Skip to main content
Advertising

Originally published June 7, 2014 at 10:06 PM | Page modified June 7, 2014 at 10:51 PM

  • Share:
           
  • Comments (0)
  • Print

Child-porn discovery on Josh Powell’s computer might have averted death of boys

The FBI found child pornography while investigating Josh Powell in the 2009 disappearance of his wife, Susan Powell, according to documents. Josh Powell killed himself and his children in 2012.


Seattle Times wire services

Reader Comments
Hide / Show comments
I don't know that this article actually adds any value. So now we know Powell had child porn, even though I think many... MORE
"If the state of Washington's Department of Social and Health Services had known about the suspected child pornography,... MORE
@albertinamel It seems like building up a good case is pretty instantaneous if you've found the filth all over his... MORE

advertising

SALT LAKE CITY — Investigators found child pornography on Josh Powell’s computer at least 17 months before he killed his children and himself, according to FBI documents obtained by The Salt Lake Tribune.

The paper reported Saturday that documents show the FBI was investigating Powell in the disappearance of his wife, Susan Powell, who was last seen at her West Valley City, Utah, home on Dec. 6, 2009, as well as for possession of child pornography.

Anne Bremner, an attorney for Susan Powell’s parents, said the family was never told the FBI was investigating Josh Powell for child pornography. If the state of Washington’s Department of Social and Health Services had known about the suspected child pornography, Bremner said, it “never would have let him have those kids.”

When a state worker delivered 7-year-old Charlie and 5-year-old Braden to Josh Powell’s rented home in Graham, Pierce County, on Feb. 5, 2012, Josh Powell locked out the worker and ignited a fire that killed him and his sons.

Powell for years had been considered a person of interest in his wife’s disappearance, and eventually he moved back to the Puyallup area, where both his father and his wife’s parents lived.

He lost custody of the boys after his father was arrested for possessing child pornography in another house they previously shared. The boys were in the custody of the state, but living with Susan Powell’s parents. However, Josh Powell was allowed supervised visitation.

Shortly before their deaths, Charlie and Braden Powell had begun talking to their grandparents about things they remembered from the night their mother vanished, a lawyer for the grandparents has said.

On the day of the fire, a state contract worker from Foster Care Resource Network brought the boys for a visit to Powell’s house. Powell answered the door, pulled the boys inside, slammed the door and locked it. The caseworker banged on doors and windows and called 911, but soon smelled gasoline and the fire erupted.

Josh Powell had been previously linked to child pornography, The Tribune reported. At hearings in Washington state to determine custody of his children, then-Assistant Washington Attorney General John M. Long said Powell was under investigation for child pornography after cartoon images of incest between mothers and children were found on his computer in late 2009 or early 2010.

The paper reported that the FBI appeared to be trying to discover what other images might be on Josh Powell’s computer, but the machine had been successfully encrypted by Powell.

Last month, a federal judge ruled that insurance proceeds from the fatal fire could be split between Josh Powell’s parents and sister and Susan Powell’s family.



Want unlimited access to seattletimes.com? Subscribe now!

Also in Local News

News where, when and how you want it

Email Icon

Meet the winemakers

Meet the winemakers

View video interviews, conducted by The Seattle Times wine writer Andy Perdue, profiling five of our state's top winemakers.

Advertising

Partner Video

Advertising


Advertising
The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►