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Josh Powell's last act 'just evil,' West Valley police chief says
Susan Powell
(Rick Egan   |  Tribune file photo)  

Judy and Chuck Cox, mother and father of Susan Powell, hold a photo of Susan Powell, that has been signed by supporters, during an interview in their home in Puyallup, Washington,  Wednesday, November 3, 2010.
(Rick Egan   |  Tribune file photo)  

Joshua Powell plays with his son Braden, in a park near his home, in Puyallup, Washington,  Friday, August 19, 2011
(Rick Egan  | Tribune file photo)  
Josh Powell thumbs through documents in September during a custody hearing at the Pierce County Superior Courthouse, in Tacoma, Wash.
Flames pour from the home of Josh Powell after the Sunday afternoon explosion. Josh Starkey photo via KOMO News
A Pierce County Sheriff's deputy and Graham firefighters work around the smoldering remains of a house near Fredrickson, Wash., Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012, where, according to a sheriff's spokesman, three bodies were were found. The bodies are believed to be Josh Powell and his two sons. The explosion occurred moments after a Child Protective Services worker brought the two boys to the home for a supervised visit. (AP Photo/The News Tribune, Peter Haley)
Josh Powell's house burns to the ground after an explosion killed him and his two sons.

photos courtesy
Josh Powell's house burns to the ground after an explosion killed him and his two sons.

photos courtesy
Josh Powell's house burns to the ground after an explosion killed him and his two sons.

