CRIME

Audio from Steven Powell’s interview with the FBI released on “Cold” podcast

Jan 9, 2019, 8:29 AM | Updated: 8:35 am
Steven Powell...
File photo of Steven Powell, taken during his voyeurism trial on May 9, 2012, in Tacoma, Washington. (Photo: Ted S. Warren / Associated Press)
(Photo: Ted S. Warren / Associated Press)

When Susan Powell disappeared in December 2009, nearly everyone suspected that her husband, Josh Powell, was behind it.

Josh’s family, however, had a different theory. They insisted that Susan had run away in the night with a secret lover. Josh’s father, Steven, even met with the FBI to try to convince them that Susan had fled America with a man named Steven Koecher.

The audio from Steven Powell’s FBI interview, for the first time ever, has been shared with the world on the podcast Cold. It reveals some incredible insights into the mystery of Susan Powell’s disappearance and the strange, twisted mind of Steven, the man obsessed with own son’s wife.

The disappearance of Steven Koecher

Steven Koecher

File photo of Steven Koecher, who, like Susan Powell, disappeared in Dec. 2009. (Photo: KSL TV)

Steven Koecher was last seen on Dec. 13, 2009, six days after Susan Powell disappeared.

He was spotted in Henderson, Nevada; more than a hundred miles from his home in St. George, Utah. No one could explain why he’d driven across state lines to visit a suburb that had no apparent connection to anything in his life, but he was there.

He parked his car outside of a retirement community, got out, and started walking. There were Christmas gifts for family members and resumes for employers inside, signs he family says prove he’d planned on coming back to the car. Koecher, however, never returned.

A surveillance camera caught one last glimpse of him, walking calmly down the sidewalks of a Henderson suburb. Then he just disappeared. Like Susan, he hasn’t been seen since to this day.

This was no coincidence, Steven Powell believed. Koecher, he said, must have been Susan’s secret lover. The two had run off together, he told the police, and, using Susan’s cosmetology skills to disguise their faces, fled the country.

There wasn’t a lot of evidence to back it up. There is nothing to suggest that Susan and Koecher had ever met, and even less to suggest that their disappearances from homes more than 300 miles apart are connected in any way.

Still, Steven was convinced they’d run off together. They were both members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he reasoned, and so they had something that tied them together – even if it was something they shared with more than half of the people in their state.

From that one fact, he’d concocted a whole fantasy. There was a statewide conspiracy led by the church to take his grandkids out of his home, Steven told the FBI, that was blinding people from what he insisted was the truth. Susan was with Koecher, hiding in Brazil, and — in the fantasies he described in explicit detail in his journals –- lounging on a nude beach.

Steven Powell speaks to the FBI

Steven Powell during trial

Steven Powell sits in a Pierce County Superior courtroom in Tacoma, Washington, shortly after he was found guilty of possessing child pornography. (Photo: Ted S. Warren / Associated Press)

The FBI didn’t give much credence to Steven’s story. They investigated it to see if there was any chance it could be true, but even during the first interview, they warned him outright that their lead suspect was his son Josh.

“Josh is going to be arrested and charged with this crime,” Agent Russ Johnson told Steven. “You need to be aware that that’s coming.”

Steven needed to be careful, they told him. He needed to make sure that, when the police came to get Josh, he didn’t do anything to obstruct the investigation.

“If –,” Johnson began; then, correcting himself: “– when he gets arrested for this, those grandkids are going to need people that they know and love around them.”

Steven didn’t manage to convince the police that Susan had run away from home, but the interview led the police down a new path that uncovered a dark, hidden side to the story.

In a footer attached to Steven’s e-mail, they found a link to some of the more than 50 love songs Steven had written for his daughter-in-law, all with gushing titles like “I Can Love You In A Secret Way” or “Susan with the Sunlight Hair.”

From there, the depth of Steven’s obsession slowly unraveled. He kept stashes of her undergarments in his closet, filled his journals with strange fantasies about her, and even cut out pictures of her face and pasted them onto pornography.

It was a disturbing glimpse into the man whose unwanted advances had created one of the earliest and biggest wedges in Josh and Susan’s marriage.

You can hear Steven Powell’s FBI interview and learn about its aftermath in episode 9 of Cold.

Today’s Top Stories

Crime

draper shooting police...
Mark Jones

Party ban becomes permanent for Airbnb

Airbnb announced this week that it is placing permanent ban on disruptive parties. In April, two people died in a shooting at an Airbnb in Draper.
1 day ago
...
Mark Jones

Suspect taken into custody after firing shots in Kearns

A shelter in place was issued Wednesday evening in Kearns after an 18-year-old male fired a weapon at a family member fled the scene through a residential area.
2 days ago
Lina Reyes Geddes, of Youngstown, Ohio, has been identified as the victim in a 1998 homicide cold c...
Mark Jones

Garfield County cold case homicide is brought to a close

Authorities in Utah and Ohio announced Wednesday the closure of a Garfield County cold case that dates back to April 20, 1998.
2 days ago
Provo Police need help to identify and locate a suspect in a 2020 cold case shooting that happened ...
Devin Oldroyd

Provo Police Department asking for help solving a 2020 cold case

Provo Police need help to identify and locate a suspect in a 2020 cold case shooting that happened at the Missionary Training Center.
8 days ago
salt lake mayorMendenhall guns...
Curt Gresseth

After NY law is struck down, two Utah experts sound off on gun rights

Two advocates on either side of the gun-control vs. gun rights debate sound off on the Supreme Court's 6-3 ruling to expand the right to carry a firearm in public.
8 days ago
A men’s maximum-security unit in the new Utah State Correctional Facility in Salt Lake City is pi...
Lindsay Aerts

State leaders cut the ribbon on new Utah State Correctional Facility

After five years of construction, a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Utah State Correctional Facility, located west of the Salt Lake City International Airport, was held Wednesday.
9 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Tax Harassment...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Joseph Smith Memorial Building...
Temple Square

The Joseph Smith Memorial Building is an icon of Salt Lake City | Why hosting an event at this beautiful location will make you a hero this year

Here's why hosting an event at the iconic Joseph Smith Memorial Building in downtown Salt Lake City will make you a hero this year.
Audio from Steven Powell’s interview with the FBI released on “Cold” podcast