Editor’s Note: Nancy Grace will be joined by experts and people close to the Susan Powell case Tuesday November 7th at 9:30am ET for a special taping of ‘Crime Stories with Nancy Grace’. Call 909-49-CRIME (909-492-7463) starting at 9:30am ET to join the conversation.
Unencrypting a computer belonging to Susan Powell’s dead husband may be crucial in solving the Utah mother’s disappearance, according to a private investigator involved in the cold case.
KSL reported that Rose Winquist, who was hired by the woman’s family, said a contractor is close to cracking into a hard drive once owned by Josh Powell. Powell killed himself—and their two young sons—in a fiery explosion in February 2012 during a supervised custody visit. At the time, a state worker was outside of Powell’s rental home, when he suddenly pulled the boys inside and locked the doors.
An autopsy reported indicated that Powell first attempted to chop his sons, ages 5 and 7, with a hatchet before ultimately deciding to burn the house down. The boys’ both died from carbon monoxide poisoning. Powell also died from carbon monoxide poison after he remained inside the home once he set it on fire.
“No one, especially in 2009, would put that kind of encryption on their computer unless they were trying to hide something,” Winquist told KSTU.
“We have broken through one level of the encryption. That’s hugely significant.”
Susan disappeared from her West Valley City home on December 7, 2009, and is presumed dead. Authorities believe Josh was involved in her disappearance and death but never charged him in connection with the case.
Authorities seized multiple computers and external hard drives during their investigation. Some were retrieved from the couple’s home while others were taken from Josh’s father’s home in Pullyalup, Washington, where he lived following his wife’s disappearance.
West Valley City police have since deemed the case cold but a detective remains assigned to it to receive tips, according to a police spokesperson.
Though modern software broke through the first two layers of encryption, Winquist said that cloud computing owned by Amazon could help them break through the final layers and provide the family with closure.
The private investigator said that they’ve reached out to Amazon, as well as Apple, to obtain assistance or funding.
“We’d like to find some information that maybe implicates someone, shows some involvement by someone,” she told the local station.
“Particularly what we’d really like to find on that hard drive is any information that leads us to a body.”
[Featured Image: Wikicommons]