By Amy Martinez, The Seattle Times –
SEATTLE — Authorities say they believe Josh Powell, the husband of a Utah woman who has been missing since 2009, and their two young boys were killed in a home explosion in Graham, Wash., Sunday afternoon.
A case worker had just dropped the boys off at Powell’s home for a supervised visit.
The case worker “was forced out, and an explosion happened shortly thereafter,” said Ed Troyer, spokesman for the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office.
All three bodies were recovered, and although investigators are awaiting verification by the medical examiner’s office, they believe the dead are Josh Powell and his sons, Charlie, 7 and Braden, 5.
The Associated Press reported that Josh Powell’s lawyer received an email from him shortly before the explosion, saying: “I’m sorry, goodbye.”
The sheriff’s office is treating the explosion as an intentional act, Troyer said.
. The explosion was reported around 12:30 p.m.
While Powell has not been arrested or charged in his wife’s disappearance, he has been a person of interest in the case.
Susan Powell was reported missing Dec. 7, 2009. Josh Powell told police he last saw his wife around midnight, when he put their sons in the family’s minivan and took them on a late-night camping trip in Utah’s west desert.
Just last week, a judge ordered that Powell’s sons remain in the custody of their grandparents, Chuck and Judy Cox.
The boys were removed from Josh Powell’s custody on Sept. 22, the same day Josh Powell’s father, Steve Powell, with whom the three were living, was arrested and charged for possessing child pornography.
Josh Powell has denied any role in his wife’s disappearance and recently asked the judge to move his sons to a neutral caretaker, claiming his missing wife’s parents—who have publicly implicated Josh Powell in their daughter’s disappearance—are turning their two sons against him.