The "Final Business" of Josh Powell Included Fetching Gasoline and a Hatchet

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Josh Powell carefully planned his horror show, a fiery inferno that on Sunday afternoon killed his two boys and himself and left behind shattered family members. According to The Seattle Times, the Tacoma News Tribune, and other media outlets, Powell dropped off toys and books at Goodwill over the weekend. He also stopped somewhere to fill two 5-gallon cans with gasoline. He had a hatchet with him that he used to chop Charlie, 7, and Braden, 5, in the head and neck.

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Josh Powell at a custody hearing in Pierce County
Here's what else is being reported this morning:

* Minutes before he set his rental home in Graham ablaze, Powell sent out a series of farewell e-mails to friends, relatives, and his pastor. One of the e-mails read: "I can't live without my boys."

* Said Pierce County sheriff's spokesman Ed Troyer: "He was taking care of his final business. This is something he intended on doing."

* The boys' grandparents, Judy and Chuck Cox -- who were engaged in a bitter custody battle with Powell -- said Charlie and Braden didn't want to visit their father on Sunday. Said Chuck Cox: "They were adamant they did not want to go."

* On Monday, six days before the fire, the Coxes, reports the Times, talked about a drawing Braden had made that showed the family of three riding in their minivan. "When asked why their mother wasn't in the drawing, Braden said she was in the trunk, Chuck Cox said."

* The drawing of the minivan has been turned over to police in West Valley City, Utah, who are investigating the disappearance of Susan Cox Powell. She has been missing since Dec. 2009. (Click here to read Seattle Weekly's coverage of her mysterious disappearance.)

* The Times writes: "Anne Bremner, an attorney for the Coxes, said as recently as Christmas that the boys told their grandparents 'Mommy's in the mine.' Police in Utah had searched abandoned mine shafts in Nevada last summer, but found no sign of Susan Powell."

* Since September, Josh Powell had been fighting with his in-laws and the state Department of Health and Human Services for child custody. DSHS took custody of the boys five month ago, after Powell's father, with whom they were living with at the time, was arrested on child-pornography charges, according to the Times.

* On Wednesday before the fire, Powell filed a six-page letter to DSHS, where at one point he wrote: "I have proven myself as a fit and loving father who provides a stable home even in the face of great adversity."

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