Added by David Sandercock on February 6, 2012
A US man destroyed his home by igniting natural gas, killing himself and family. The blast happened after a social worker dropped the boys off at Josh Powell’s home in Graham, Washington state, for a supervised visit.
Moments before blowing up the house in a quiet tree-lined cul-de-sac Mr Powell wrote an email to his lawyer saying, “I’m sorry, goodbye.”
The apparent murder-suicide brought to an end a high profile case which started when his wife Susan Cox-Powell, 28, a stockbroker, vanished in December 2009.
Mr Powell was the only suspect but had repeatedly denied involvement.
Speaking on television in August, Powell said, “I would never even hurt her. People who know me know that I could never hurt Susan.”
Powell claimed to have been camping with his two children – Charlie, seven, and Braden, five – in the Utah desert when his wife disappeared.
But the children had begun to talk about what happened. Steve Downing, a lawyer for Mrs Powell’s parents, said: “They were beginning to verbalise more. The oldest boy talked about that they went camping, and that Mommy was in the trunk. Mom and Dad got out of the car, and Mom disappeared.”
In a separate development during the police investigation Mr Powell’s father, Steven Powell, 61, was arrested and accused of secretly videotaping his daughter-in-law, other women, and young girls taking baths. He is now facing child pornography and voyeurism charges.
A bitter custody battle over the children ended last week when a judge ordered that they should live with Mrs Powell’s parents, Chuck and Judy Cox.
But on Sunday they were taken for a supervised visit with Mr Powell by social services.
A Washington state social services spokeswoman said the female visit supervisor, a contractor for a private agency, had been locked out of the house by Mr Powell.
The spokeswoman said, “She pulled up in the car, and the kids ran out ahead of her. He closed the door and locked it. She wasn’t able to get in, and that’s when she smelled gas.”