Before she disappeared, Susan Powell wrote about family problems in emails to friends and family, saying Josh Powell had become a moody and controlling husband she feared could harm her.

Share story

Before she disappeared, Susan Powell told friends and co-workers her husband had become moody and controlling, and she feared he could harm her.

The insight into Susan Powell’s family problems were revealed in emails provided to The Salt Lake Tribune, which published them on Sunday.

Nine emails were provided to the newspaper after Susan Powell disappeared in December 2009. But at the request of the provider, the newspaper held back on publishing them until now.

The newspaper reports that Susan emailed several co-workers, friends and members of her ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to pour out frustration with her husband, Josh Powell, and to seek advice on how to proceed with the relationship.

The emails were sent between June 30, 2008, and Oct. 31, 2008, and show Susan Powell’s disappointment with her husband’s lack of affection, saying the couple’s marriage had changed since its early stages.

“I want him in counseling, on meds, I want my husband, friend, lover BACK no more crazy, outrageous, outlandish beliefs/opinions,” she wrote in an email to friends dated July 11, 2008, as she described stress and depression related to her crumbling marriage.

Josh Powell killed himself and their two young children in a gas-fueled inferno in February in Washington state. His father, Steve Powell, is in jail, facing several voyeurism charges and one count of possession of child pornography. His trial is scheduled to start May 7.

Susan Powell’s father, Chuck Cox, told The Associated Press on Sunday that he had been aware of the struggles in his daughter’s marriage and that she had sent several emails to friends before her disappearance.

An email requesting comment from West Valley City police spokesman Sgt. Mike Powell in Utah was not immediately returned.

“I know everyone else will support me in whatever decisions, even if that means I crash anyone’s house in the middle of the night with my boys in tow. (Hope that never happens) or stay with him. But believe me, my bottom line is he WILL DO COUNSELING,” she added in another email, dated July 28, 2008.

“I’m sure if he fixes himself, everyone else will see a much closer version of the guy I married. And it will be easy enough to forget the hell and turmoil he’s put me through.”

She wrote of a trip to Washington state for her sister’s wedding where she described Josh as “being his usually `rude, yelling and barking commands at me’ -self” as the couple spent time with family.

She wrote of being uncomfortable with a song that her father-in-law, Steven Powell, wrote about her. She also wrote that Steve Powell once tried to console her about her problems with Josh.

“His dad told me the entire family KNOWS how much I put up with,” Susan wrote on June 30, 2008.

In another email, Susan wrote about an argument the couple had where she made a list of things that Josh wanted her to change. She wrote that Josh accused her of having “utter contempt” for him because he wasn’t working a regular job at the time. She also wrote that her husband had criticized her for spending too much money on groceries.

He told her not to spend money on counseling or other items, including make-up or yarn, according to an email Susan Powell sent on July 5, 2008.

She also wrote about leaving a makeshift will in her desk at work because she worried her husband might hurt her or kidnap her children if she tried to leave him. But she also expressed hope that the two could somehow reconcile.

“Every moment I step back and take stock of what I’m dealing with, it feels like a never ending cycle but I’m too afraid of the consequences (sic) losing my kids, him kidnapping, divorce or actions worse on his part, if I take a stand on one of his ultimatums like spending $20 on the counseling co-pay or cutting off access to my pay check,” she wrote on July 5, 2008.