One year after Josh Powell killed his sons Charlie and Braden, ages 7 and 5, and set fire to his Graham-area rental house, family and friends of the boys say its time for recovery and to salvage whatever good they can from the tragedy.
On Tuesday, the first anniversary of the killings, about 30 people gathered on the suburban lot where Powells house stood. They held candles and moved close together in the dark, offered prayers and shared remembrances of the boys and a moment of silence.
Nearly all spoke of recovery and moving forward.
Its time for moving ahead to joy, said Sheila Bernard, a family friend. We can use this as a positive, to change things.
On Feb. 5, 2012, a social worker dropped Charlie and Braden off at Josh Powells rental home in the 8100 block of 189th Street Court East for a supervised visit with their father, a person of interest in the disappearance of their mother, Susan Powell.
The boys went inside and Powell shut the door on the social worker. She pounded on the doors and windows, then called 911. She told the operator she smelled gasoline and that she was worried about boys safety.
Minutes later, the house exploded and burst into flames.
The only remaining trace of the burned house is a bare patch of dirt, gradually being overtaken by grass. After the fire, what was left of the house was bulldozed and hauled away.
While the house is gone, the memories of the boys are not. Two handmade wooden crosses with the names Braden and Charlie painted on them stand next to each other a few feet from the road.
Chuck and Judy Cox, Charlie and Bradens maternal grandparents, both spoke briefly at Tuesdays memorial.
They, along with other relatives, friends and some area residents, hope the lot will someday be a park.
I hope this will become a place of peace, Chuck Cox said. The people in this neighborhood need peace in their lives.
Curiosity seekers and media representatives from around the country swarmed the neighborhood after the murders and fire last year. Tuesdays memorial was held on the back side of the now vacant lot, organizers said, to avoid further disruption to residents.
Last week the Coxes attended a hearing in Olympia to give their support to a bill that would make changes in state custody laws.
The Charlie-Braden Act, sponsored by Sen. Pam Roach, R-Auburn, would prohibit child custody from being granted to suspects in murder investigations.
Rob Carson: 253-597-8693