Susan Powell continues to help domestic violence victims, ten years later

Dec 4, 2019, 8:18 PM | Updated: Dec 5, 2019, 9:39 am
susan powell domestic violence...
Cold Podcast Host Dave Cawley and Utah Domestic Violence Coalition Executive Director Jenn Oxborrow speaking at a live event in May 2019. Photo: KSL TV

SALT LAKE CITY – Even though she hasn’t been seen in almost ten years, domestic violence prevention advocates say Susan Powell is having a tremendously positive impact. They say many abuse victims are coming forward and getting help because they relate to Powell’s story.

Ten years later

Friday is the anniversary of the last time anyone saw Susan Powell alive.  Some people who knew her well say it wasn’t just Susan’s disappearance, but also the murders of her sons, Charlie and Braden, that crushed them, emotionally.

Debbie Caldwell, who used to watch the boys while Susan was at work, says the rest of the children in her daycare suffered when they didn’t come back.

“The ones that are older, who went to public school, really suffered because it was quite a big event and it was being talked about in public,” she said.

Susan’s sister-in-law, Jennifer Graves, says she didn’t have the luxury of not telling her kids about the boys’ murder.

On the Cold podcast, Graves said, “To hide everything that was going on would have been impossible.  My youngest child and Charlie were best buddies.”

She says the last time they visited the boys, one of her kids had a premonition they would never see Charlie and Braden again.

“It turns out, he was right because a few months later Josh killed them.  We all wished that we had stayed a little longer,” Graves says.

Susan Powell and domestic violence victims

Since Susan’s disappearance, abuse victim advocates say her story has worked wonders to educate people on what abuse can look like.

“We take over 40 thousand crisis calls every year and we hear people, just about every day, who identify with some aspects of the high-profile cases in the news, especially Susan’s case,” said Utah Domestic Violence Coalition Executive Director Jenn Oxborrow.

Too many times, Oxborrow says, people only look for the physical signs of domestic violence.  However, Susan’s case was far more complicated.

“There was so much complex trauma, so much control and a lot of things that were happening behind the scenes,” Oxborrow said.  “She was isolated.  She was stalked.  There was a lot of jealousy and but was happening from multiple people within her family, her father-in-law, and her husband.”

Getting help

Every episode of the Susan Powell story on the Cold podcast has featured resources for preventing and escaping domestic violence. A portion of ticket sales from the live event, hosted in May at the Eccles Theater, went to the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition.

You can hear Oxborrow’s full conversation with Dave Cawley at the event below.

The Utah Domestic Violence Coalition operates a confidential statewide, 24-hour domestic abuse hotline at 1-800-897-LINK (5465). Resources are also available online: udvc.org.

Help for people in abusive relationships can be found by contacting:

You can hear Oxborrow’s full conversation with Dave Cawley at the event below.

Listen to Cold on the KSL NewsRadio website or on Apple Podcasts. Look for additional information and resources at https://thecoldpodcast.com

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Susan Powell continues to help domestic violence victims, ten years later