PUYALLUP, Washington (Isabelle Zehnder reporting) – The man who wins the award for the most patience, perseverance, poise, and predictability in the case of missing Utah mom, Susan Cox Powell, is her father, Charles “Chuck” Cox.
For twenty-one months Chuck has painfully talked about a daughter he loves and misses so very much. He’s worked diligently with Susan’s friends and other family members to keep her name and picture in the media.
He’s faced the cameras during some of the lowest points of his life, fighting for his daughter, being her voice when her husband and father-in-law tried to discredit her.
Through not only attacks against his daughter, but attacks against him and his wife, Chuck stood tall and he stood strong.
Many have praised Chuck for his strength and dignity on Facebook pages set up in honor of his daughter, and through personal conversations. They now want to share their thoughts publicly.
Kiirsi Hellewell, Susan's best friend
Susan’s best friend, Kiirsi Hellewell, said, “In the past 21 months I have gotten to know Susan's dad, Chuck Cox, very well. He is a terrific person and human being--fair, honest, loyal. And a wonderful father: he loves his family with all his heart.
“It has been an added grief and pain to him that he has not been allowed to see his grandchildren for the past year and a half. They are a part of Susan, his missing daughter, and he has not been allowed to see them, make sure they're all right, spend time with them.
“One thing he's impressed on me from the very beginning is that we need to stay away from any kind of accusations towards anyone in Susan's disappearance. He has told me this over and over and over in the past 21 months .
“He has repeatedly asked me to make sure that the Facebook group and page for Susan Cox Powell stays friendly, positive, and accusation-free. He has even done this in the face of hurtful, false accusations of abuse and slander from Josh and Steve Powell towards him, his wife Judy, and others who love and care about Susan.
“He has consistently maintained his integrity and honor in the face of terrible lies about Susan, and has never stooped to the level of his accusers,” Kiirsi said.
Sandy Crain-Anderson, supporter
Sandy Crain-Anderson, who knew Steve Powell for many years, said, “I have never had the pleasure of meeting Chuck Cox personally, but from what I’ve seen of him in the media he seems like a class act and I think he’s taken the high road throughout this entire ordeal.
“When I saw the news story about Steve Powell attacking him in front of the Fred Meyer in Puyallup a few weeks ago, I felt really bad for the Cox family. I though Steve’s behavior was despicable.
“I’m personally very happy that Susan’s little boys are out of the Powell house and away from the influences of Steve Powell,” Sandy said.
Peter Hyatt, Statement Analyst
Statement Analyst Peter Hyatt said, “Very restrained, kind, slow to condemn. He [Chuck Cox] absorbed many verbal blows from Steve and Josh Powell without retaliation. He felt that by answering them, he needed to stay within facts and gave balanced replies.
“He was realistic about what happened to Susan, but guarded his tongue for the sake of the kids. Even in the face of cruelty by the Powells, he seemed to never forget the children.
“When most of us would have fired back readily, he governed his passions and his tongue. He didn't like hearing his daughter disparaged, but wanted to keep the lines of communication open for the sake of the investigation and the children,” Peter said.
“He is an amazing man.”
Linda Osborne, supporter and searcher
Linda Osborne, who has personally searched for Susan since she vanished, and who has helped organize multiple searches for Susan, said, “I have had the pleasure of meeting Chuck and he has provided me with information I've used in my search efforts for Susan over the past 21 months.
“I wasn't surprised to hear that Chuck was, at one time, an air traffic controller before his position as an FAA investigator.
“This man [Chuck Cox] has nerves of steel. He can remain calm and controlled in the face of incredibly stressful situations.
“Chuck is also an incredibly fair man.
“Despite all the circumstantial evidence against his son-in-law, Josh Powell, he has never accused him of anything.
“Despite personal attacks, and libelous statements about his missing daughter, Susan, Chuck has always taken the high road, kept his cool, and never stooped to the opponent's level.
