Josh Powell’s family said Thursday he will not be buried in the same Puyallup cemetery as his two sons, killed Feb. 5 in an explosive fire he set at his Graham-area house.
Powell’s mother, Terri Powell, issued a written statement confirming that the family had given up a plot tentatively reserved at Woodbine Cemetery overlooking the grave of his sons, Charlie, 7, and Braden, 5.
“We have tried so hard to be loving and considerate and respectful in making Josh’s burial arrangements,” she said. “We love our little Charlie and Braden and want their resting place to be a place of peace and comfort.”
Powell, the husband of missing Utah woman Susan Cox Powell, killed his sons and himself in a gas-fueled blaze at the home he was renting. The boys later were buried in a single casket at Woodbine, a municipal cemetery in Puyallup.
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Terri Powell, wracked by grief, realized early this week that no one else was planning for what to do with Josh Powell’s remains, said her son-in-law, Kirk Graves. She visited a funeral home and a few cemeteries, he said, and she “cluelessly” picked a gravesite just up the hill from where the boys are buried.
The family reconsidered after reaction to the initial decision.
“We felt very strongly that it wasn’t appropriate to put him anywhere near the boys, and we did our best over the last 48 hours to convince her (Terri Powell) to do something different,” Graves said. “It wasn’t that hard to convince her – she just got started off on the wrong path.”
Attorney Steve Downing, who represents Susan Powell’s parents, Charles and Judy Cox of Puyallup, said they were immensely relieved by the Powell family’s action.
The Coxes had threatened legal action to keep Josh Powell from being buried so close to their grandsons, and Crime Stoppers of Tacoma-Pierce County bought the plots on either side of the boys to ensure he didn’t wind up next to them.
The plots cost $1,750 each, City of Puyallup spokeswoman Glenda Carino said.
Crime Stoppers raised pledges for about $20,000 in donations for the effort in less than a day.
Donations will be used to help pay for the plots and put up a plaque for the boys, said Crime Stoppers executive director Ed Troyer. Leftover money will go to Crime Stoppers efforts to catch criminals and support crime victims, he said.
On Thursday, Crime Stoppers set up a Paypal account for donations. Information is available at www.tpcrimestoppers.com.
Josh Powell was a person of interest in Susan Powell’s 2009 disappearance from their home in West Valley City, Utah. He had always said he didn’t know what happened to his wife. He took the boys, then 2 and 4, on a midnight camping trip in freezing weather in the Utah desert, he said, and when he returned home the next day authorities were at the house looking for her.
Weeks later, he moved the boys to Puyallup, where they eventually lived with the Coxes.
Staff writer Stacey Mulick contributed to this report.