Bonus Ep: Marshal Misdirection

U.S. Marshal Derryl Spencer played a unique role in the search for Susan Cox Powell. During 2010 and 2011, Derryl interfaced with Josh Powell and members of his family numerous times. He worked to build rapport with the Powells, playing the “good cop” to the West Valley City police department’s “bad cop.”

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U.S. Marshal Derryl Spencer spoke to Cold in 2019 about his role in the search for Susan Cox Powell. As a marshal, Derryl’s role was not the same as other members of law enforcement. Photo: KSL TV

Derryl shared his recollections from the Susan Powell investigation for this bonus episode of the Cold podcast. He talked about his frustration over prosecutors refusing to charge Josh Powell and the feelings he was left with after Josh murdered Susan’s sons.

“It was so frustrating because I felt like we had enough evidence. Let’s get him into custody, let’s solve this problem and let’s finish building the case from there,” Derryl said. “And I just didn’t feel like the district attorney’s office was supportive of that.”

Derryl also played a key part in police efforts to obtain Susan Cox Powell’s childhood journals from Josh and Steve Powell. He on multiple occasions attempted to negotiate a trade with the Powells, offering a return of evidence in exchange for the journals.

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Steve Powell sat for an interview with U.S. Marshal Derryl Spencer in Puyallup, Washington on July 7, 2010. The marshal wore a hidden camera to the meeting. Photo: Josh Powell

“Steve soon became the proxy. He wanted to communicate with me instead of Josh,” Derryl said. “Steve was extremely fascinating to talk to. … I always felt dark and like I needed shower after getting off the phone with him.”

Hear about U.S. Marshal Derryl Spencer’s hidden camera recording of Steve Powell in a bonus episode of Cold: Marshal Misdirection

Episode credits
Research, writing, hosting and production: Dave Cawley
Production assistance: Danielle Prager, Adam Mason
Additional voices: Kristen Sorensen (as Susan Powell), Eric Openshaw (as Josh Powell), Ken Fall (as Steve Powell)
Cold main score composition: Michael Bahnmiller
Cold main score mixing: Dan Blanck
Supplemental music: Dave Cawley
KSL executive producers: Sheryl Worsley, Keira Farrimond
Episode transcript:
KSL companion story: