In a story making national headlines, the two sons of a missing Utah woman have died in a blast engineered by their father, Josh Powell, who died along with them in Washington State. Powell had lost custody of his two sons, Braden, 5, and Charles, 7, and had just been ordered to undergo psychosexual testing. The tragic ending caps a sad story of a family that entered the media spotlight when Josh’s wife, Susan Cox, disappeared in 2009. Although Josh was never charged in her disappearance, he has remained under investigation.
A social worker had brought the brothers to Josh’s home for a supervised visit. That was when things went awry, as Josh shut her out of his home. It was as the social worker was calling her supervisor to report smelling gas that the residence exploded.
Police have said that Josh first tried to kill the boys with a hatchet. Although they sustained serious injuries from the assault, it was the smoke in their lungs from the gas-infused blast that killed them. In e-mails Josh sent out prior to the murder-suicide, Powell said he couldn’t live without his sons.
Now, however, some are asking, did the state of Washington do enough to protect the Braden brothers? Why, even though he was a “person of interest” in their mother’s disappearance and had been ordered to undergo a psychosexual evaluation, was Josh allowed to see them? Why were the supervised visits allowed to take place in his home rather than at a neutral meeting place?
An attorney for Susan’s parents says they don’t believe the state mishandled the custody case of the boys.
However, it is important that you know that if you believe your son or daughter was injured or killed because the party responsible for supervising your child and his/her care at the time was negligent in fulfilling the obligation to protect him/her, you may have valid grounds for filing a Boston injuries to a minor or wrongful death case.
Obviously, each case is different-depending on the circumstances and specifics involved, but you won’t know for sure whether you have a valid claim unless you speak with a Boston injury lawyer first.
Blast kills husband of missing Utah woman, 2 boys, Boston Herald, February 6, 2012
Josh Powell Tried to Kill Sons With Hatchet Before Fatal Explosion, ABC News, February 6, 2012
Did authorities do enough to protect Powell boys?, CBS, February 6, 2012
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Saugus Police Arrest Suspect in 2010 MA Crash that Killed Christos Agganis, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, January 30, 2012