TACOMA, Wash. — Thousands of images seized from the home of Susan Powell's father-in-law show the missing Utah mother as she walks in public and sits in her car — apparently unaware that someone is taking her picture.
The photos — some of which are sexually suggestive — were obtained under public records laws Thursday by The Associated Press, three years after Powell went missing.
Authorities uncovered the files while serving a search warrant last year at the home where her husband, Josh Powell, and father-in-law, Steve Powell, were living. Josh Powell killed himself and the couple's two young children earlier this year.
Some of the images seized during the search, including those of bathing young girls who lived next door to Steve Powell, were used earlier this year to convict him of voyeurism charges.
In a folder labeled with (Susan's) initials, SMP, there are images of her walking through parking lots or sitting in her car. It appears the photographer is taking the pictures from another vehicle.
Other photos show a variety of women, apparently unaware that a camera is focused on them, as they walk along sidewalks, at the park or into the mall.
Steve Powell was not charged with any crimes related to images of Susan Powell, but the files show she was often the focus of his lens. In a folder labeled with her initials, SMP, there are images of her walking through parking lots or sitting in her car. It appears the photographer is taking the pictures from another vehicle.
Some images zoom closely to Susan Powell's crotch or her backside, including a set of photos taken through blinds as she's bending over and doing laundry. None of the pictures, which were found on a disc in Steve Powell's bedroom, show her naked.
In journals that authorities have also made public, Powell describes himself as a "voyeur" and Susan as an "exhibitionist." He talks about using a mirror to spy on her under the bathroom door, and he writes about taking sexual pleasure in looking at images of Susan Powell that he kept on his computer.
Powell talks in his journals about taking lots of video of Susan during a trip to Silver Falls in 2009, and a folder of images from the trip shows only photos of her backside as she's walking.
In one entry, dated a few months before Susan Powell disappeared, Steve Powell wrote that he had just woken up "from a most pleasant dream about Susan." He described a sexually charged dream in which Susan asked him, "'Do you think I would make a good wife for you?'"
When you look at those pictures, it's clearly surreptitious. It's clearly obsessive.
–Anne Bremner, Cox family attorney
Anne Bremner, an attorney who represents Susan Powell's parents, said the images support the family's assertion that Steve Powell had a concerning attraction for his daughter-in-law.
"When you look at those pictures, it's clearly surreptitious. It's clearly obsessive," Bremner said. The family believes Steve Powell knows something about Susan Powell's disappearance, and authorities have described him as uncooperative.
Mark Quigley, an attorney who represented Steve Powell in the voyeurism case, did not return a call seeking comment. Powell is in prison, serving a sentence of more than two years.
Susan Powell was last seen in her West Valley City home on Dec. 6, 2009. Her husband, Josh Powell, is suspected of killing her but was never arrested or charged. He murdered his two sons and killed himself earlier this year in a fire he set in a home in Washington state.
On the third year anniversary of her disappearance, West Valley police released a statement saying the Powell case is still active but "scaled down."
"The number of full-time investigators assigned has been reduced. Some investigative tasks remain to be completed as follow ups are coordinated," the statement reads.
"The department remains committed to this investigation. The public is reminded there is a $10,000 reward for information leading to the whereabouts of Susan Cox Powell and encourages anyone with information to call the West Valley City Police Department at 801-840-4000.