911 Dispatcher Quizzed Caseworker for Seven Minutes Before Josh Powell 'Blew Up the House and the Kids'

Rick Egan/AP
Josh Powell pleads his case.
Today's chilling revelation: A 911 dispatcher quizzed a frantic caseworker for seven interminable minutes before Josh Powell blew himself and his two boys to Kingdom Come. Amazingly, the dispatcher was told, "He went to court Wednesday and didn't get his kids back. I'm afraid for their lives," and "I think I need help right away," and "This could be life-threatening," and "I can hear one of the kids crying," and "I smell gasoline, but he won't let me in." Seven minutes of desperate pleading.

KING 5 News
All of this took place in the minutes before Powell, engaged in a bitter custody battle with in-laws and the DSHS, unleashed an inferno at his rental home in Graham.

This dispatcher told the caseworker -- are you ready for this? -- that deputies "have to respond to emergencies, life-threatening situations first."

Based on media reports from all over the region, here's what else we know:

* From The Seattle Times: The Pierce County Sheriff's Office released a number of 911 calls yesterday from neighbors and people close to Powell, who had received disturbing e-mails from him.

* "I think my brother might be in trouble or something," [Powell's sister] Alina Powell told the dispatcher, her voice breaking up. "He's sending weird e-mails, saying goodbye." She told the dispatcher that "there's been a lot of abuse against him."

* Seattle PI.com is reporting that Powell withdrew $7,000 in cash from a Pierce County bank account on Saturday, the day before the fire.

* The Tacoma News Tribune reports that Powell appeared in court four days before the mayhem, trying to regain custody of Charlie, 7, and Braden, 5.

* "Pierce County Superior Court Judge Kathryn Nelson said the plan was to eventually reunite Josh Powell and his sons," writes the TNT. "But first he needed to pass a psycho-sexual examination because Utah police investigating Susan Powell's disappearance had informed a mental health expert that they'd seized images of a questionable nature on Josh Powell's computer."

* The autopsy revealed that the children died of carbon monoxide poisoning, but it also showed the two boys suffered hatchet wounds to their necks.

* Josh Powell's aunt and uncle released a statement, saying there's no justification for the loss of two innocent children. But they were also sympathetic to Powell, saying "internet kangaroo courts" and the media helped set the tragedy in motion, according to KING 5 News.

* In the statement released Wednesday, Maurice and Patti Leach state: "When we arrived in the state of Washington we believed in America's legal system. After witnessing how broken the system was and the events that took place before our eyes, both inside the court room and outside, we left for home in disillusionment of the legal system and concern for our family's posterity."

* Josh Powell's uncle and aunt write that they feel what happened Sunday was set into motion, in part, by "religious bias, the internet kangaroo courts, and sensationalized news media." Other members of Powell's family have said that messages on social media critical of Josh Powell contributed too.

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