Docs: Josh Powell Took Pictures Of Strangers' Legs

By Salon Staff

Published March 3, 2012 12:09AM (EST)

SEATTLE (AP) — Washington authorities released the remainder of their files Friday pertaining to a child-custody case involving Josh Powell, including details that he admitted taking pictures of strangers' legs in public and that he didn't consider himself sad or depressed, even as police moved toward arresting him for his wife's disappearance.

Many of the 1,700 pages released by the Department of Social and Health Services duplicated documents it released last month. The files included medical records of the boys and intricately detailed reports of Powell's supervised visits with his two young boys in the months before he killed them and himself in an explosive house fire.

Powell's wife, Susan, vanished from their Utah home in December 2009. Josh Powell was the only suspect in her presumed murder, but maintained his innocence and said he had taken their boys, then 2 and 4, on a midnight camping trip in freezing temperatures the night she disappeared.

Powell moved with the boys to his father Steve's home in Puyallup, Wash., but Steve Powell was arrested and charged with voyeurism and child pornography last September. The boys were placed with Susan Powell's parents for their safety.

The day after his father's arrest, Josh Powell acknowledged that he too liked to take photos of people in public when they weren't aware of what he was doing.

"Mr. Powell talked about the laws surrounding such behavior and appeared to understand them. He stated that he is only an amateur but he likes to take pictures of legs when he sees something that is nice. He also stated it is less expensive than using stock photography," the social worker wrote in an examination.

It wasn't clear what Powell was using the photography for.

And, the social worker reported, when Powell was asked about whether he would have called police had he known his father had sexually explicit images of young girls, Powell paused for a long time and then slowly said: "If it were a threat to children."

Powell also filled out a questionnaire for Child Protective Services, in which he checked "no" boxes in response to questions about whether he felt depressed, anxious or thought about suicide.

On Feb. 5, a social worker brought the boys to Powell's rental home for what was supposed to be a court-sanctioned supervised visit. Josh Powell let the boys inside, locked the social worker out, hit them with a hatchet and ignited the house in a gas-fueled inferno.

Salon Staff

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