Private investigator claims decryption new lead in search for Susan Cox Powell


SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) –  Chuck Cox hasn’t stopped searching efforts for his missing daughter.
Susan Cox Powell disappeared in 2009.  Her husband Josh Powell became the focus of a West Valley police investigation.

But he took his secrets to the grave, burning down his home in Washington state.  He also murdered his two sons prior to torching the home.
Susan’s never been found.

“We’re moving on with out lives day to day,” said Chuck Cox from his home in Washington.  “But  our daughter being missing is still part of our thoughts day to day.”

The latest chapter in their search is making headlines but Cox isn’t sure what it will reveal.

Over the past four years, the CEO of Decipher Forensics of American Fork said it’s been running software to decrypt Josh Powell’s hard drive.

His computers were seized from homes in West Valley and Washington state where he later moved.

A private investigator hired by the Cox family just learned that software company is making some progress

“We have broken through one level but that doesn’t necessarily mean we know anything,” said Rose Winquist of Winquist Investigations based in Seattle. “It just means we’ve busted down one door basically.”

She said decrypting the first layer didn’t reveal much information.  Winquist said the work at Decipher Forensics has stalled and they need help.  Winquist plans to ask Amazon to assist in the next level of decryption.

“Because the more computers,  the more power you have for the encryption process,” said Winquist.

Chuck Cox was made aware of this latest information this week.

“I don’t know if it will solve anything or not but I would like to know what was encrypted in Josh’s computer,” said Chuck Cox.

Winquist said she’s treating this like a new lead.

“This is hopeful,” she said.  “If we can get through what we need to get through, there may be some little shred of evidence on these hard drives that could lead us to Susan.

But in a prepared statement West Valley police said “there are no new developments in the Susan Cox Powell case.  Decipher Forensics was able to get through a “first layer” to reach the encrypted contents of the drive.  The encryption itself remains intact.  No evidence on this hard drive has been made accessible to anyone, including WVCP.”

For now, Chuck and his wife can only wait and hopeful that Amazon will help them.
But he’s also realistic.  He said Josh Powell was a fanatic about saving every piece of financial information.

“He’d have Susan give him a grocery receipt and he would scan it and put in in the computer,” said Cox.  “I don’t know how valuable the information is going to be that is in there, or if that was part of the encryption or if we’re just going to find just a mess of nothing.”

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