Encrypted Emails Could Hold Key Evidence In Susan Powell Investigation
(KUTV) In the last year, much of the investigative power of the West Valley City Police Department was focused on the brother of Josh Powell. They say they think Michael Powell may have had a hand in Susan’s disappearance.
Police say Michael was aware he was a focus of the investigation into Susan Cox Powell’s disappearance when he committed suicide last year.
Investigators have hard drives in an evidence locker, containing emails between the brothers, which occurred around the time Susan vanished in December 2009. However, police have been unable to decipher them.
“Michael Powell and his brother Josh Powell used encryption in various forms to communicate electronically,” Deputy Chief Phil Quinlan with WVCPD said.
The brothers apparently downloaded encryption software, protecting their communications, which investigators believe could reveal key evidence. The encryption, according to Quinlan, is so sophisticated that they have not been able to decipher it with current technology.
Computer expert Pete Ashdown, with XMission, says the encryption software used complicated mathematical algorithms to create keys that open the Powell messages.
“There’s rumors that the NSA has Star Trek like technology to break these things, but I tend to trust the mathematicians…It’s a relatively simple formula and it’s unbreakable at this point,” Ashdown says.
Police say they went to the source, the manufacturer of the encryption software, but they say they can’t help.
Bluffdale Neighborhood Seeks World Record For Twins
By Chris Miller (KUTV) The twin birth rate in the United States has grown dramatically in the last 20 years, to about 33 per 1,000 births.
Having twins is still a rare and unique phenomenon, unless you visit the Parry Farms Community in Bluffdale—where twins are strangely common.
There are less than 200 families currently living in the Parry Farms subdivision, but there are at least 14 sets of twins. "We'd go to Costco and everyone would be like 'oh look, twins' but when we moved into this neighborhood it was nothing special," says Steve Pratt, pointing to several of his neighbors who also have twins.
With so many twins in the neighborhood, the question was asked, 'is there something in the environment that's causing this to occur?' Kami Alger put that theory to rest quite plainly. "You know, a lot of us are transplants, so you can't blame it on the water or the air."
The Alger's have two sets of twins. All boys. Kami admits raising twins is overwhelming. "When I found out I was having my second set of twins, I cried for three days, because I knew what I was in for."
The difficultly of raising twins is echoed by several of the other families in the neighborhood, but they all admit that it's a perk having a neighborhood support group of like-minded parents. "There's so much support, so much help," says Nick Barry, as he and his wife Suzanne hold their twin babies, Kalman and Charlie. The Barry's are benefiting from having some of the youngest twins in the neighborhood, as many of the families with older children are donating their used clothing and toys to help outfit the younger kids.
There has been talk about reaching out to the Guinness Book of World Records to submit the community for a record, as having the most households with twins.
Orem High Football Player Makes Big Comeback After Cardiac Arrest
(KUTV) When 16 year-old Ben White woke up in a hospital room and saw his father next to him, he had no idea how he got there. "It scared me. I was terrified," he said in his hospital room at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center. When Ben woke up, it had been two days since he collapsed on the football field while doing sprints with his teammates at Orem High and went into cardiac arrest. Doctors cooled his brain and put him in a medically induced coma and prepared him for treatment that would save his life. Ben's coach, Tyler Anderson, had already completed the first part of the life-saving work by giving him immediate CPR after he passed out.
"I couldn't be happier," said Dr. David Wong, the heart rhythm specialist who treated Ben. Wong said as soon as doctors got to work, they diagnosed him with Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome (WPW)—a condition where extra fibers are present in the heart. When a person with the condition becomes overexerted, natural electrical currents make extra passes through the fibers causing the heart to go into overdrive, and then stop. "This was the most dramatic presentation of Wolff-Parkinson-White that one can image," said Wong. WPW is a common condition that can be treated if detected early. Ben's was the worst case scenario as he went into cardiac arrest.
Wong said the medical community is still very divided as to whether or not to test young athletes like Ben for WPW. The test is a non-invasive, painless EKG. Those cautious of testing every athlete argue the test could detect other subtle conditions that may not be of concern, yet lead to other tests , or discourage kids from playing sports out of fear they might have the disorder, said Wong. Wong would not give his professional opinion on administering the tests to seemingly healthy young athletes. "But as a personal opinion, if it were my family, I would (do the test)," he said.
"We feel so blessed," said Ben's parents Richard and Susan who didn't leave their son's side at the hospital. The White's said they had no clue there might be something wrong with Ben's heart before he collapsed.
