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Former Girlfriend: Josh Powell Kept Me ‘On A Short Leash’

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah – In the years since Susan Powell disappeared hundreds of tips, interviews and searches have come up empty. There’s been no sign of the mother of two since 2009 but her story has stayed in the headlines.

She’s been the subject of news reporters and documentaries. Through all of the continued coverage, we’ve seen faces we won’t forget.

Susan. Charlie. Braden. Josh. Susan’s father Chuck Cox. Josh’s father Steve.

There’s one face you haven’t seen. A face tied to this story that not even police knew existed until we sifted through thousands and thousands of documents, files, videos and Josh’s own audio journals.

It’s the face of Catherine Everett, Josh’s first and only other serious girlfriend and a woman who might have the most insight into who Josh Powell really was and what he was capable of.

Susan Powell in home video before her disappearance in December 2009.

“He was always the ultimate winner,” Everett told us in her first ever interview.

She’d never spoken about her relationship with Josh Powell to anyone before, outside of her immediate family.

Catherine Terry Everett met Josh Powell in 1998 at an activity for young Latter-day Saint singles in Spokane, Washington. They dated for a year, at one point, living together in Steve Powell’s house. And that’s not where the similarities between Josh and Catherine’s relationship and Josh and Susan’s relationship end. In fact, the courtships were eerily similar.

“He didn’t want me to have any friends. He only wanted me to have him,” she said.

Catherine told KSL it didn’t take long for Josh’s controlling nature to manifest. He didn’t want her talking to anyone other than her family on the phone and the longer they were together, she felt increasingly isolated.

“He really kept me on a short leash and I didn’t even realize that that’s what was going on,” she said.

Police named Josh Powell a person of interest in the disappearance of his wife. He was never charged.

Susan’s family said her marriage was much the same. Her father Chuck detailed reasons why he at one point told his daughter she was being abused.

“Taking things away from her. Isolating her from friends,” he said, “lack of funds and lack of willing to let her socialize… the strict budget he had her on.”

Money was an issue in Catherine and Josh’s relationship too. The pair didn’t have much and Josh had Catherine take out a student loan but the money never went toward her education.

“Every time I got my check, he’d have me sign it and he’d stick it in his account,” she said.

It was a trip to visit family in Utah in 1999 that opened Catherine’s eyes.

“I think I just realized the freedom that I had,” she told us. “I was missing out on my own life.”

Once their relationship ended, Catherine moved on, got married and had children. She didn’t think of her former boyfriend for 10 years until she saw his face on TV in December 2009.

“I’m just like, ‘This is not going to end well,’ you know? Just know the way that he was, I’m just like, ‘If they don’t find her, find her quick, whatever he’s done, he’s already done,’ and you know, ultimately, I think we all know that was the case.”

Catherine Everett never went public to talk about the Josh she knew back when Susan’s disappearance was in the headlines. She said watching the coverage became too hard and she had to distance herself. She also didn’t want to change the focus of the story.

“I could have easily stepped forward,” she said, “but I didn’t want it to be about me. It needed to be about Susan.”

So why tell her story now? Catherine said she had no plans to until KSL investigative reporter Dave Cawley reached out after finding vague references to her in Josh Powell’s journals.

“Ultimately, I don’t have anything to gain from this, you know?” she told us. “This is just telling my story and my perspective and you know, I guess, feeling liberated because I’ve talked about it.”

She’s just one of the many untold stories Cawley found while sifting through tens of thousands of documents, letters, emails, videos, photos and other evidence tied to Susan Powell’s disappearance. In 3 years, he’s uncovered new revelations about the investigation including Josh’s minute-by-minute movements in the first days after she disappeared. New details about the mysterious 800-mile drive he took in a rental car. The shocking extent of Steve Powell’s obsession with his daughter-in-law and timelines that went compared reveal that police may have missed their best chance to arrest Josh by mere minutes.

The secret Susan Powell case files have just been cracked and we’re only on the surface.

KSL NewsRadio reporter, Dave Cawley, details it all in KSL’s new podcast “COLD”, available now on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify and Stitcher.

COLD Podcast KSL

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