Josh Powell will not be buried near his sons, his family says
Josh Powell's mother announced Thursday that he won't be buried in the same cemetery where the two sons he murdered have been laid to rest.
"We have tried so hard to be loving and considerate and respectful in making Josh's burial arrangements," wrote Terri Powell. "We love our little Charlie and Braden and want their resting place to be a place of peace and comfort.
"We have made the determination that Josh will not be buried at Woodbine Cemetery [in Puyallup, Wash.], but are in the process of making other arrangements.
"Thank you to all who have so lovingly supported us in this time of inexpressible anguish. Our hearts go out to all of you who like us are reeling with shock and grief," Terri Powell wrote.
The Powell family's decision comes a day after public furor erupted over the possibility that Josh Powell would be interred next to Charlie, 7, and Braden, 5.
Powell killed himself and his sons on Feb. 5 after the boys were dropped off at his home in Graham, Wash., for a routine supervised visit. Powell shut the door to the home after Charlie and Braden entered, locking out a case worker who was to oversee their four-hour visit. He struck the boys with a hatchet and then set fire to gasoline spread throughout the home.
In a voicemail left with family minutes before the explosive fire, Powell said he was "not able to live without my sons and I'm not able to go on anymore. I'm sorry to everyone I've hurt. Goodbye."
Powell was the primary "person of interest" in the police investigation into Susan Powell's disappearance from their home in West Valley City in December 2009. He and his sons moved to Washington in January 2010, initially living with Steve Powell, his father. The boys were placed in the temporary custody of Chuck and Judy Cox, parents of their missing mother, after Steve Powell's arrest in September on charges related to voyeurism and possession of child pornography.
Powell carried out the murder-suicide four days after a Pierce County Superior Court judge delayed any change in the boys' custody and ordered Powell to undergo a psychosexual evaluation and polygraph test because of an "incestual" pornographic animation found on a computer taken from his Utah home in 2009.
The boys were buried Monday at city-owned Woodbine Cemetery in Puyallup, Wash. Powell's family visited the cemetery on Tuesday and looked at a plot near the single gravesite where the boys are buried. They had not paid for the plot and were apparently also looking at other cemeteries.
The Powells' interest in the Woodbine plot outraged the Coxes, their attorneys and many members of the public. Chuck Cox said he didn't want Josh Powell, whom he has long assumed was involved in his daughter's disappearance, "anywhere near the kids."
By Wednesday afternoon, Crime Stoppers of Tacoma/Pierce County had purchased plots on either side of the boys' grave, ensuring Powell would not be buried next to them.
Attorneys Steve Downing and Anne Bremner, who represent the Coxes, had prepared to file a temporary restraining order to bar Powell from being interred at Woodbine Cemetery. The city said it would put the sale on hold until a court addressed that order.
On Thursday, Chuck Cox told The Salt Lake Tribune his family was "pleased and relieved" by the Powell family's decision to choose a different cemetery for Josh Powell's burial.
"It sounds like Terri is genuinely concerned," he said.
Chuck Cox said he was amazed by the public outpouring of support, calling those who led and contributed to purchasing the plots adjacent to his grandsons' "wonderful."
As it turns out, Charlie and Braden are buried near Sebastian Hizey, a 6-year-old from Puyallup who was killed in January 2009 by flying debris at a monster truck show at the Tacoma Dome.
"He's their next-door neighbor right now," said Chuck Cox, who added that discovery gave him an idea about how the newly purchased plots may be used.
"I've been thinking it would be a good place if another family needs it," he said. "I would certainly make that available to them. That's what we've been trying to do with everything turn the negatives into some kind of a positive," he said.