“I understand Chuck and Susan were very close and I can certainly see why. He loves and misses her dearly.
“When Susan announced she was moving to Utah to get away from her father-in-law, Chuck paid for her cell phone so he would always know she was alright.
“Unfortunately there is only so much a person can do to protect those they love. However, Chuck is doing all he can to protect his grandchildren, Charlie and Braden. Chuck and Judy can provide a beautiful, safe, loving home for the boys who have suffered the loss of their mother.
“The children’s father, Josh Powell, has kept his two sons away from many people they love and who love them: Their daycare provider who was like a grandma to them; their maternal grandparents; their paternal grandmother; their maternal great-grandparents, one who passed away since Susan disappeared - some have said he died of a broken heart; aunts, uncles, cousins, and all their friends from daycare, preschool, and their church.
“They need to be reunited with their loving grandparents, their family, and their friends so they can begin the healing process over all of these losses,” Linda said.
Susan Murphy-Milano, Violent Relationship Strategist and Author
Crime expert Susan Murphy-Milano said, “At the heart of those waiting for an answer in a missing persons’ cases are like grains of sand in an hour glass. They run like a river without an end. As time passes moments turn to hours, hours to days, days to months, and perhaps even months to years.
“At the heart of the Susan Powell case are Susan’s two young children and the grandchildren of Chuck Cox.
“Chuck no doubt made a promise taking the parent’s oath when Susan was a child to protect her at all costs. Little did he realize that promise and love would extend to his grandchildren in his daughter’s absence.
“Patience does not compare to the torment the Cox family has endured since Susan vanished on December 6, 2009.”
Patience and perserverance pay off
Patience and perseverance is paying off for Chuck. For the past 21 months he has worried about the wellbeing of his grandchildren who have been in the custody of his son-in-law, Josh, and living with his father, Steve, and three of Josh's adult siblings.
The Powell men have withheld the children from Chuck, which has been heart-wrenching for him and his family.
Chuck has known for years that Susan was uncomfortable around her father-in-law, Steve Powell, he just never knew why.
Now that Steve has been arrested on 14 charges of voyeurism and possession of child pornography Chuck is happy that his grandchildren are out of the Powell's custody and in state custody pending a hearing for temporary custody scheduled Wednesday.
Chuck and his wife will try to gain temorary custody of Charlie, 6, and Braden, 4 at that hearing. Chuck said they are ready, willing, and able to care for the boys mental, emotional, psychological, and physical wellbeing..
Within weeks of Susan’s disappearance in early December 2009, her husband Josh Powell moved their two young boys, then ages 2 and 4, from their home in West Valley City, Utah, to live with Josh’s father, Steve, at his Puyallup home. Josh remains the only person of interest in Susan's disappearance.
On August 25, police executed a search warrant on Steve Powell’s home and on Josh’s van. They seized several computers as well as boxes of items from the home and van. Detectives say that among those things were Susan’s teenage journals and Steve’s personal journals. Steve publicly announced that information found in his journals would be embarassing.
Detectives found thousands of photos of women and young girls in various degrees of undress, some were nude, on Steve's computers. Some photos were of Susan. They say they’ve only gone through between 5 and 10% of Steve’s computer files.
Susan’s friends have long-said Susan did not want to be around Steve and that she told them he’d made sexual advances toward her.
Over the past few months things have heated up between the Cox and Powell families.
Steve and Josh made every attempt to discredit Susan at a time when she was unable to defend herself. It appears their goal was to lead people to beleive Susan was mentally unstable, overly sexual, was sexually attracted to her father-in-law Steve Powell, and ran off with another man, to name a few.
The Powell men even published several pages from Susan’s teenage journals several months ago with the promise in July to publish many more. They claimed to have some 2,000 pages of Susan’s childhood and teenage journals in their possession.
Susan’s friends and family fought back letting the world know that none of what Steve and Josh were saying was true.