Attorney: Missing Mom Was 'In The Trunk' Boys Said Before Their - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Boys To Attorney: Missing Mom Was 'In The Trunk'

Photo from KIROTV.com Photo from KIROTV.com

MSNBC.COM - The two boys of a Utah man suspected in his wife's disappearance and then of killing himself and his sons in an intentional fire were starting to talk about what happened the night their mother vanished, noting she was "in the trunk" of the car, an attorney said.

Authorities say Josh Powell set his home ablaze Sunday, killing himself and his sons -- 5-year-old Braden and 7-year-old Charles -- shortly after the boys were brought to the home by a social worker for a supervised visit.

Powell was under investigation in the disappearance of his 28-year-old wife, Susan Powell, from their home in West Valley City, Utah, in December 2009.

"It's the most horrifying thing you can imagine happening," said lawyer Steve Downing, who represented Susan Powell's parents, Chuck and Judy Cox, in a custody fight for the boys. "The Coxes are absolutely devastated. They were always very fearful of him doing something like this, and he did it."

Downing also told The Associated Press that the children had started talking to their grandparents about things they remembered from the night their mother vanished.

"They were beginning to verbalize more," Downing said. "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."

'Acting like little boys again'
Kirk Graves, 39, of West Jordan, Utah, Josh Powell's brother-in-law, said he and his wife, Jennifer (Josh Powell's sister), were stunned by the news.

Appearing on Monday's TODAY, Kirk Graves confirmed that his nephews were opening up about their memories of the day their mother disappeared.

"We saw over the last six months or so was a transition in Charlie and Braden where they were becoming more fun, more vocal, they were acting like little boys again, which we hadn't seen for a while," he said. "The specific story you're talking about (the night Susan disappeared) is one that we were aware of and I imagine that part of Josh's motivation was what could he do to hide that story to avoid dealing with the consequences of the things he had done."

Graves said he believed Powell was determined to "hurt everybody around him, and used the boys as a tool to do that."

"I'm convinced that Josh was going to do something like this and there's absolutely nothing anybody could have done to stop him. … The only person at fault, the only person who is to blame, is Josh," he said.

Jeffrey Bassett, Josh Powell's attorney, said his client "never once admitted doing anything regarding Susan. In fact, he denied it."

Powell claimed he had taken the boys on a midnight excursion in freezing temperatures when Susan vanished. The inquiry into her death took an odd turn last year after Powell's father, Steven, was arrested for investigation of voyeurism and possessing child pornography. Josh Powell was living at his father's home at the time, and a judge gave the Coxes custody of the boys. click here to read more from MSNBC

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