They said they will test their four younger sons, who are also involved in sports, for WPW. Meantime, they are thankful for their son's recovery and the work of doctors and coaches who helped Ben.
Utah Organizations Ready To Help Oklahoma Tornado Victims
By Dan Rascon (KUTV) Utah's own federal search and rescue team is equipped and ready to head to Oklahoma--should the call come. In fact, they are now in the number one position on the phone calling list for federal teams. They are called Utah's Task Force One.
They are one of 28 federal urban search and rescue teams across the country. Utah is in the central division.
"Our main mission is to rescue people from collapsed structure,” said Bill Brass, program manager for Utah’s Task Force 1.
Brass says he was just notified that they went from third in line to first in line on the calling list. He says they are packed and ready.
“We are ready to go. We are always ready to go--that is one of the things we prepare for continuously,” said Brass. "We bring doctors, structure engineers, K-9 handlers, rescue specialist. We call those guys the knuckle draggers because they breach, break, cut, burn their way through concrete, steel, whatever it takes to get to those victims."
The task force is no small operation. The team is made up of 80 members and has $4.5 million worth of equipment, which includes four K-9s trained to find victims trapped in collapsed structures, two 53’ tractor trailers, and two 22’ box trucks.
Utah's Task Force 1 is not the only agency ready for the call. Utah Red Cross workers are also on standby.
“Often volunteers will receive the call and be on the plane in two hours,” said Teresa Zundel with Utah’s American Red Cross. "They do it because they want to help people. They want to help make a difference at a time when it makes all the difference."
The Christian Life Center Church in Layton is also hoping to make a difference. Two years ago Rev. Myke Crowder went to tornado stricken Joblin, Missouri with $40,000 in cash donations and five semi loads of supplies. He wants to do the same for Oklahoma, but this time he’ll just bring cash to hand out.
"The clothing isn’t really the need, what is a need is cash in the hands of so many people who do not have insurance to cover their losses,” said Rev. Crowder. “If we can give them some money they can decide what is important.”
In Joblin, Rev. Crowder says he broke the cash donations down into $500.00 envelopes and worked through local church leaders and agencies to find those who are in need.
When handing the envelope to people, Rev. Crowder said, “They would fall into my arms and weep, many of them saying, ‘I can't tell you what this means.’ It was overwhelming. ‘Please tell the people of Utah that I can't believe they care about me.’”
Rev. Crowder has set up a PayPal account on his church's website for those wanting to help in Oklahoma.
(CNN) -- At least 24 people -- including nine children -- were killed when a massive tornado struck an area outside Oklahoma City on Monday afternoon, officials said.
At least seven of those children were killed at Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore, Oklahoma, police said. Emergency personnel on Tuesday continued to scour the school's rubble -- a scene of twisted I-beams and crumbled cinder blocks.
The tornado was 1.3 miles wide as it moved through Moore, in the southern part of the Oklahoma City metropolitan area, the National Weather Service said. The estimated peak wind ranged from 200 to 210 mph -- which would make it an EF5, the most powerful category of tornadoes possible -- according to the agency.
-- The superintendent of schools in Joplin, Missouri -- which was struck by a tornado in 2011 -- is expected to fly to Oklahoma on Tuesday night, said Oklahoma education department spokeswoman Sherry Fair.
Joplin's C.J. Huff is set to discuss the situation in Moore with the Oklahoma education chief Janet Baresi, on Wednesday.
-- Country singer Toby Keith said his sister's house was among those hit by Monday's tornado. "She gets to keep her stuff, but her house is not livable," Keith said.
While there's no date, lineup or location set, Keith says he's gotten "500 text messages from people all over the music world" asking about a potential benefit concert.
-- Gov. Mary Fallin said the tornado was "one of (the) most horrific storms and disasters that this state has ever faced." Oklahoma "will get through this. ... We will overcome. We will rebuild. We will regain our strength," she said.
-- Officials are working on legislation for an emergency fund that would help the state's recovery.
-- Insurance claims will likely top $1 billion, Kelly Collins of the Oklahoma Insurance Commission told CNN. The cost would be higher than that from the May 3, 1999, tornado that hit the same area.
-- Moore Fire Chief Gary Bird said searchers planned to search every affected structure and vehicle three times by Tuesday night.
A few hours later, Moore Mayor Glenn Lewis told CNN that he doesn't expect the death toll will rise past 24, saying, "I think that will stand."
"We feel like we have basically gone from rescue and searching to recovery," Lewis said.