photos courtesy
(Kim Raff |The Salt Lake Tribune)  
Kirk Graves, Josh Powell's brother in law give an interview outside of Josh's sister's home in West Jordan, Utah on February 5, 2012.
(Kim Raff |The Salt Lake Tribune)  
Kirk Graves, Josh Powell's brother in law give an interview outside of Josh's sister's home in West Jordan, Utah on February 5, 2012.
(Kim Raff |The Salt Lake Tribune)  
Kirk Graves, Josh Powell's brother in law give an interview outside of Josh's sister's home in West Jordan, Utah on February 5, 2012.
(Kim Raff |The Salt Lake Tribune)  
Kirk Graves, Josh Powell's brother in law give an interview outside of Josh's sister's home in West Jordan, Utah on February 5, 2012.
(Kim Raff |The Salt Lake Tribune)  
Kirk Graves, Josh Powell's brother in law give an interview outside of Josh's sister's home in West Jordan, Utah on February 5, 2012.
(Kim Raff |The Salt Lake Tribune)  
Kirk Graves, Josh Powell's brother in law give an interview outside of Josh's sister's home in West Jordan, Utah on February 5, 2012.
Pierce County Sheriff's deputies and Graham Firefighters work around the smoldering remains of a house near Fredrickson, Wash., Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012, where, according to a sheriff's spokesman, the bodies of Josh Powell and his two sons were found. The explosion occurred moments after a Child Protective Services worker brought the two boys to the home for a supervised visit. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)
Pierce County Sheriff's deputies and Graham Firefighters work around the smoldering remains of a house near Fredrickson, Wash., Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012, where, according to a sheriff's spokesman, three bodies were were found. The bodies are believed to be Josh Powell and his two sons. The explosion occurred moments after a Child Protective Services worker brought the two boys to the home for a supervised visit. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)
Pierce County Sheriff's deputies and Graham Firefighters work around the smoldering remains of a house near Fredrickson, Wash., Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012, where, according to a sheriff's spokesman, three bodies were were found. The bodies are believed to be Josh Powell and his two sons. The explosion occurred moments after a Child Protective Services worker brought the two boys to the home for a supervised visit. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)
A firefighter looks into the house where the bodies of Josh Powell and his two young sons were found after the home exploded Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012 near Fredrickson, Wash. Days after a judge ruled against him in a child custody hearing, Powell and his sons were killed when police said he appeared to intentionally blow up the house with all three inside ó a tragic ending to a bizarre case that began more than two years ago when the man's wife went mysteriously missing in Utah. (AP Photo/seattlepi.com, Joshua Trujillo)  MAGS OUT; NO SALES; SEATTLE TIMES OUT; TV OUT; MANDATORY CREDIT
Shown is what remains of a house near Fredrickson, Wash., Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012, where, according to a sheriff's spokesman, three bodies believed to be Josh Powell and his two sons were found. The explosion occurred moments after a Child Protective Services worker brought the two boys to the home for a supervised visit. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)
Firefighters spray water on a house near Fredrickson, Wash., Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012, where, according to a sheriff's spokesman, the bodies believed to be Josh Powell and his two sons were found. Days after a judge ruled against him in a child custody hearing, Powell and his sons were killed when police said he appeared to intentionally blow up the house with all three inside ó a tragic ending to a bizarre case that began more than two years ago when the man's wife went mysteriously missing in Utah. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)
Eliana and her mother Jennifer Bakley hug while Melissa Phillips look over the smoldering remains of a house near Fredrickson, Wash., Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012, where, according to a sheriff's spokesman, three bodies were were found. The bodies are believed to be Josh Powell and his two sons. The explosion occurred moments after a Child Protective Services worker brought the two boys to the home for a supervised visit. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)
Pierce County Sheriff Paul Pastor speaks to the news media with detective Ed Troyer behind him, in front of the smoldering remains of a house near Fredrickson, Wash., Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012, where, according to a sheriff's spokesman, three bodies were were found. The bodies are believed to be Josh Powell and his two sons. The explosion occurred moments after a Child Protective Services worker brought the two boys to the home for a supervised visit. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)
Pierce County Sheriff Paul Pastor left and detective Ed Troyer walk toward the smoldering remains of a house near Fredrickson, Wash., Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012, where, according to a sheriff's spokesman, three bodies were were found. The bodies are believed to be Josh Powell and his two sons. The explosion occurred moments after a Child Protective Services worker brought the two boys to the home for a supervised visit. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)
In this undated photo, Susan Powell plays with her sons, Charlie and Braden died Feb. 5, 2012, when their father, Josh Powell, hit them with a hatchet and set fire to his home in Graham, Wash. Josh Powell, 36, died, too. File photo.
(Kim Raff |The Salt Lake Tribune)  
Susan Powell with her son Braden.
(Kim Raff |The Salt Lake Tribune)  
Susan and Josh Powell with son Charlie.
The smoldering remains of a house, left, where an explosion killed Josh Powell and his two sons, Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012, is shown from the air in Graham, Wash. The explosion occurred moments after a Child Protective Services worker brought the two boys to the home for a supervised visit. Powell's wife Susan went reportedly missing from their West Valley City, Utah, home in December 2009. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
The smoldering remains of a house, left, where an explosion killed Josh Powell and his two sons, Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012, is shown from the air in Graham, Wash. The explosion occurred moments after a Child Protective Services worker brought the two boys to the home for a supervised visit. Powell's wife Susan went reportedly missing from their West Valley City, Utah, home in December 2009. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
The smoldering remains of a house, left, where an explosion killed Josh Powell and his two sons, Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012, is shown from the air in Graham, Wash. The explosion occurred moments after a Child Protective Services worker brought the two boys to the home for a supervised visit. Powell's wife Susan went reportedly missing from their West Valley City, Utah, home in December 2009. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Ed Troyer, public information officer for Pierce County Sheriff's Department, speaks near the smoldering remains of a house near Fredrickson, Wash., Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012, where, according to a sheriff's spokesman, three bodies were were found. The bodies are believed to be Josh Powell and his two sons. The explosion occurred moments after a Child Protective Services worker brought the two boys to the home for a supervised visit. (AP Photo/The Seattle Times, Erika Schultz) MAGS OUT; SEATTLEPI.COM OUT; MANDATORY CREDIT
The smoldering remains of a house, left, where an explosion killed Josh Powell and his two sons, Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012, is shown from the air in Graham, Wash. The explosion occurred moments after a Child Protective Services worker brought the two boys to the home for a supervised visit. Powell's wife Susan went reportedly missing from their West Valley City, Utah, home in December 2009. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Pierce County Sheriff's deputies and Graham Firefighters work around the smoldering remains of a house near Fredrickson, Wash., Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012, where, according to a sheriff's spokesman, three bodies were were found. The bodies are believed to be Josh Powell and his two sons. The explosion occurred moments after a Child Protective Services worker brought the two boys to the home for a supervised visit. (AP Photo/The Seattle Times, Erika Schultz) MAGS OUT; SEATTLEPI.COM OUT; MANDATORY CREDIT
