Now her husband claims his in-laws, Chuck and Judy Cox, have an "irrational vendetta" against him.

"The Coxes are coaching my sons in ways that are clearly intended to destroy our loving relationships as a natural family unit," Josh Powell wrote in a court declaration that he filed Monday in Pierce County, Wash.

"By living in the Cox house, the boys are exposed to the Coxes' overwhelming attitude of hatred toward me and it is seriously traumatizing my children," he wrote. "There is considerable evidence that the Coxes make explicit comments to and around my sons reflecting their attitude."

CASE PHOTOS: (ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW)

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  • Father Kills Sons And Self

    Pierce County sheriff's deputies and Graham firefighters work through the wreckage of a home in Graham, Wash. where the bodies of Josh Powell and his two sons were found on Feb. 5, 2012 in a double-homicide suicide. The boys had just been brought by a Child Protective Services worker to Powell's home for a supervised visit when police say the dad deliberately blew up the house. A judge had denied the previous week a request by Powell to regain custody of his sons, who had been living with the parents of his missing wife, Susan.

  • Pierce County sheriff's officials said it appears Josh Powell used an accelerant to increase the power of a gas fire that he intentionally set to kill himself and his two sons inside his Graham, Wash., home on Feb. 5, 2012. The saga of the Powell family began in 2009 when Josh Powell reported that his wife, Susan, had gone missing. That night he claimed he took his sons on an overnight camping trip in freezing temperatures.

  • Aerial View Of Josh Powell's Home

    The explosion at Josh Powell's home left smoldering remains in Graham, Wash. Police say Powell deliberately detonated the home moments after a Child Protective Services worker brought his sons Braden, 5, and Charles, 7, for a supervised visit.

  • Braden And Charlie Powell

    This undated photo provided by Chuck and Judy Cox shows their grandsons Braden, left, and Charlie Powell. (AP Photo/Courtesy Chuck and Judy Cox)

  • Chuck Cox, Braden Powell, Charlie Powell

    This undated photo provided by Chuck and Judy Cox shows them with their grandsons, Charlie, left, and Braden, right. Charlie and Braden were killed along with their father, Josh Powell, on Sunday in what police said was an intentional fire set by Powell. The Coxes are the parents of Powell's wife, Susan, who has been missing since 2009. (AP Photo/Courtesy Chuck and Judy Cox)

  • Braden And Charlie Powell

    This undated photo provided by Chuck and Judy Cox shows Braden, left, and Charlie Powell. (AP Photo/Courtesy Chuck and Judy Cox)

  • Police and other officials from Washington state and Utah view charred rubble, Monday, Feb. 6, 2012, at of the home where Josh Powell and his two sons were killed in the fire Powell set Sunday. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

  • In this pool photo provided by the Pierce County Sheriff's Dept., a melted gas can is marked with an evidence flag, Monday, Feb. 6, 2012, in the rubble of the home in Graham, Wash., where Josh Powell and his two sons were killed. (AP Photo/Pierce County Sheriff's Dept., Ed Troyer, Pool)

  • Susan Cox Powell

    This image from<a href="https://www.facebook.com/pages/Friends-and-Family-of-Susan-Cox-Powell/158207040909324" target="_hplink"> Friends and Family of Susan Cox Powell</a> Facebook page shows missing Utah mother Susan Cox Powell. Powell has been missing since December 6, 2009. Her husband Josh Powell was a person of interest in her disappearance before he killed himself and their two sons on Feb. 5, 2012.

  • Chuck And Judy Cox

    Chuck and Judy Cox, the parents of missing Utah mother Susan Cox, talk to reporters at their home in Puyallup, Wash., Monday, Feb. 6, 2012. They had custody of their grandchildren, Charlie and Braden Powell, who were killed by their father Josh Powell during a supervised visit to his house on Sunday. Their daughter Susan Cox Powell went missing in December 2009 from the West Valley City, Utah home where she lived with her husband and sons. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

  • Candlelight Vigil

    Supporters held an impromptu candlelight vigil for Braden and Charlie Powell, who were killed by their father Josh when he deliberately torched his Graham, Wash. home on Feb. 5, 2012. The brothers had been living with their maternal grandparents in a simmering custody dispute stemming from their mother's disappearance in Utah in 2009.

  • Flowers and two stuffed animals are left near crime-scene tape, Monday, Feb. 6, 2012, near the home where Josh Powell and his two sons were killed Sunday, in Graham, Wash., in what police said appeared to be a deliberately set fire. Powell's wife Susan went mysteriously missing from their West Valley City, Utah, home in December 2009. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

  • Mourners posted signs and lit candles at Carson Elementary School in Puyallup, Wash. where Braden and Charles Powell attended school. The brothers were killed in an explosion caused by their father Josh Powell at his home on Feb. 5, 2012 -- days after a judge denied his request to regain custody of them.

  • A Pierce County fire investigator works his way through charred rubble, Monday, Feb. 6, 2012, at the home where Josh Powell and his two sons were killed Sunday, in Graham, Wash., in what police said appeared to be a deliberately set fire. Powell's wife Susan went mysteriously missing from their West Valley City, Utah, home in December 2009. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

  • Josh And Braden Powell

    In this Aug. 19, 2011 photo, Josh Powell plays with his son Braden in a park near his home, in Puyallup, Wash. Powell had long been a person of interest in his wife. (Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune Friday, August 19, 2011)

  • This photo from Facebook shows Susan Cox Powell in December of 2008.

  • A flier seeking information on the whereabouts of Susan Powell, who was reported missing Dec. 7, 2009, in Utah, is shown, Thursday, Dec. 17, 2009, at a press conference in Puyallup, Wash. Powell's family said Thursday they are saddened but not surprised that her husband Josh Powell has been named a person of interest in the investigation.

  • Josh Powell

    Josh Powell, the husband of Susan Powell, stands with supporters after a candle light vigil for his wife at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Puyallup, Wash., Sunday Dec. 20, 2009.

  • Judy Cox, the mother of Susan Powell, who was reported missing Dec. 7, 2009, in Utah, becomes emotional during a press conference, Thursday, Dec. 17, 2009, in Puyallup, Wash. Powell's family said Thursday they are saddened but not surprised that her husband Josh Powell has been named a person of interest in the investigation.

  • Charlie Powell

    This undated photo provided by Chuck and Judy Cox shows Charlie Powell, who was killed along with his brother Braden by their father Josh Powell in a double-murder suicide. (AP Photo/Courtesy Chuck and Judy Cox)

  • Braden Powell With HIs Grandmother Judy Cox

    In this undated photo provided by Chuck and Judy Cox, Judy Cox, right, sits at a table with her grandson Braden. (AP Photo/Courtesy Chuck and Judy Cox)

  • Braden Powell

    This undated photo provided by Chuck and Judy Cox shows Braden Powell. (AP Photo/Courtesy Chuck and Judy Cox)

  • Chuck Cox With Grandsons Charlie And Braden Powell

    In this undated photo provided by Chuck and Judy Cox, Chuck Cox sits with his grandsons, Charlie, left, and Braden, right, at the Coxes home in Pullayup, Wash. (AP Photo/Courtesy Chuck and Judy Cox)

  • Chuck Cox With Braden And Charlie Powell

    In this undated photo provided by Chuck and Judy Cox, Chuck Cox plays with his grandsons, Charlie, right, and Braden, left. (AP Photo/Courtesy Chuck and Judy Cox)


Powell is asking the court to place the two boys, ages 4 and 6, with a neutral guardian. He said that by being with his in-laws, his sons "are caught in the middle of a very hostile war of words and emotions."

Susan Powell's parents have had custody of the children since September. Judge Kathryn Nelson placed the children with the Cox family after Josh Powell's father, Steve Powell, was charged with voyeurism and possession of child pornography. The children had previously been living with their father in Steve Powell's home.

Steve Powell has pleaded not guilty to 14 charges of voyeurism and one of possession of child pornography. He remains jailed on $200,000 bail.

Susan Powell was reported missing by her family on Dec. 7, 2009, when she failed to show up for her job as a stockbroker at Wells Fargo Financial. Josh Powell told police he had been camping with the children, and that he had last seen his wife around midnight.

Suspicious of Josh Powell's story, investigators named him a "person of interest" in his wife's disappearance. Several search warrants were served, including one to draw biological samples from him. Police also impounded the family van.

No one has been charged in Susan Powell's disappearance, and police say the case remains an active investigation.

Since his wife's disappearance, Powell, who still wears his wedding ring, has claimed his wife suffered from mental illness and plotted her own disappearance.

More recently, in July, Steve Powell announced that he planned to publish his daughter-in-law's private journal online. He told NBC's "Today" show he had 2,000 pages of journals that Susan Powell allegedly kept before she went missing.

"People don't know that there are two distinct sides of Susan. She was very ... kind of an open person in a sexual way ... with the opposite sex," Powell said on the show.

Steve Powell was arrested on the child pornography charges roughly two months later.

Susan's parents have always defended their daughter in the press and have made it clear they suspect foul play in her disappearance. In regard to Josh Powell's most recent allegations -- that they are interfering with the relationship he has with his children -- they are unable to comment, according to their attorney, Anne Bremner.

"My clients are under a court order in the family law case not to discuss the matter," Bremner told The Huffington Post.

She added: "I can say that the boys are in a loving and safe home."

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