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Odd Document, Behavior At Son’s School Noted In Susan Powell Case

PUYALLUP, Wash. – A surprising document from the Susan Powell case files has provided insights into the mind of Josh Powell after his wife went missing. It revealed one of several odd behaviors involving the elementary school where son Charlie attended.

In a new episode of KSL’s investigative true crime podcast, Cold, host Dave Cawley revealed the “No Contact” order Josh filed at his son Charlie’s elementary school.

In the letter to school officials, Josh claimed Charlie was an “at risk child due to a vigilante mob being led and encouraged by people who claim to be friends and family.”

Josh asked the principal of Carson Elementary to keep anyone not on an approved list away from Charlie. Among those on the list of approved adults were Josh himself, his sister Alina, brother Michael and father Steven.

Specifically named in a “no contact” list were Susan Powell’s parents, Chuck and Judy Cox, as well as Susan Powell, whom Josh described as “currently a missing person.” Other names on the “no contact” list were redacted by police before the release of documents related to Susan’s 2009 disappearance.

Tammy Forman, Charlie Powell’s kindergarten teacher at Carson Elementary, said this wasn’t the only strange thing Josh Powell did at the school. He often came into her classroom uninvited.

“He always would sit on the floor. He was engaged with the other kids and wanting to talk about things, and then when people would come in to have him leave he would say, ‘Oh no, I’m fine.’ He wasn’t really combative, he just wouldn’t leave,” said Forman. “So they would have to go get someone else and eventually the principal would have to come in and escort him out. So that was really odd to me.”

Another odd incident at the school involved the children’s grandfather, Steve Powell.

“Steve came to the playground with his camera and was taking pictures of the neighborhood kids playing on the playground. Several parents asked him to leave and he was being defiant,” Forman said.

Steve Powell was later arrested and sent to prison for voyeurism after police found photos he’d taken of two neighbor girls during a search of his house.

For Forman however, some of her biggest concerns related to the Powell family came in the classroom with Charlie – a student who she said was very smart and bright.

“He was very curious and he loved anything about science. Especially bugs, dinosaurs. He was really interested in rocks,” she said.”

Charlie was different from his classmates.

“He was very quirky and kind of like a little man. He wasn’t playful. A very serious boy. So I think kids didn’t know what to make of him. They didn’t dislike him but he was always alone,” Forman said.

Charlie did have one interaction with a student that stuck in her memory.

“He did, a couple of times, get really upset with a student who was LDS,” she said. “He said that LDS people were bad and he couldn’t be friends with that boy, and that caused a little bit of friction in the class.”

Josh and Susan Powell had both been raised in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but before Susan’s disappearance, Josh had distanced himself from the faith. It was a point of contention in their marriage.

Forman paid close attention to Charlie throughout the year, listening and watching for any clues into his mother’s disappearance.

“Charlie, more and more, would start to say odd things,” she said. “I would just send him to the counselor because I didn’t want any kind of big confession there in front of the class.”

Charlie came to school once and said his little brother Braden was dead. Forman asked Alina Powell about the comment and the next day Alina brought Braden in a stroller when she picked up Charlie from school.

“He did say, ‘My mommy is in a cave with crystals,'” Forman recalled. “Those were his words.”

During free time one day, Charlie chose to draw and brought Forman a picture he’d drawn of a gun.

“He drew it kind of upside down so when I first saw it, it looked like people on a mountain or something,” she said.

Charlie handed her the paper, holding it upright and said it was a gun.

“Right away,” Forman said, “I felt very uncomfortable. Sent him off to the counselor.”

Forman believes Charlie was slowly processing what happened with his mother.

“I feel like as the year progressed, he was getting closer and closer to saying something that would have incriminated his dad. There were more and more times where I would feel like, ‘Oh, we’re getting close.'”

Josh Powell killed himself and his two sons in a house explosion before either boy was able to provide anyone with any real answers about what happened to their mother.

In Episode 10 of KSL’s investigative true crime podcast Cold, you’ll hear more from Tammy Forman and learn about a never before reported undercover police operation involving a possible romantic interest for Josh.

You can download Cold wherever you get podcasts or at

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