Special Reports

Police want to interview uncooperative elder Powell

Editor’s note: An item below contains a description of an explicit image.

A search warrant affidavit filed in Pierce County Superior Court on Tuesday showed Josh Powell withdrew $7,000 from a South Hill bank branch Saturday.

A teller at the Bank of America branch at 176th Street and Meridian contacted Pierce County sheriff’s detectives Sunday to notify them of the withdrawal, the affidavit states.

The teller did not ask Powell why he was making the withdrawal.

Detectives seized transaction records and photographs of Powell taken by bank security cameras, the affidavit states.

Powell killed his young sons, Charlie, 7, and Braden, 5, about 24 hours later.

In other developments Tuesday:


Sheriff’s detectives served a search warrant at a storage unit believed to belong to Josh Powell.

“We’re not looking for anything specific in it,” sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said.

He declined to provide a location but said the storage unit was discovered after the fire.

Detectives from West Valley City, Utah, assisted with the warrant. The Utah agency is investigating the murder of Powell’s wife, Susan Cox Powell, who disappeared from the couple’s home in 2009.


Residents of the Silver Creek neighborhood surrounding Carson Elementary School, where Charlie Powell attended first grade, have tied purple ribbons to trees and posts that line the streets in the area.

The color of the ribbons was the Powell boys’ mother’s favorite. Family members of Susan Cox Powell have hung wreaths and worn purple ribbons since her disappearance from their Utah home in December 2009.


A memorial fund has been set up in memory of Charlie and Braden Powell. The money will assist with funeral costs. Donations can be made to The Charlie and Braden Powell Memorial Account at any Wells Fargo bank branch.

The Curnow Funeral Home in Sumner has set up an obituary and memorial page for the boys.


West Valley City police officials discounted news media reports that Steven Powell is a “person of interest” in Susan Powell’s disappearance.

“We have never stated that Steven Powell is a person of interest,” said Sgt. Mike Powell, who is not related to Josh Powell.

Investigators have said they have looked at everybody connected to Susan Powell, including her father-in-law. The elder Powell is being held at the Pierce County Jail on voyeurism and possessing-child-pornography charges.


West Valley City Police Chief Thayle “Buzz” Nielsen said his department wants to interview Steve Powell about what he might know about his son’s actions.

Attorney Mark Quigley, who represents Steve Powell, said law enforcement officials have not made a request to speak to his client through him.

Sheriff’s deputies on Sunday informed Steve Powell of the fatal fire and asked whether he knew what his son had been up to. He refused to cooperate and then was placed on suicide watch.


Josh Powell left a voicemail for family members in the moments before he lit his home on fire.  

“This is Josh. I’m calling to say goodbye,” the voicemail states. “I am 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.”

The voice mail, obtained by ABC News, aired Tuesday.

Powell sent the message to his sister Alina about 20 minutes before setting the fire.  

Alina Powell released a statement to the network:

“Josh and his boys spent more than two years being crushed alive by hate, harassment and abuse. None of us could have anticipated the devastating tragedy that took place Sunday, but what this unimaginable loss shows is that hate will never end well. Hate kills.”

Alina Powell was stopped by reporters at her home Tuesday. When one said he was “sorry for what you are going through,” she responded: “No, you’re not. You caused this,” before shutting a gate at the home.


Fire marshal Tom Poste said Tuesday that he believes Josh Powell already had spread gasoline throughout his house Sunday by the time his sons arrived.

“The timeline was way too fast for him to spend any time dousing gasoline,” Poste said.

One empty, destroyed gas can was found inside the front door. A second 5-gallon gas can was found intact. It was protected by Powell’s body when he fell on it, Poste said.

“It had some liquid left in it but it was very close to (empty),” he said.

Investigators have determined Powell bought the gasoline he used in the blaze within his last 24 hours, said Troyer of the Sheriff’s Department.


An attorney representing Susan Powell’s parents, Chuck and Judy Cox, has described the explicit image referred to in Josh Powell’s last custody hearing.

The drawing depicted a sword that was inserted through a woman’s vagina. The weapon was shown coming out of the woman’s throat.

Powell learned at the Feb. 1 custody hearing that he would not get his boys back until at least July and that he had to submit to a psychosexual evaluation and polygraph test. The judge’s ruling came after West Valley City police found sexually explicit images on a computer in Powell’s Utah home during a 2009 search.

Staff writers Adam Lynn, Stacey Mulick and Stacia Glenn, The Associated Press, The Salt Lake Tribune and The Deseret News contributed to this report.