Sheriff’s Official: Missing Woman’s Husband, 2 Sons Killed in Explosion
Josh Powell and his two young sons — whose wife and mother, respectively, went missing more than two years ago — were killed early Sunday afternoon in an explosion at their home in Washington state, a sheriff’s spokesman said.
Pierce County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Ed Troyer said that authorities have not definitively identified the bodies, but “we believe it is” Powell and his two children.
“Our guys have spent a lot of time and effort and blood, sweat and tears in this case,” said Troyer. “We have detectives who are close with the kids, … and know them. The whole thing is just sad.”
A foster-care case worker had brought Powell’s two boys to the residence for a visit, said Troyer and Graham, Washington, Fire and Rescue Deputy Chief Gary Franz.
As the children got close to the door, Powell “dragged” them inside but prevented the case worker from getting in as well, according to Troyer.
The case worker reported smelling something similar to gas, said Franz. About two minutes later, as she was calling her supervisor, the house exploded.
“All the walls in the house were on fire, almost immediately,” neighbor Ryan Mickle told CNN affiliate KIRO, adding that the blast “shook my whole house.” “I didn’t hear anybody inside. It was quite a scene.”
Authorities first heard of the explosion in nearby Puyallup around 12:15 p.m. (3:15 p.m. ET), according to Troyer.
By 3:30 p.m., the fire was still “burning hot” and the bodies had not been taken out of the house, he added.
The unstable condition of the gutted residence was hindering firefighters’ efforts, as there are concerns the house could collapse, Franz said.
“We do not believe there are any other victims,” he said, besides the three located thus far.
Troyer said the sheriff’s department has copies of an e-mail that reportedly says, “I am sorry, goodbye,” and that was sent to Jeffrey Bassett, a Washington lawyer who has been representing Powell, purportedly from Powell shortly before the explosion.
He said authorities haven’t confirmed the e-mail came from Powell, but “we have no reason to believe (the e-mail is) not from him.”
Powell had entered a motion to have custody of his two children. The court denied that claim this week, Bassett told CNN.