Susan Powell Missing: Thousands of images of Utah mom seized from father-in-law's home, report says

Susan Powell is seen with her two sons. Powell disappeared Dec. 7, 2009.
Hardman Photography
Susan Powell and her two sons
File photo

(CBS/AP) TACOMA, Wash. - Authorities seized thousands of images of Susan Powell from her father-in-law's home, some of which were sexually suggestive and indicated that the missing Utah mother was unaware that someone was taking her picture.

The photos 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.

Susan Powell disappeared in Utah in December 2009. Utah investigators handling the case focused their attention primarily on her husband, who 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. 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. A folder labeled with her initials, SMP, contained nearly 4,500 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?"'

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.

Powell is in prison, serving a sentence of more than two years for voyeurism.

Complete coverage of the Susan Powell case on Crimesider