(Chris Detrick  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  
A picture of Susan Powell and her two boys at her father's home in Puyallup, Washington Friday December 18, 2009.
Officers work near the smoldering remains of a house near Fredrickson, Wash., Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012, where, according to a sheriff's spokesman, three bodies were were found. The bodies are believed to be Josh Powell and his two sons. The explosion occurred moments after a Child Protective Services worker brought the two boys to the home for a supervised visit. (AP Photo/The Seattle Times, Erika Schultz) MAGS OUT; SEATTLEPI.COM OUT; MANDATORY CREDIT
Pierce County Sheriff's deputies and Graham Firefighters work around the smoldering remains of a house near Fredrickson, Wash., Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012, where, according to a sheriff's spokesman, three bodies were were found. The bodies are believed to be Josh Powell and his two sons. The explosion occurred moments after a Child Protective Services worker brought the two boys to the home for a supervised visit. (AP Photo/The Seattle Times, Erika Schultz) MAGS OUT; SEATTLEPI.COM OUT; MANDATORY CREDIT
The smoldering remains of a house, left, where an explosion killed Josh Powell and his two sons, Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012, is shown from the air in Graham, Wash. The explosion occurred moments after a Child Protective Services worker brought the two boys to the home for a supervised visit. Powell's wife Susan went reportedly missing from their West Valley City home in December 2009. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
The smoldering remains of a house, left, where an explosion killed Josh Powell and his two sons, Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012, is shown from the air in Graham, Wash. The explosion occurred moments after a Child Protective Services worker brought the two boys to the home for a supervised visit. Powell's wife Susan went reportedly missing from their West Valley City, Utah, home in December 2009. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
The smoldering remains of a house, left, where an explosion killed Josh Powell and his two sons, Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012, is shown from the air in Graham, Wash. The explosion occurred moments after a Child Protective Services worker brought the two boys to the home for a supervised visit. Powell's wife Susan went reportedly missing from their West Valley City, Utah, home in December 2009. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Officials remove the third of three bodies from the smoldering remains of a house near Fredrickson, Wash., Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012.  The bodies are believed to be Josh Powell and his two sons. The explosion occurred moments after a Child Protective Services worker brought the two boys to the home for a supervised visit. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)
Officials remove the second of three bodies from the smoldering remains of a house near Fredrickson, Wash., Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012.  The bodies are believed to be Josh Powell and his two sons. The explosion occurred moments after a Child Protective Services worker brought the two boys to the home for a supervised visit. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)
Officials remove the first of three bodies from the smoldering remains of a house near Fredrickson, Wash., Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012.  The bodies are believed to be Josh Powell and his two sons. The explosion occurred moments after a Child Protective Services worker brought the two boys to the home for a supervised visit. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)
A medical examiner van caring two of three found bodies drives away from the smoldering remains of the home where Josh Powell, husband and father of two children of missing Utah woman Susan Cox Powell, lived Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012. The house exploded moments after a Child Protective Services worker brought the two boys to the home for a supervised visit. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)
Officials remove the third of three bodies from the smoldering remains of a house near Fredrickson, Wash., Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012.  The bodies are believed to be Josh Powell and his two sons. The explosion occurred moments after a Child Protective Services worker brought the two boys to the home for a supervised visit. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)
An officer stands in the moonlight near the smoldering remains of a house near Fredrickson, Wash., Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012, where three bodies were found.  The bodies are believed to be Josh Powell and his two sons. The explosion occurred moments after a Child Protective Services worker brought the two boys to the home for a supervised visit. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)
(Kim Raff  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  
Cheyenne Miller and daughter Brooklyn Miller attend a vigil she organized for the Powell family after the fire at Josh Powell's house that killed him and his two sons, Charlie and Braden. The vigil was held at Oquirrh Hills Elementary in Kearns.
(Kim Raff  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  
Cheyenne Miller, left, stands with her daughter Brooklyn Miller at a vigil Sunday she organized for the Powell family after the fire at Josh Powell's house that killed him and his sons, Charlie and Braden.
(Kim Raff  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  
Shayanna Smith and Stormee Ryan become emotional at a vigil for the Powell family at Oquirrh Hills Elementary in Kearns on Sunday.
(Kim Raff  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  
West Valley City Mayor Mike Winder at a vigil Sunday in Kearns for the Powell family after the fire at Josh Powell's house that killed him and his two sons, Charlie and Braden.
(Kim Raff  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  
Mathew Owings, left, stands with his mother, JoVanna Owings, at a vigil for the Powell family after the fire at Josh Powell's house that killed him and his two sons, Charlie and Braden. The vigil was at Oquirrh Hills Elementary in Kearns on Sunday. JoVanna Owings was a friend to Susan Powell and was the last person she talked to before she disappeared in 2009.
(Kim Raff |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  
Kiirsi Hellewell at a vigil Sunday in Kearns for the Powell family.
(Kim Raff | The Salt Lake Tribune)  
Purple ribbons hang in remembrance of Susan Powell outside the house of Kiirsi Hellewell in West Jordan on Sunday. Hellewell is a close friend of Susan Powell.
(Kim Raff  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  
Kiirsi Hellewell at a vigil Sunday in Kearns for the Powell family after the fire at Josh Powell's house that killed himself and his two sons, Charlie and Braden.
(Kim Raff |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  
Kiirsi Hellewell talks Sunday about the death of Josh Powell and his two sons, Charlie and Braden. Hellewell is a close friend of Susan Powell.
(Kim Raff  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  
People attend the vigil in Kearns Sunday for the Powell family after the fire that killed Josh Powell and his two sons, Charlie and Braden, in Washington state.
(Kim Raff  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  
Kiirsi Hellewell talks about the fire that killed Josh Powell and his two sons, Charlie and Braden, in her home in West Jordan on Sunday. Hellewell is a close friend of Susan Powell.
(Kim Raff  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  
Kiirsi Hellewell makes a statement to the gathering at a vigil in Kearns Sunday for the Powell family after the fire at Josh Powell's house that killed him and his two sons, Charlie and Braden.
(Kim Raff  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  
Kiirsi Hellewell makes a statement to the gathering at a vigil for the Powell family at Oquirrh Hills Elementary in Kearns on Sunday. Hellewell was a close friend of Susan Powell and had spearheaded efforts to find Susan, who went missing in December 2009.
(Kim Raff  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  
Tonya McMullin becomes emotional at a vigil for the Powell family at Oquirrh Hills Elementary in Kearns on Sunday night.
(Kim Raff  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  
Kaari Gale becomes emotional while standing with her sons  Joshua, left, and Ethan Gale at a vigil for the Powell family at Oquirrh Hills Elementary in Kearns on Sunday. Kaari's sister is Kiirsi Hellewell, who is a close friend of Susan Powell. Her two sons were the same age as Powell's sons, who died at the hands of their father earlier in the day.
(Rick Egan  | The Salt Lake Tribune)   

