Susan Cox Powell was pleasant and warm toward her father-in-law Steven Powell before she disappeared in 2009, in contrast to allegations that she was very wary of him, according to a new website featuring home videos and songs of the Powell family.
The website, titled West Valley and Pierce County Malfeasance, was released today exclusively to ABCNews.com by Steven Powell's daughter, Alina Powell.
It was unveiled on the same day that her father's trial on voyeurism charges went to the jury. Steven Powell is accused of filming and photographing two girls, ages 8 and 10, as they used the bathroom in the home behind Steven's house.
The site aims to show the Powells' side of a two-and-a-half year feud with Susan's parents, as well as between the Powells and the police departments that investigated Susan's disappearance.
Alina Powell said that the videos on the new website won't affect the outcome of her father's case, but are intended to begin offering another side of the Susan Powell story to those who are interested.
"The trial will conclude [today] one way or another," she said. " I waited to put things out so as not to interfere with dad's case, but I've long been tired of seeing people say things they don't really know anything about. (The website) is just kind of to start putting the truth and balance into this stuff."
Steven Powell was arrested in 2011 on charges of voyeurism and child pornography after a police search of his home yielded dozens of computer disks with images of naked women and girls. Josh Powell, who was the only named person of interest in Susan's disappearance, later killed himself and his two sons in a fiery home explosion. The videos released today show a rare glimpse of the boys, who were kept out of the public eye while they were alive, laughing and playing with their parents.
Among the images found in Steven Powell's home were voyeuristic pictures of Susan that he had allegedly taken without her knowledge, although those pictures are not included in the charges. Steve Powell claimed he had a flirtatious relationship before she disappeared. Steven Powell told ABC News in 2011 that he and his daughter-in-law had a relationship that was "beyond the pale, you know, father-in-law, daughter-in-law, flirting, maybe some sexual touching or whatever."
"Susan was very sexual with me," he said. "We interacted in a lot of sexual ways because Susan enjoys doing that."
Members of Susan's family and friends, as well as an estranged daughter of Steven Powell, have said that Susan was "repulsed" by her father-in-law and wanted Josh to sever ties with him.
"I have been aware of my daughter's problems with Steven Powell. She had told us a long time ago that he had made some advances toward her," Susan's father, Chuck Cox, told ABC News last year. "She told us that it made her uncomfortable, and that her husband didn't care. They decided to move to Utah and that was to get away from Steven."
The Powells' new website, however, claims that Susan was in fact comfortable around Steven, and shows home videos of the family together to prove it.
Alina Powell told ABC News that she is releasing the home videos now in order to challenge the misconceptions of Susan Powell that have dominated stories about her disappearance and Steven's arrest.
"What other people are saying is that Susan hated my dad so much that she wouldn't have tolerated even the mere presence of him, was deathly afraid of him, or whatever they've tried to claim about her," Alina Powell said. "But these videos show, at minimum, she at least tolerated him, and was perfectly comfortable with her and her kids being around him. I wouldn't presume to put words in her mouth about whether she loved being around him, but she certainly wasn't adamantly opposed to their spending time with him like others have suggested."
Four of the videos shown on the site contrast statements made by Susan's parents, the police, and Steven's estranged daughter Jennifer Graves, with images of Susan happily getting along with Steven Powell. Two songs, allegedly collaborated on by Susan and Steven, are also featured on the site.
"The videos are all basically news clips of people trying to make certain assertions about Susan's attitudes and then showing her real attitudes. She was pretty easy going about stuff and she certainly did not have the extreme attitudes these people are talking about," Alina Powell said.
Susan Powell Home Videos Released
The videos and songs, which the Powells have had since Susan disappeared in 2009, have never been seen by the public before. Josh Powell, when he was alive, rarely engaged with the media to tell his side of the story.
"We've been wanting to do this stuff forever, but Josh didn't want to do anything with the media at all," she said. "He was very wary of it, especially after the kids were taken. He was very wary of giving [child protective services] any stupid reason to not give the kids back, no matter how legally-invalid that reason, but I told him, 'They're going to invent a reason to not give your kids back, regardless. You need to get this out there, get the truth out there.'"
Criticism of the website is bound to come, Alina Powell acknowledged, but for those interested in hearing both sides of the harrowing tale of Susan's disappearance and the ensuing feud between families and investigators, this site will offer a glimpse into the Powell's home life before December 2009.
"We'll just have to persevere, basically. Our voice does really need to get out there, and the website will allow people to overcome some of the misinformation and lies being spread," she said.