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Facing outrage, Josh Powell's family gives up on burial near sons

February 16, 2012 |  1:24 pm

Josh Powell's family has abandoned the plan to bury him in the same Washington state cemetery as the two young sons he killed in a gas-fueled explosion almost two weeks ago.

Kirk Graves, the brother-in-law of Josh Powell, told the Associated Press that the family had been divided over the plan and ultimately succeeded in convincing Powell's mother, Terrica, to reverse course.

"We felt very strongly that it wasn't appropriate to put him anywhere near the boys, and we did our best over the last 48 hours to convince her to do something different," he told the news service. "It wasn't that hard to convince her -- she just got started off on the wrong path."

Terrica Powell later released the following statement to the media:

"We have tried so hard to be loving and considerate and respectful in making Josh’s burial arrangements," Terrica Powell wrote in the statement posted by the Salt Lake City Tribune. "We love our little Charlie and Braden and want their resting place to be a place of peace and comfort.

"We have made the determination that Josh will not be buried at Woodbine Cemetery, but are in the process of making other arrangements.

"Thank you to all who have so lovingly supported us in this time of inexpressible anguish. Our hearts go out to all of you who -- like us -- are reeling with shock and grief."

An uproar had followed the revelation that Powell's family was trying to buy a cemetery plot that would allow him to be buried near sons Charles, 7, and Braden, 5. The city of Puyallup put any such purchase on hold after the maternal grandparents, Chuck and Judy Cox, said they would take legal action to keep that from happening.

Then, Crime Stoppers of Tacoma-Pierce County, a nonprofit group dedicated to helping law enforcement fight crime, purchased the plotsaround the single grave shared by Charles and Braden Powell. Until Terrica Powell's announcement Thursday, it still remained a possibility that the family would try to bury Powell someplace else inside the cemetery.

Even if Powell's family managed to purchase the plot, his grave would not see any peace: Threats of vandalism and worse were already being rumored amid the outraged public. Still to be determined, however, is where Josh Powell will ultimately be laid to rest.

Powell remains the chief person of interest in the disappearance of Susan Powell, who vanished under mysterious circumstances back in December 2009, when the family was still living in Utah.

After his wife's disappearance, Powell took the kids and moved in with his father, Steve, in Washington state. Steve Powell was later arrested and charged with possession of child pornography and voyeurism, which led the state to hand over custody of the boys to the Coxes. Josh Powell had been fighting ever since to regain custody but had recently been told he first had to submit to a psychosexual evaluation and a polygraph after authorities said they had discovered "incestuous" porn on his computer.

This dire legal scenario provided the backdrop for what happened next, some say: Powell took an axe to the children and then triggered an explosion that killed them all on Feb. 5.


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-- Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch

Photo: The gravesite of Charles and Braden Powell is shown still covered by a cemetery canopy as of Wednesday at Woodbine Cemetery in Puyallup, Wash. Credit: Ted S. Warren / Associated Press