Atlanta 2/7/2012 12:45:40 AM
News / Law

Police: Josh Powell Kills Self, Two Sons In “Intentional” Explosion

Washington state police believe Josh Powell, the Utah man suspected in the 2009 disappearance of his wife Susan Cox Powell, killed himself and his two young sons in an explosion at his Puyallup home on Sunday. Pierce County Sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer says Powell appears to have planned the explosion carefully.

"This was something that was done deliberately and intentionally, and the plan was carried out very quickly," Troyer said.

Powell lost custody of his sons Charlie, 7, and Braden, 5, last September after police discovered child pornography in the home he shared with his father Steve. Steve Powell was arrested and charged with 14 counts of voyeurism and one count of possessing child pornography. Susan Cox’s parents, Judith and Charles Cox, gained custody of Charlie and Braden.  

Authorities believe Powell’s failed bid last week to regain custody of his sons is what led him to murder-suicide. He waited outside his home Sunday for a social worker to bring Charlie and Braden for a supervised visit. At the door, Powell shoved the social worker back, pulled his sons inside the house, and locked the door. Several minutes later an explosion occurred and engulfed the house in flames. Authorities found three bodies inside. A medical examiner is still working to confirm the remains are those of Powell and his sons.

Before the explosion, Powell sent a brief e-mail to his attorney, Jeffrey Basset. It read: “I’m sorry, goodbye.”

Susan Cox Powell disappeared on December 6, 2009 from West Valley City, Utah. Josh claimed he and his sons were on an overnight camping trip when Susan went missing.


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