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Mom's Disappearance Remains A Mystery After Husband Killed Himself And Their Kids

NOVEMBER 9, 2016  —  By Sarah Gzemski  
Sarah Gzemski

Sarah Gzemski

Animal and pizza lover with an Internet addiction. Nerd to the max. Currently residing in Arizona, the land of beautiful winters.

Some of the freakiest disappearances are the ones we just can't explain.

It's terrifying to think that we may never know what happened to a person who has gone missing. Even if that person is presumed to be dead, not knowing the manner of their passing can be heartbreaking for the family of the missing person. Police investigators are also left without closure in these situations and are sometimes forced to close the book on cases they spent years trying to solve.

Susan Cox Powell's disappearance has sadly turned into such a case.

Susan didn't show up for work on December 7, 2009. At first, her entire family -- including her husband Josh and her two young boys, Charlie and Braden -- were reported missing, but Josh returned with the boys that evening. He said they had gone on a camping trip.

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Susan's husband, Josh Powell, was immediately considered a suspect. Charlie and Braden, then only four and two years old, respectively, reported to caregivers and teachers that their mother had gone with them on the camping trip to Simpson Springs, Utah, and hadn't come home.

Josh's father, Steven Powell, was also considered a suspect after whispers of bizarre behavior and romantic obsession with Susan came to light. He was found to have more than 4,000 images of Susan on his computer, including closeups of specific body parts.

Susan's parents filed for custody of the children, believing that the Powell family had something to do with their daughter's disappearance.

Josh was interviewed by psychologists but was said to have "adequate" parenting skills. Still, concerning pornographic images of incest, bestiality, and children were found on his computer. Because they were simulated cartoons they were not illegal. Josh was allowed supervised visits.

On February 5, 2012, when Charlie and Braden were dropped off at Josh's house for a visit, Josh pulled them inside and the house exploded.

On February 5, 2012, when Charlie and Braden were dropped off at Josh's house for a visit, Josh pulled them inside and the house exploded.

Getty Images

The official cause of death was carbon monoxide poisoning, and it was ruled a murder-suicide. The boys had wounds from a hatchet found near Josh Powell's body.

After their deaths, a search of a safety deposit box found a secret will Susan had written in which she cut her husband out as a beneficiary and said she feared for her life.

She wrote, "If I die, it may not be an accident, even if it looks like one," and asked the reader not to show Josh the will.

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One year after Josh Powell killed his sons, his brother Michael killed himself. Police now believe Josh, Michael, and Steven Powell all had knowledge of Susan's death, although they will never know for sure.

(via Wikipedia)

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