A former class mate of Charlie Powell is comforted by his mother at a memorial at Carson Elementary School in Puyallup Washington, Sunday, February 5, 2012.
(Rick Egan  | The Salt Lake Tribune)   
A former classmate of Charlie Powell is comforted by his mother at a memorial at Carson Elementary School in Puyallup, Wash., Sunday.
Denise Cox, right, the sister of missing Utah mom Susan Cox Powell, is comforted by her fiance, Andrew Olsen, as she kneels at a makeshift memorial for Powell's sons, Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012, at Carson Elementary School in Puyallup, Wash., where the boys attended school. Police said that the two boys and their father, Josh Powell, were killed when Powell apparently blew up a house with all three of them inside Sunday afternoon. Powell's wife Susan went mysteriously missing from their West Valley City, Utah, home in December 2009. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
People attend a candle-light vigil for the two sons of Josh Powell and Susan Cox Powell, Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012, at Carson Elementary School in Puyallup, Wash., where the boys attended school. Authorities said the two boys and their father, Josh Powell, set fire to his home, with all three of them inside Sunday afternoon. Powell's wife Susan went mysteriously missing from their West Valley City, Utah, home in December 2009. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
David Oum and his son Cameron, 8,  attend a candle-light vigil for the two sons of Josh Powell and Susan Cox, Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012, at Carson Elementary School in Puyallup, Wash., where the boys attended school. Police said that the two boys and their father, Josh Powell, were killed when Powell, police say, ignited up a house with all three of them inside Sunday afternoon. Powell's wife Susan went mysteriously missing from their West Valley City, Utah, home in December 2009. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Mourners attend a candle-light vigil for the two sons of Josh Powell and Susan Cox, Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012, at Carson Elementary School in Puyallup, Wash., where the boys attended school. Police said that the two boys and their father, Josh Powell, were killed when Powell, police say, ignited up a house with all three of them inside Sunday afternoon. Powell's wife Susan went mysteriously missing from their West Valley City, Utah, home in December 2009. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
This pool photo provided by the Pierce Co. Sheriff's Dept. shows the charred remains of the home of Josh Powell, husband of missing Utah woman Susan Powell, Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012 near Frederickson, Wash. Days after a judge ruled against him in a child custody hearing, Powell and his sons were killed when police said he blew up the house with all three inside — a tragic ending to a bizarre case that began more than two years ago when the man's wife went mysteriously missing in Utah. (AP Photo/Ed Troyer, Pierce County Sheriff's Dept., Pool)
In this pool photo provided by the Pierce Co. Sheriff's Dept., firefighters work among the charred remains of the home of Josh Powell, husband of missing Utah woman Susan Powell, Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012 near Frederickson, Wash. Days after a judge ruled against him in a child custody hearing, Powell and his sons were killed when police said he appeared to intentionally blow up the house with all three inside ó a tragic ending to a bizarre case that began more than two years ago when the man's wife went mysteriously missing in Utah. (AP Photo/Ed Troyer, Pierce County Sheriff's Dept., Pool)
This pool photo provided by the Pierce Co. Sheriff's Dept. shows the charred remains of the home of Josh Powell, husband of missing Utah woman Susan Powell, Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012 near Frederickson, Wash. Days after a judge ruled against him in a child custody hearing, Powell and his sons were killed when police said he appeared to intentionally blow up the house with all three inside ó a tragic ending to a bizarre case that began more than two years ago when the man's wife went mysteriously missing in Utah. (AP Photo/Ed Troyer, Pierce County Sheriff's Dept., Pool)
Denise Cox, right, the sister of missing Utah mom Susan Cox Powell, is comforted by her fiance, Andrew Olsen, as she kneels at a makeshift memorial for Powell's sons, Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012, at Carson Elementary School in Puyallup, Wash., where the boys attended school. Police said that the two boys and their father, Josh Powell, were killed when Powell apparently blew up a house with all three of them inside Sunday afternoon. Powell's wife Susan went mysteriously missing from their West Valley City, Utah, home in December 2009. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
(Rick Egan  | The Salt Lake Tribune)   