-- Mick Cornett, Oklahoma City mayor, said full electric service should be restored to the Draper Water Treatment Plant on Tuesday. Customers should eventually notice normal water pressure, he said. The storm knocked out power to the plant and authorities put the facility on generator power.
-- Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano will travel to Oklahoma on Wednesday to meet with state and local officials and "ensure that first responders are receiving the assistance they need in ongoing response and recovery efforts to the severe weather that impacted the region, " DHS announced. Napolitano also will travel to Joplin for the second anniversary of the devastating tornado that struck that community.
-- Kevin Durant, star of the NBA's Oklahoma City Thunder, pledged $1 million through his family foundation to American Red Cross disaster relief efforts in Oklahoma, the Red Cross said Tuesday.
-- The tornado tore through a 17-mile path, the National Weather Service said. The agency said survey crews indicated that the twister began 4.4 miles west of the city of Newcastle and ended 4.8 miles east of the city of Moore.
-- At least 237 people were injured, the state's Office of Emergency Management said Tuesday, citing the Health Department.
-- Oklahoma officials revised the death toll to 24, down from 51. Nine of the fatalities are children.
-- One of those is Janae Hornsby, who was among those killed at Plaza Woods Elementary School, her father told CNN's Anderson Cooper. "She was the best kid anybody could have. She was Janae," Joshua Hornsby said. "She was a ball of energy, a ball of love."
-- State Rep. Mark McBride, a Republican, said he and his family have endured tornadoes for decades but "this is the worst thing" he's ever seen.
-- President Barack Obama said he doesn't yet know the "full extent" of the damage. "We don't know both the human and economic losses that may have occurred," he said Tuesday. "Oklahoma needs to get everything it needs right away" to recover, he said.
-- New York's governor expressed his sympathy for Oklahomans in the aftermath of the "horrific tornado." "Here in New York we know firsthand the devastation and pain caused by natural disasters, and in difficult times like these we, more than ever, stand with our fellow Americans," Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday.
-- The storm system behind Monday's twister and several on Sunday is threatening a large swath of the United States on Tuesday, putting 53 million people at risk of severe weather. In the bull's-eye Tuesday are parts of north-central Texas, southeastern Oklahoma, and northern Arkansas and Louisiana, according to the National Weather Service.
-- Oklahoma first and foremost needs donations to rebuild, Fallin told CNN.
-- More than 40,000 customers remained without power Tuesday after a powerful tornado slammed the Oklahoma City region, a utility spokesman said. More than half of those customers were in the heavily damaged suburb of Moore, according to Brian Alford, a spokesman for Oklahoma Gas & Electric.
-- Moore Mayor Glenn Lewis told CNN on Tuesday the rescue effort is continuing and "we're very optimistic we might find one or two people."
-- Personnel have rescued 101 people from rubble, Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management representative Terri Watkins said Tuesday morning. Watkins cited an Oklahoma Highway Patrol tally of rescues from all agencies.
-- Some of the children killed at Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore, drowned in a basement area there, Oklahoma Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb told CNN on Tuesday morning. "My understanding, this school ... Plaza Towers, they had a basement. Quite frankly, don't mean to be graphic, but that's why some of the children drowned, because they were in the basement area," he said. Officials have said the storm killed at least seven children at the school.
-- Obama signed a disaster declaration Monday night, a White House statement said. The declaration means federal emergency aid will supplement local recovery efforts.
-- World leaders, including those in France, Germany, Pakistan and Spain, passed along their condolences. Britain's Queen Elizabeth II expressed her "deepest sympathies" to those affected and Pope Francis urged people to pray for families of those who've died, "especially those who lost young children."
-- The three high schools in the school district of Moore still will have graduation ceremonies on Saturday at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City, Superintendent Susan Pierce said Tuesday.
Utah Red Cross volunteers remain on standby and are prepared to deploy at a moment's notice. Follow Utah Red Cross on Twitter @UtahRedCross for quickest updates.
Anne Bremner Says Federal Investigation Ongoing In Susan Powell Case
By Christine McCarthy (KUTV) A day after West Valley City police announced the end of their 3.5-year active search for Susan Cox Powell, her father, Chuck Cox, and family attorney, Anne Bremner, said they are now relying on a federal investigation, in conjunction with private searches planned by private investigators.
"My daughter is missing. She's probably not coming back," Chuck Cox said at a Washington press conference on Tuesday. "We're still going to look for her until we find her."
The U.S. Attorney's Offices in Utah and Washington said federal agents in both states are not involved in the investigation. Bremner said she can't yet disclose which agency is investigating, but that the Utah and Washington offices might not be aware of the investigation she has recently learned of.
