Friends and Family Allege Susan Powell Was Abused by Husband

Friends and family allege Susan Powell was abused by Joshua Powell.

ByABC News via logo
January 4, 2010, 7:27 AM

Feb. 17, 2010— -- Friends and family members of a missing Utah woman, Susan Powell, say the young mother was abused by her husband and question why Joshua Powell has not done more to help the investigation.

At a press conference Monday, family friend and spokesperson Shelby Gifford said Susan Powell told a family member about one instance of violence.

"We can say, without reservation, that Susan was a victim of domestic abuse within her own home," Gifford said.

The 28-year-old mother of two young boys has been missing since Dec. 6, 2009, but Joshua Powell, 34, has refused to help in the investigation and remains the only person of interest.

Gifford said Jennifer Graves, Joshua Powell's sister, and her husband recently visited Joshua in Washington state, where he now lives, to spend time with the children. But when Graves confronted her brother about his wife's disappearance, Joshua asked her to leave his house.

Tuesday, Graves publicly questioned her brother's behavior on the "Dr. Phil Show," saying she hopes he did not commit a crime but "the truth is going to come out eventually."

"The thing that has bothered me the most about Josh's behavior is that he has been uncooperative with the police in giving them any details. He also has been very neglected to participate in the media. That's our biggest tool in helping find Susan. You're [the] husband, there's more that you can do. So get up and do it," Graves said.

At a press conference Monday to announce a foundation in Susan Powell's name, her friends and family said it wasn't until they spoke to each other that they put together what they believe are the missing pieces of Susan Powell's life.

Some alleged that Joshua would not let his wife have her own car key and she had to get permission from him to use the family vehicle.

One said he knew of an episode of physical violence and another said Joshua would frequently change the pin numbers on their bank accounts so Susan would not have access to their money.

Gifford said, "people who were in the house with firsthand knowledge" knew that Joshua Powell would purposefully undermine his wife's parenting in front of their children.

"He would go in and get the boys out of bed and say things like, 'Mommy's so mean for making you go to bed, come on out of bed,'" Gifford said.

Joshua Powell and his attorney have refused to comment directly on the latest allegations.

In an e-mail to ABC News, his attorney said he believes supporters of Joshua Powell are preparing a response to the "untrue allegations."