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Judge blocks release of Susan Powell diaries

By Pat Reavy | Posted - Sep. 23, 2011 at 3:12 p.m.


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PUYALLUP, Wash. — A Pierce County judge has ruled the childhood diaries of missing West Valley mother Susan Cox Powell cannot be released.

Susan's husband, Josh Powell, along with her father-in- law Steven Powell, sister-in-law Alina Powell and brother- in-law Michael Powell had sought to release the diaries claiming they might given insight into her emotional state when she disappeared in December 2009.

Chuck Cox, Susan's father, had fought to keep the diaries private. "We do not believe they prove anything about her state of mind as a 28-year-old woman," he said of the diaries.

Cox's attorney, Anne Bremner, argued that Susan Powell's journals were not a matter of public concern that outweighed her family's right to privacy.


The private journal entries of Ms. Cox Powell are not of legitimate public interest and are not a public record.

–Anne Bremner, Cox family attorney


While there has been public debate about what happened to Susan Powell, "this does not open the door to every intimate detail of their family lives," she argued in court documents. "The (Coxes) have a reasonable expectation of privacy, even where their daughter and her journal have become a topic of public interest."

"The private journal entries of Ms. Cox Powell are not of legitimate public interest and are not a public record."

The judge ruled that not only can the diaries not be released, but any copies previously released to the media or the public have to be destroyed.

Prior to Friday's ruling, Josh Powell had filed a statement earlier this week in response to motions filed in court. In it, he stated that "helping her be understood is the best means of bringing her home."

But Powell raised questions about whether his wife was even still alive.

Josh Powell filed a 22-page response regarding the effort to block the diaries from being released. In it, he again states that he believes his wife ran away, and because of her "emotional instability" may have "committed suicide."

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Josh Powell also states there is no person by the legal name of "Susan Cox Powell." He claimed the Cox family was using that name as a way to "divorce me from my wife."

"They say they did that because their daughter would not want to remain married to Josh Powell if she knew how he has 'impeded' the investigation into her disappearance," the court records state.

"I did not kill my wife. I have never abused her. I have cooperated with law enforcement in investigating her disappearance," Josh Powell said in court papers.

Josh Powell said because of claims made by Cox, he has "created an all-out national media campaign against me, and in my view, Susan." He also claimed that a purple ribbon campaign started by Cox has turned into a "harassment campaign" against him.

He said by releasing his wife's journals, it will show her "fragile state of mind" and "troubled emotional life" that continued from childhood to adulthood. That information is needed to bring her home "if she is still alive," Powell said.

West Valley police have called Josh Powell a person of interest in her disappearance because they say he has not cooperated with them.

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Written by Pat Reavy with contributions from Bruce Lindsay.

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