Remembering Susan Powell’s Sons Seven Years After Their Murder

Feb 7, 2019, 1:51 PM | Updated: 3:42 pm

PUYALLUP, Wash. – In a story filled with twists and turns, it was the turn no one saw coming. Josh Powell, who had recently lost custody of his two sons, Charlie (7) and Braden (5), set his home on fire killing himself and the boys.

It happened February 5, 2012 just minutes after the boys had arrived with a social worker for a supervised visit with their dad. As Charlie and Braden ran ahead of Elizabeth Hall, she says Josh opened the door for the kids and then slammed the door in her face, locking her out of the home.

Hall called 911 but before police could arrive the house burst into flames. Firefighters would later find the bodies just feet inside the front door.

To some, it felt like a tragedy, but not to Pierce County Sheriff Paul Pastor.

“This was the murder of two little children. Let’s not dress it up. Let’s call it what it is,” he said at the time. “This was something evil. This was something completely wrong.”

Susan Powell’s father, Chuck Cox, who had been given custody of the boys only days before, was in church services when he got the news. He drove to the home to see for himself if the reports were true.

“There was smoke coming out of it and then I knew what they would be looking at,” Cox said. “I knew what the first responders were looking at. I knew the situation. I had just been to an aircraft accident probably about 8 months earlier where it hit and house and it was not fun going to that site. And I really didn’t want to see the site where my grandchildren were either.”

In the seven years since, Cox has looked back on that day and wondered what he could have done differently that would have saved the boys from their father’s actions.

“There was nothing, really, I could think that I could have done differently,” he told Cold podcast host Dave Cawley, “Short of breaking the law and taking the boys and running somewhere.”

A judge had ordered Josh Powell be granted supervised visitation rights with his sons. Eventually, the Coxes filed suit against the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services for its handling of the boys’ case. That lawsuit, originally thrown out by a lower court, was reinstated by an appeals court in early 2019 and is moving forward.

Today, Charlie and Braden Powell would be 14 and 12 years old.

You can hear more about the legal proceedings that led up to the day the boys were killed in this week’s episode of Cold, available now wherever you get podcasts, at or on the KSLTV app.


KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

COLD Susan Powell Case Files

FILE: A photo of Susan Powell surrounded by her sons....
Eliza Pace, KSL TV

Ten years since tragic deaths of Charlie and Braden Powell

Saturday marked the ten year anniversary of the tragic deaths of Charlie and Braden Powell, the sons of Susan and Josh Powell of West Valley, Utah. 
6 months ago
FILE: A photo of Susan Powell surrounded by her sons....
Eliza Pace, KSL TV

12th anniversary of Susan Powell disappearance

Monday, Dec. 6, 2021 marks twelve years since the disappearance of Susan Cox Powell. 
8 months ago
FILE: A photo of Susan Powell surrounded by her sons....
Dave Cawley & Keira Farrimond, KSL TV

‘Cold’: Newly Released Wiretap Conversations Depict Powell Family On The Brink

Hundreds of conversations between members of the Powell family were captured on a wiretap in August and September 2011 as part of a sprawling law enforcement effort to crack the case of the Susan Powell disappearance.
2 years ago
South Jordan racing series...
Dan Spindle, KSL TV

High 5: South Jordan Racing Series Goes Virtual

Brad Vaske has been keeping the community together while staying apart with the South Jordan racing series.
2 years ago
Attorney Ted Buck delivers opening statements to a jury while standing in front of a large photo pr...
Josh Ellis & Dave Cawley, KSL TV

Jury Finds State Of Washington Negligent In Deaths Of Susan Powell’s Children

A jury has found the state of Washington was negligent in the deaths of Susan Cox Powell's children, Braden and Charlie Powell.
2 years ago
Dave Cawley, KSL TV

Susan Powell’s Parents Back In Washington Court

The parents of missing mother Susan Powell were in a Washington court, arguing state social workers failed to protect their grandsons from Josh Powell, who killed both boys and himself eight years ago.
3 years ago

Sponsored Articles

tips how to quit smoking...

7 Tips How to Quit Smoking | Quitting Smoking Might be One of the Hardest Things You Ever Do but Here’s Where You Can Start

Quitting smoking cigarettes can be incredibly difficult. Here are 7 tips how to quit smoking to help you on your quitting journey.
Photo: Storyblocks...
Blue Stakes of Utah 811

Blue Stakes of Utah 811: 5 Reasons To Call 811 Before You Dig When Working in Your Yard

Call before you dig. Even at home, you could end up with serious injuries or broken utilities just because you didn't call Blue Stakes of Utah 811.
Days of...
Days of '47 Rodeo

TRIVIA: How well do you know your rodeo? Take this quiz before you go to the Days of ’47!

The Utah Days of ’47 Rodeo presented by Zions Bank is a one-of-a-kind Gold Medal Rodeo being held July 20-23, 25 at 7:30 PM. The Days of ’47 Rodeo How well do you know your rodeo trivia? Take the quiz to test your know-all before heading out to the Days of ’47 Rodeo at the […]
cyber security through multi factor authentication setup...
Les Olson IT

How multi factor authentication setup helps companies stay safe

Multi factor authentication (MFA) setup is an important security measure that every company should implement for their workers. It’s also wise to install it for your personal and home accounts.
Lighting Design

Check out these stunning lamps with stained glass shades

Lamps with stained glass shades are statement pieces that are more than simply aesthetic. They also meet a functional requirement: to light up a room.
Address Bar of internet browser shows internet access...

Utah voters 50+ support increased access to Internet

The AARP surveyed Utah voters aged 50 plus about internet access and if they support the expansion of broadband, especially in rural areas currently lacking it.
Remembering Susan Powell’s Sons Seven Years After Their Murder