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Puyallup, Wash. • The father and father-in-law of Susan Powell met face-to-face in front of reporters and cameras for the first time Saturday, with each accusing the other of telling lies and not helping to find the missing woman.
Her father, Chuck Cox, and father-in-law, Steve Powell, raised their voices but otherwise kept their tempers in check. They stood 3 feet from each other at a busy intersection outside a Fred Meyer store. Members of the Cox family and supporters were waving a banner and signs with Susan Powell's photo at the spot.
"We were going to get a picture of Chuck Cox," Steve Powell said, turning to reporters. "We believe he's in violation of a restraining order because Josh shops at this store."
"You own the neighborhood?" Cox asked.
Josh Powell, Susan Powell's husband, is the only individual who West Valley City police have named as a person of interest in her December 2009 disappearance. Josh Powell has obtained a temporary restraining order against Cox, and a court hearing is set for Tuesday in Tacoma, Wash., to consider whether the order should be permanent.
"We wanted to see if [Cox] was here because we wanted to be able to say something at the hearing Tuesday," Steve Powell said.
Steve Powell and his daughter, Alina Powell, approached Cox at about 11:15 a.m. local time, and asked why the Coxes picked the intersection.
"How is you coming here helping to find Susan?" Cox asked Steve Powell at one point.
"It isn't helping find Susan. How does you standing here at our neighborhood market helping to find Susan?" Steve Powell responded.
Steve Powell moments later turned to reporters and said: "They are only doing it in the neighborhood we live [in.]"
Steve Powell clarified that he does not object to the Coxes publicizing Susan Powell's picture but suggested that doing it near his and Josh Powell's home about two miles from the store is meant as harassment.
"I think he's here because he thinks he has some kind of advantage," Cox said, "and he's going to prove I'm doing something illegal or picking on him when I just want to find my daughter."
Steve Powell went onto renew his claims that FBI agents told him they do not believe Josh Powell had anything to do with his wife's disappearance, and said that Josh Powell will not speak with West Valley City police because they earlier misled him. Susan Powell was emotionally unstable, Steve Powell said again, and likely left of her own accord.
Cox said those assertions were baseless. "You're not believable," Cox said.
"Right, right I'm not. You are, though," Steve Powell responded sarcastically.
Cox said SusanPowell.org, which Steve and Josh Powell operate, is "full of lies."
But Steve Powell, with Alina Powell jumping into the conversation, asked why Cox had what Alina Powell called "a hidden blog."
"Why do you have a hidden blog if you're all about the positive?" Alina Powell asked from behind the group of seven or so reporters and photographers.
"I don't have a hidden blog," Cox replied.
Alina Powell mentioned a Facebook group page operated by the Cox family. People wanting to join the group must be approved by the page's administrator.
The meeting ended after about 20 minutes, with Steve Powell walking away, telling reporters he would be happy to forward them information from his website as well as the Cox-operated Facebook page. Cox then returned to intersection with his supporters.
Cox's wife, Judy Cox, later said she saw Josh Powell in the store parking lot, too.
A couple of hours after the confrontation, the Coxes and their supporters continued waving the banner and signs. One of the supporters was Laurie Neilsen.
"I'm frustrated [the Powells are] making a big issue of us trying to find Susan," Nielsen said.
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Dad vs. dad
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