Saturday, January 21, 2012

Reflections on Snow, Crime, and Punishment

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.


A Voice of Sanity said...

His story seems smelly BUT, women alone in a house do get abducted. And it is possible that he was engaged in adultery that night, not camping in snow. Cases like Scott Peterson, David Camm and Jeffrey Scott Hornoff prove to us that adultery is taken as proof of murder, no matter what people say or what the evidence proves so his silence may be well chosen.

how to get rid of anxiety said...

The future lies before you, like paths of pure white snow. Be careful how you tread, for every step is sown.

Eye-of -the-storm said...

If the destination is far away enough snow continuing to fall, melt , slide is even better at obscuring a trail and extra hungry carnivores searching for food can eat and dispers bones already thrown off onto where no one walks. For no clues of injury or death or violence in your home just heavily sedate the intended victim with the least suspicious substance to reach bones or hair over a few hours. Pop her in athe boot or back section of the car and go off with kids from whom mommy has been kept out of sight. Remember to unload her when kids aren't looking too.Take the victim and leave her around the corner from your camp spot with the kids to die of hypothermia. When she ought to be dead tell kids your having a toilet trip, check then dump in a good spot. Take kids home and play innocent, deny like Casey did. Weird time to take kids camping is not proof of murder on it's own ever-technically speaking.
In a troubled marriage a woman might slip off for a dalliance with a new lover. After some time even if she wants to stay in hiding she would be seen by someone eventually. If the new lover happened to be an opportunistic predator and kills her a good distance away she can remain deceased and not found. Though the weird trip in the snow by the husband changes the probability of the assailant immediatly. Did anyone sane find Caseys tales of the nanny, then the drowning believable? Night snow trip was the same.Plus two years never sighted again.

Society in legal protective areas now fails further in the unfair death of two little boys.

Looking at this scene that way made this an a most likely entitled killer.His father proved no better as self interested and entitled.

Why was there a supervision order? Obviously,easier in hindsight admittedly,supervised access with an arrogant entitled male, even realistically a killer ought to be in a public place or a facility with security like a supervision visits centre.

Unbelievable that it was to be done in the persons own home. Obviously the supervisor can't be expected to enforce anything or effectively protect anyone in that situation with a dangerous angry man with no insight or acceptance of normal rules.He is entitled and he kills and has nothing to be respected for and embarresed by his father being a discovered sex offender that he was happy to later hang out with. He is no Drew Peterson who had a rather succesful career, a recognised charmer, a good sense of humour who if not imprisoned can always find replacements for his losses of persons and manages to still charm a few & is viewed worth making a movie for. He wouldn't need to stoop to suicide and revenge killings or making hostages out of social workers.Bad but not a desperate looser. Both feel entitled but Drew still understands social mores and would charm the worker to collude with him.

I can't fathom the stupidity of those responsible.

It's known men of Powell's type are often extremely violent when access or custody is removed from them. How many more do children have to die untill this constantly reoccuring type of tradgedy is taken seriously.

Those who provided this dangerously diluted order or even failed to refuse to be part of it's implimentation will hopefully be haunted enough to work for change in stopping potentialy volatile dangerous men have their children.

I feel sorry for all the others involved who aren't responsible, but will as well as grieving will have angst over what else they could have done more to protect these children.
Most of all I feel very sorry for these children being murdered, unecessarily