Daughter of Steven Powell says he died with vital information on murder case

SALT LAKE CITY - One of the daughters of Steven Powell said she was surprised and relieved to learn of the man's passing Monday.

Steven Powell is the father-in-law of missing West Valley City mother Susan Cox Powell. The Pierce County Sheriff's Office in Washington said he died in the hospital after a heart attack Monday morning.

Jennifer Graves said she was saddened, not by Powell's passing, but by his wasted life.

She also said that she worried after his release from prison in 2017 that he would take revenge on her family.

"Just a peace of mind, knowing that my family is safe now," she said.

The last time she saw her father, she indicated, was in a courtroom in 2015 as Powell faced child pornography possession charges three years after his conviction on voyeurism charges.

"I testified against, him. I put him in prison, because of my testimony," Graves said. "He wasn't ever happy about the fact that I was standing against Josh, either."

Steven Powell notoriously defended her brother and his son Josh Powell, after Josh Powell's wife Susan Cox Powell disappeared in 2009.

Josh Powell killed himself and the couple's two young sons in 2012 in Washington. Susan's body was never found.

Graves said that made her father the last person alive with first-hand knowledge of what may have happened to Susan.

"I don't know that he was involved with the planning of her death, but I do believe that Josh told him stuff afterwards," she said. "I think with his death, there may be... the last shreds of evidence that are unavailable, in his mind, gone now."

Steven Powell, West Valley Police said Monday, never gave them information to help with their investigation into Susan's disappearance.

Susan's good friend Kiirsi Hellewell said Steven Powell dying is one less hope they have to get answers.

"I'm not sure that any of us can really, truly move forward without knowing where Susan is," she said.

Hellewell said they hope to find out what happened to Susan, and they won't give up until they find her.

Could Steven's death help uncover some of those answers?

"We all know that he was a huge fan of writing in journals, and so it's possible that he's kept up that habit, and maybe there will be something to find," Hellewell said.

Graves said from her understanding, authorities plan to search his last effects and it's possible there might be something there.

At the very least, both women have a weight lifted off their shoulders

"I felt so much relief, that I didn't have to worry about him anymore," Hellewell said. "He wasn't going to be able to hurt anybody ever again."

She said she now hopes that with Steven Powell gone, someone who was afraid to speak up before might come forward now.

She urged anyone who might know something about Susan's disappearance or about Steve Powell to report it.

Graves said she didn't have hope her father would ever change.

"He never came back around, came clean on things, showed a repentant heart, made changes in his life," she said. "He wasn't sorry about hurting the people that he did."

West Valley Police said Tuesday that Susan Powell's case is cold, but they stand ready to act on new information.