Special Reports

Detectives seize Powell sister’s phone

Pierce County sheriff’s detectives confiscated the cellphone of Josh Powell’s sister after she refused to give them emails and a voicemail he left for her before he killed his sons Sunday, newly filed court records show.

Alina Powell called 911 Sunday to report she’d received four emails and a message from her brother that made her concerned for his safety. Detectives contacted her later in the day and requested copies.

“During the interview, Alina became upset and refused to allow Det. Sanders to copy the emails and refused to provide the phone to Det. Sanders,” the search warrant states.

The detectives later got a court order and seized the phone.


A couple identifying themselves as an uncle and aunt of Josh Powell released a statement in which they said they were saddened at the losses both families suffered and faulted the legal system.

“When we arrived in the state of Washington we believed in America’s legal system,” Maurice and Patti Leach said. “After witnessing how broken the system was and the events that took place before our eyes, both inside the courtroom and outside, we left for home in disillusionment of the legal system and concern for our family’s posterity.”

The couple said Josh Powell asked them to step in and offer support in helping him as the next patriarchs in the absence of his father, Steven Powell, who was arrested in September and remains in jail on voyeurism and child pornography charges.

The couple said they had agreed to offer safe haven for Powell’s sons should the need arise.

The Leaches blamed others for the family tragedy, saying, “In our hearts and minds we feel that this family tragedy was set into motion from the beginning due in part to the various questionable government agencies’ practices, religious bias, the Internet kangaroo courts, and sensationalized news media, all of whom have circumvented the laws that protect all of our rights to due process.”

They ended the statement with “P.S. Josh, Susan, Charles, and Braden, you will always remain in our hearts.”


The caseworker who took the Powell boys to their father’s home for a supervised visit is suffering from post-traumatic stress and seeing a counselor, her husband said.

The News Tribune is not identifying her at her request.

Shortly after watching the house explode with the father and two boys inside, she called her husband and repeatedly said, “The boys trusted me, they trusted me.” She has been distraught since their deaths, he said.

The worker had bought Charlie and Braden Powell Hot Wheels toys to give them for a birthday and had them in her car Sunday.


Josh Powell’s pastor said he spoke with Powell on the phone the night after a Pierce County judge ruled he needed to pass a psychosexual examination before regaining custody of his sons and saw no “change in his outlook.”

“Josh spoke with me during that phone conversation about seeing him Sunday evening following the Sunday afternoon visit with his sons,” Pastor Timothy Atkins of First Bible Church said.

The pastor said some of the supervised visits with the boys occurred at his house, and their children played together.

News Tribune staff writers Adam Lynn, Stacey Mulick and Stacia Glenn, and KIRO TV contributed to this report.

Service for Charlie, Braden

The time and location of the funeral service for Charlie and Braden Powell have been changed.

The service will begin at 11 a.m. Saturday at Life Center Church, 1717 S. Union Ave., in Tacoma. It will be open to the public.

A private family interment will follow the service at Woodbine Cemetery in Puyallup.