Special Reports

Author Ann Rule plans book on Powell slayings, disappearance

Crime writer Ann Rule plans a book on the story of Susan Cox Powell, who disappeared more than two years ago, and her husband, Josh, who killed himself and his two sons in a fiery blaze earlier this month.

Chuck Cox, Susan Powell’s father, said he and his wife Judy will meet with Rule today  as the Seattle-based author continues work on a project about his daughter and son-in-law.

During her 35-year career Rule has tackled the stories of serial murderer Ted Bundy and the Green River Killer, Gary Leon Ridgway.

Cox said it’s unclear whether the family will profit from Rule’s latest venture, but said she made a contribution to the Susan Cox Powell Foundation, and any other money entitled to the family would be used to advance the foundation’s mission.

“We don’t have any desire to make any money on anything,” Cox said, adding that Rule had started research on the book before his grandsons, Charlie, 7, and Braden, 5, were killed.

Rule could not be reached for comment.

Cox said he supports the idea of a book that would bring attention to the case and what might have gone wrong during the investigation into his daughter’s 2009 disappearance, as well as shortcomings by Washington child welfare agencies — which he believes emphasize the idea of family reunification over the safety of children.

The Powell brothers died Feb. 5 during a supervised visit with their father at his Graham-area rental home. Josh Powell locked the children’s case worker out of the house before attacking his children with a hatchet and setting the home on fire with 10 gallons of gasoline.

He left goodbye messages to family members saying he couldn’t bear to live without his children, who had been placed into custody with the Coxes after Powell fell under investigation in a child pornography case involving his father.

Josh Powell was a person of interest in the disappearance of his wife, who disappeared from their Utah home in 2009.

 He denied involvement in her disappearance and said he had taken their sons  on a midnight camping trip in below-freezing weather and returned to find his wife missing. They moved to the Puyallup area shortly after.