Friends and neighbors of Charlie and Braden Powell light candles and leave balloons, and stuffed animals at a memorial at Carson Elementary School in Puyallup,  Washington, Sunday, February 5, 2012.
(Rick Egan  | The Salt Lake Tribune)   

Friends and neighbors of Charlie and Braden Powell stopped by the memorial at Carson Elementary School in Puyallup,  Washington, to leave balloons, and stuffed animals and light candles, Sunday, February 5, 2012.
(Rick Egan  | The Salt Lake Tribune)   

Friends and neighbors of Charlie and Braden Powell left notes at a memorial in front of Carson Elementary School in Puyallup, Wash., Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012. On Feb. 5, days after a Washington state judge ruled against him in a child custody hearing, Josh Powell and his two young sons were killed when police said he blew up the house with all three inside, a tragic ending to a bizarre case that began more than two years ago when the man's wife went missing in Utah.
(Rick Egan  | The Salt Lake Tribune)   

Friends and neighbors of Charlie and Braden Powell left notes, balloons, and stuffed animals at the memorial at Carson Elementary School in Puyallup,  Washington, Sunday, February 5, 2012.
(Rick Egan  | The Salt Lake Tribune)   



Puyallup residents, Tracy Jamison (left) and Trisha Edling (right) light candles at a memorial at Carson Elementary School in Puyallup Washington, Sunday, February 5, 2012.
(Rick Egan  | The Salt Lake Tribune)   

Denise Cox, sister of Susan Powell, wipes a tear from her eye, as she talks about Charlie and Braden, at the memorial at Carson Elementary School in Puyallup,  Washington, Sunday, February 5, 2012.
(Rick Egan  | The Salt Lake Tribune)   

Chuck Cox, father of Susan Powell, talks about Charlie and Braden, as he looks at the toys they used to play with in his home in Puyallup, Washington, Saturday, February 6, 2012.
(Rick Egan  | The Salt Lake Tribune)   