"We don't know where Susan is, and we don't know what happened, so I think it's important that we keep this alive," Bremner said.
Susan vanished in December 2009. Her husband, Josh Powell, told officers he had taken the couple's boys, Charlie and Braden, on a camping trip at a time when it was snowing.
Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said West Valley City police were "very committed and very diligent," working to file criminal charges against Josh. Deputy Chief Mike Powell (no relation) said there was no body, no crime scene and not enough evidence to do so.
After losing custody of his sons last year, Josh killed himself and the boys, burning down their Washington rental home. Chuck Cox said Tuesday the agency didn't do enough.
"I personally believe they came to the wrong conclusion on circumstantial evidence," Chuck Cox said, "I think there was plenty."
Photos released among 30,000 pages of documents unsealed by police on Monday reveal a number of tools and disposable gloves found in a minivan and small spots of Susan's blood on a couch in Josh and Susan's front room.
"Circumstantial evidence is as valid as direct evidence," Bremner said.
Susan's family now expects federal investigators to zero in on Josh's father, Steven Powell, who is in prison on a voyeurism conviction.
"Steven had journals that were taken in the search, and there were some that dealt with what he knew or said about Josh's involvement in Susan's disappearance," Bremner said.
Chuck Cox also expressed shock that Josh's brother, Michael Powell, became West Valley detectives' primary focus of their investigation after Josh died.
Police say Michael abandoned his car in Oregon the same month Susan disappeared. Cadaver dogs detected a scent on that car in a junkyard, when police found those records 18 months later, but DNA found in the trunk was not matched to Susan. Michael committed suicide in February 2013.
"It's clear that he was deeply involved in this, and it's a shock," Chuck Cox said. "And what caused him to commit suicide? Remorse, guilt, or the fact that the police were closing in?"
Bremner said volunteers are ready to join private searches. They hope not only to find Susan but to raise awareness about domestic violence and to help others through foundations in Susan, Charlie and Braden's names.
"This family won't quit, because they just can't," Bremner said.
By Ladd Egan (KUTV) A Southern Utah lunch lady known for dancing around the cafeteria is being recognized nationally for her creative approach to improving school nutrition.
Pam Johnson, nutrition manager for Hurricane’s middle and high schools, is the recipient of the Louise Sublette Award of Leadership Excellence in School Nutrition for the U.S. West Region.
“She definitely deserves this award,” said Jan Goodwin, assistant principal at Hurricane Middle School. “I think there are probably more smiles per minute in this lunchroom than anywhere else in the world.”
The award, from the School Nutrition Association, is given to school food managers who grow their nutrition program through special ideas and creativity.
“She is totally amazing,” said Becky Johnson, lunch clerk at the middle school. “The lines go quick; they are excited to come eat.”
Pam Johnson’s work to start a breakfast program at Hurricane High School this year is part of the reason she won the award.
“She fought for the kids,” Becky Johnson said of her boss. “She fought for those who struggle financially so that they can have good, healthy meals.”
While she manages meals at both schools, Pam Johnson’s home base is at the middle school, where she’s worked since the day it opened 23 years ago.
“Some of the students here, I fed their parents,” she said laughing. “I hope that I’m retired before I feed their grandkids.”
Johnson works daily to get students to eat healthy, asking them to put apples, oranges or kiwis on their plates.
“First of the year, it was a struggle,” she said of getting the students to eat fruits and vegetables. “Now we can’t put enough out there.”
“She really encourages us to eat well,” said 9th grader Angel Bulloch. “Really, it’s just how nice she is; she just mentions it, ‘hey, grab an apple,’ and we’re just like ‘alright we’ll grab an apple.’”
Part of her creative approach to nutrition is developing relationships with the students, sometimes through dancing as she leads impromptu conga lines around the lunch tables.
“I’ve never seen a lunch lady do that,” said Josh Nielson, 9th grade. “She’s just always out dancing.”
Neilson said he was surprised one day when he casually challenged Johnson to a dance-off in the middle of the cafeteria.
“I thought she’d be like, ‘what is that kid doing on the ground?’” Neilson said. “But then I look over and she’s on the ground next to me spinning around.”
Johnson says the dancing gets students talking, which allows her to talk to them and encourage healthy eating.
“You won’t believe some of the children that actually get up and dance with us,” she said. “If they have a problem, they feel like they can come and talk with us.”
Even though she’s cooked meals for two generations of students, Johnson says she’s enjoyed every minute of it.
“I love these kids,” Johnson said. “I don’t go to work. I go to play.”