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Powell wasn't really living in home he burned down, police say
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Detectives don't believe Josh Powell was living in the home he destroyed, they said while disclosing other details of how they believe Powell murdered his sons.

Pierce County Sheriff's Detective Ed Troyer on Tuesday said it appears Powell was actually residing at the home of his father, Steve Powell, in Puyallup, Wash. The rented home in Graham, Wash., that Powell burned down with himself and his sons inside he only used during the supervised visits with Charlie 7, and Braden, 5.

"There was hardly anything there," Troyer said. "Just some pictures on the wall. The neighbors had not seen him in three months."

Troyer also clarified that a testament recovered at a recycling facility with Powell's name on it appeared to be a standard LDS Church text. A map of Utah found with the testament had no markings, Troyer said.

Detectives also believe the boys were unconscious when Powell ignited gasoline in the home, Troyer said. Soot was found in the boys' windpipes, indicating they were still breathing when the blaze began. Troyer said police believe Powell used a hatchet on the children and then poured the gasoline that he ignited, prompting an explosion.

Powell was the only person of interest in the 2009 disappearance of his wife, Susan Cox Powell. She was last seen at the couple's then-home in West Valley City, Utah.

Last year, Powell lost custody of Charlie and Braden after police arrested Steve Powell on suspicion of photographing neighborhood children through their windows while they were in various states of undress.

Powell withdrew $6,500 and left instructions for his sister to pay bills and give the rest to his attorney. He also told her how to turn off the utilities at the rental house, Troyer confirmed Tuesday. At a family storage unit, police found gas cans and large amounts of food. Josh and Steve Powell previously attended the Mormon church, whose followers are taught to store a large supply of food.

ncarlisle@sltrib.com

More online

O The Tacoma News Tribune reported on a community meeting Monday where developments in the case were discussed. Read the article at http://bit.ly/x2ed3q.

Crime • A church document and a Utah map found at a recycling center haven't yielded clues.
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