Chuck Cox, father of Susan Powell, looks through Charlie and Braden's toy box, in the room where they used to play, in his home in Puyallup, Washington, Saturday, February 6, 2012.
(Rick Egan  | The Salt Lake Tribune)   

Chuck Cox, father of Susan Powell, looks through Charlie and Braden's toy box, in the room where they used to play, in his home in Puyallup, Washington, Saturday, February 6, 2012.
(Kim Raff |The Salt Lake Tribune)  
(left) Mathew (cq) Owings stands with his mother JoVonna (cq) Owings at a vigil for the Powell family after the explosion at Josh Powells house that kill himself and his two sons, Charlie and Braden, at Oquirrh Hills Elementary in Kearns, Utah on February 5, 2012. JoVonna Owings was a friend to Susan Powell and was the last person she talked to before she disappeared.
(Kim Raff |The Salt Lake Tribune)  
Kiirsi Hellewell gives and interview in response to the explosion that kill Josh Powell and his two sons Charlie and Braden in her home in West Jordan, Utah on February 5, 2012. Hellewell is a close friend of Susan Powell.
Pierce County Sheriff's deputies and Graham Firefighters work around the smoldering remains of a house near Fredrickson, Wash., Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012, where, according to a sheriff's spokesman, three bodies were were found. The bodies are believed to be Josh Powell and his two sons. The explosion occurred moments after a Child Protective Services worker brought the two boys to the home for a supervised visit. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)
Pierce County Sheriff's deputies and Graham Firefighters work around the smoldering remains of a house near Fredrickson, Wash., Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012, where, according to a sheriff's spokesman, three bodies were were found. The bodies are believed to be Josh Powell and his two sons. The explosion occurred moments after a Child Protective Services worker brought the two boys to the home for a supervised visit. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)
Pierce County Sheriff's deputies and Graham firefighters work around the smoldering remains of a house near Fredrickson, Wash., Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012, where the bodies of Josh Powell and his two sons were found. The explosion occurred moments after a Child Protective Services worker brought the two boys to the home for a supervised visit. (AP Photo/The Seattle Times, Erika Schultz)
The smoldering remains of a house, left, where an explosion killed Josh Powell and his two sons, Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012, is shown from the air in Graham, Wash. The explosion occurred moments after a Child Protective Services worker brought the two boys to the home for a supervised visit. Powell's wife, Susan, went missing from their West Valley City, Utah, home in Dec. 2009. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Graham, Wash. • A beleaguered Josh Powell — under suspicion for the 2009 disappearance of his wife and fighting an uphill battle for custody of his two young boys — killed himself and his sons on Sunday by setting fire to his Washington state home, officials said.

Calling it a "double murder/suicide," authorities said late Sunday the blaze that leveled Powell’s Graham home was "very well-planned" and was fueled by accelerants spread throughout the residence.

"Everything that happened was intentional," said Ed Troyer of the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office.

The fire broke out about 12:30 p.m., Washington time, just moments after a social worker had arrived with the boys — 7-year-old Charlie and 5-year-old Braden — for a supervised visit with their father.

When the boys entered the home, Josh Powell locked out the social worker, who pounded on the door and a window, then tried to call Josh Powell’s cell phone, Troyer said.

Story continues below

The house "lit up" about three minutes after the social worker was locked out, and it burned with a ferocity that prompted witnesses to believe the home had exploded, Troyer said. The social worker — who was not physically injured — called 911, then went to a neighbor’s home, Troyer said.

The three bodies were later found in the same room in the middle of the home, Troyer said.

Josh Powell’s death could mean that the disappearance of his 28-year-old wife Susan Powell from their West Valley City home in December 2009 will never be solved.

West Valley City Police Chief Thayle "Buzz" Nielsen, in an interview with KUTV 2, struggled to find words for the horror of what happened.

"This was just evil, this was a terrible thing," he said. "He wiped out the whole family. So selfish. Our guys are struggling through this. I don’t know, it hasn’t hit us yet."

Nielsen said he and other members of the department will be going to Washington for a strategy session with sheriff’s officers there.

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At a glance

More video:

Home video of the fire

http://bit.ly/yQn6AH

Aerial images of the home

http://bit.ly/weS5zW

Family reaction

http://bit.ly/yUoiYi

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