Appearing before media for the first time since their grandsons' deaths, a tearful Chuck and Judy Cox spoke of their family's pain, compounded by the loss of their daughter, Susan Powell. The Coxes also spoke about a drawing Braden had made showing the family of three riding in their minivan. Braden said the drawing showed the boys and their father.
UPDATE: Charlie and Braden Powell
When asked why the drawing did not show their mother, Braden said she was in the trunk, Chuck Cox said, according to a report in The Seattle Times.
Charlie and Braden Powell had begun to talk to their grandparents about things they remembered from the night their mother vanished, a lawyer for the Coxes said Sunday.
"They were beginning to verbalize more," attorney Steve Downing told The Associated Press. "The oldest boy talked about that they went camping and that Mommy was in the trunk. Mom and Dad got out of the car, and Mom disappeared," Downing said.
Original post follows:
Arson investigators from the Pierce County sheriff's office returned at first daylight this morning to the charred rubble of the home in Graham where Josh Powell locked himself and two young boys in before setting it ablaze. The house exploded and was engulfed in flames, killing Powell and his sons, 7-year-old Charlie and 5-year-old Braden.
Also today, the Pierce County Medical Examiner's Office will conduct autopsies on Powell and the two children, and this evening the Eastside Neighborhood Advisory Council of Tacoma will host a candlelight vigil for Powell's wife, Susan Cox Powell, 28, who was last seen in December 2009 at her West Valley City, Utah, home. The vigil is at McKinley Park.
"Remembering the beautiful lives of three very loved souls," the council wrote. "Light a candle with us and float it across the pond in their memory."
The "act of evil," as Pierce County Sheriff Paul Pastor called it, began Sunday afternoon when a social worker dropped the boys off at 36-year-old Powell's rental home for a supervised visit. Powell had only recently moved into the house.
Powell has long been a suspect in the disappearance of his wife, a stockbroker--and Seattle Weekly has written extensively on why Josh Powell has been a considered a "person of interest." Click here for a detailed story on her mysterious disappearance.
After the boy entered the home, Powell slammed the door and locked it. The Seattle Times reports that the caseworkers immediately began "banging on doors and called 911. She told police she smelled gasoline." The first 911 call came at 12:13 p.m.
Authorities believe the fire was intentionally set. The Associated Press reported that Powell's attorney Jeffrey Bassett received an e-mail at 12:05, saying "I'm sorry, goodbye." Bassett didn't see it until two hours later.
The Times writes:
While Powell had not been arrested or charged in his wife's disappearance, he had been a person of interest in the case from the start.
Susan Powell, a Puyallup native, was 28 when she was reported missing Dec. 7, 2009. Josh Powell told police he last saw his wife around midnight, when he put their sons in a minivan and took them on a late-night camping trip in Utah's west desert in freezing temperatures.
Powell then moved back to the Puyallup area, where both his father and Susan Powell's parents live.
The boys were removed from Josh Powell's custody Sept. 22, the same day Josh Powell's father, Steven Powell, with whom the three were living, was arrested and charged with possessing child pornography. Temporary custody of the children was awarded by a judge to Susan Powell's parents, Chuck and Judy Cox of Puyallup.
Seattle Weekly will update the story as new details become available.