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Tag: Susan Cox Powell


Closure denied in the vanishing of Susan Powell

Susan Cox Powell disappeared in 2009. (Family photo)
Susan Cox Powell disappeared in 2009. (Family photo)

This editorial will appear in Thursday’s print edition.

Three-and-a-half years after it started, the most heart-wrenching missing person investigation in Pierce County’s history may have come to an end. And Susan Cox Powell’s remains have yet to be found.

The Puyallup mother’s mysterious disappearance in December 2009 was the beginning of a slowly unfolding horror show. The unimaginable climax followed a year ago February, when her husband, Josh, hatcheted and burned their two boys to death in a Graham-area rental house.

Josh Powell was the prime suspect all along, according to records just released by the Police Department in West Valley City, Utah. Susan disappeared in West Valley, and its detectives spent years searching for her body before finally calling it quits and closing the investigation Monday.

The released records held some surprises. Read more »


Revisit the mandate that abetted Josh Powell

This editorial will appear in Sunday’s print edition.

Three words helped Josh Powell kill his two young boys five months ago: “least restrictive setting.”

The state Children’s Administration on Thursday released an internal review of its attempts to protect Charlie and Braden Powell, who ultimately died with their father in a gasoline fire he ignited in a Graham-area house.

On the whole, the social workers assigned to look after the 7- and 5-year-old come off looking good. They were alert to the possibility that Josh – a “person of interest” in the disappearance of his wife – would abuse his sons.

Josh had been living with the boys in the house of his own father, Steven. When investigators discovered in September that the elder Powell kept a large trove of pornography in the house, the Children’s Administration pounced and plucked Charlie and Braden out. The agency continued to track them closely right up to the moment their father killed them; Josh had to lock a supervisor out of the house before he set it on fire.

Josh knew how to play a rule-bound agency. He put on a grand show of doting on his boys. Caseworkers need hard evidence to separate children from parents, and this father knew how to make evidence invisible.
Read more »