by Anne Bremner
Co-Authored by Bob Sims
Oh no, like salt on snow
I've been melted
Left alone on the side of the road
Is this where I am over
For your sake
Stuck between sleep and awake?
Having been snowbound for days here in wintry Seattle, my thoughts have drifted lately. But, still, I remain vigilant in my thinking about my cases, especially the ones involving missing persons and how inclement weather conditions sometimes affect the lack of crime.
I began pondering this when I started thinking about my clients Chuck and Judy Cox, and their missing daughter, Susan Cox Powell. More than two years ago Susan went missing when her husband Josh Powell supposedly took the couple's then 2- and 4-year-old sons camping in snowy Utah at midnight, browning marshmallows by campfire in the dead of winter.
Many speculate that Susan is out there in the snow, the snow that has melted and then fallen again and again over two long intervening winters. Others speculate she is alive and at some point has been kept secretly by Josh Powell and his father Steven Powell. But not many do. She is somewhere between sleep and awake.
Statistics show that snowy conditions reduce crime rates. This has been described in Dr. Emily Bloom's "The Ice Factor," where she wrote about how "snow slays crime."
And it is true. Crime declines during snowstorms. Is it the calming quiet that tames the beast in us? Or the inablity to get out and do things -- good or evil?"
It reminds me of what my psychiatrist father said when he was doing studies for Prozac, in the face of claims that Prozac made some people kill. My father said it just helped them get out of bed and they would've killed anyway.
"The first fall of snow is not an event, it is a magical event."
The thoughts of an icy, snowy death are unimaginable to me, like learning about those mountain climbers who died on Mt. Everest, as expressed so eloquently by Jon Krakauer in his book, "Into Thin Air."
It's almost akin to Titanic passengers drowning in the dark, icy North Atlantic waters long ago -- the same fate for some on the sinking cruise ship Costa Concordia off the Italian coast recently.
I believe Susan Powell didn't die in the snow, and the snow story just might turn out to be the Cox family's salvation. Almost everyone who has heard the story has scoffed and pointed toward her husband Josh Powell as a person of interest, for the very reason he has concocted this improbable tale.
"The future lies before you, like paths of pure white snow. Be careful how you tread, for every step is sown."
Crimes are not committed in snow.
In fact, such a claim makes me incredulous. As a prosecutor, I use the "footprints in the snow" analogy to describe circumstantial evidence.
When you retire to bed at night, the ground is covered with fresh and pristine snow, untouched. When you wake up in the morning, there are footprints in the snow, leading to your doorstep where the morning's newspaper is there. You didn't see the person deliver your newspaper directly, but circumstantial evidence tells you, via footprints in the snow, that someone indeed did.
Snow. Crime. Punishment. Help us find Susan Cox Powell.
Saturday, January 21, 2012
by Anne Bremner