Ep. 14 Killing Susan's Sons


Do you ever feel like it just needs some support to get really healthy? Hi, I'm Scott Mitchell. I'm Melanie Douglas. I'm on a journey to find lasting health in my everyday life. And I here to help we'll find fun doable. Ways to improve your health too, small and simple changes. It's the really healthy podcast. Subscribe for free on itunes or the KSL News Radio app. I spent my college days throwing perfect passes and trash-talking BYU. And I spent my college career smashing Utah utes faces into the mud on Jason buck, and I'm Scott Mitchell after our careers in the NFL, we still talk traps mostly to each other on our podcast rivals. We talk all these football college and NFL a little bit about life and growing up rivals downloaded each week wherever you get your podcasts or on the KSL sports app. Go cougs and go us. This podcast discusses domestic violence criminal behavior. Murder and adult themes while not explicit. Listener discretion is advised. The giants were playing the patriots in Indianapolis. Super Bowl Sunday, February fifth two thousand twelve. Elizabeth Griffin hall was at work as people across the country tuned into coverage of the big game. She drove her grade Toyota Prius into the coldest sack at one eighty ninth street court east in Graham, Washington. She steered between two pine trees that flanked the driveway outside a small Brown house. It was about noon Pacific time. It was parked her car and pull the key out of the ignition. She worked for foster care resources, a company contracted by the Washington State Department of social and health services to supervise visitation in child custody situations, she was bringing Charlie and Brayden Powell over for their usual Sunday visit with their dad Josh Powell, Josh waited for them. He pulled open the front door of his rented house and looked at his sons. I have a surprise for you. He said the giddy boys took off at a clip up the short path between the driveway in the front door, Elizabeth hurried along after them. Charlie and Brayden slipped past their father and into the house. Then Josh looked straight adolescence Beth right into her eyes. Without another word. He slammed the door and locked it. Nothing like that had ever happened before. Elizabeth pounded on the door. Josh didn't dancer. She ring the doorbell again, no answer. She shouted ordering. Josh to open the door. She rang the bell over and over and over again. No response. Growing frantic Elizabeth began to beg please. Let me in. Then she heard something terrible from the back of the house Saabs. A child crying. One of the boys. Elizabeth reeled her pulse. Quickened and breathing. Accelerated. She smelled the unmistakable odor of gasoline. She went back to her car pulled out her phone and dialed nine one one. It was twelve o eight PM. Hey, do provide the depiction for quarter and something really looted happened. The kids went into the house and the parent the biological parent. Who thing is Josh Powell will not let the in the door. What should I do? The dispatcher asked Lisbeth for the address it eight one one nine, and I I think eighty nine I don't know what the pre Morton for me to know while looking she said, I think I need help right away. Harry. FHFB's PDF been involved. And this is the craziest thing he looked dried off in the door. Are you there? Just waiting to know where you are. Okay. It eight one one nine one eighty nine eight to our ninety seven five what happened next would haunt his ATT. I've liked to pull out of the driveway of the smell gasoline. And let me in. We want to pull out of the driveway because you smell gasoline. But he won't let you won't let me in over to Dr wing in the house. In the house, and he won't let me and supervised. Visit. How is it? Powell? Okay. You don't live there right now. I know I'm contacted to the state to provide supervised visitation. It was told the confused dispatcher. This was a high profile case. Josh was the husband of missing woman, Susan Powell. How W E L O? To Elvis and appel. Yeah. His name is Josh. What why? If quite. I don't know. He's about thirty nine. She grew more agitated the dispatcher told her he would have a deputy swing by. I don't know them. They have to respond to emergency life threatening situations. First the first available deputy. Life threatening. He wants poured on one thing. He didn't kids back, and this is really I'm afraid for their live Dritan allies of the children previously. I have no idea. All right. We'll have the first available deputy contact you. Thank you. The call ended. Elizabeth backed her car out of the driveway and parked on the other side of the coldest sack a safe distance away from the house. Then it happened. The house ignited. Fire fueled by gas moved so fast. It seemed like an explosion heat may the windows burst and thick black smoke billowed out. Fresh air rushed into the house smothering some parts of the fire while stoking others. It was twelve sixteen pm. Dispatchers started to receive more calls about the blast Graham fire and rescue station ninety five sits less than a quarter mile away as the crow flies from Joshua's house. It should have taken just moments for a fire truck to arrive. Elizabeth watching in shock could hear the wail of the siren. It seemed to swirl around her as if moving in a circle. She kept waiting to see an engine, but dim derive. Flames climbed high above the trees surrounding the half acre property. Backpacker outdoor yet. One one nine one eight not. Our? How? Kilter that he wouldn't let me in the door. My on the line. The dispatcher connected of Elizabeth directly to the fire department. Nine. What we have. And then from there. Not somebody here. But I was under somebody here in the UAE. Why the adult man? And the husband and the father will in the how. Yeah. Josh's final for act. Who was no mistake. This is cold sewed fourteen. Killing Susan's sons. I'm Dave Cali. Josiah's little sister Alina a woke that Sunday morning to find an odd Email in her inbox. It was a forward from Josh something to do with his finances. More emails arrived throughout the morning. Josh told Alina message by message how to handle his affairs. Then Lena's phone beeped. She had a new voice mail. This is Josh. To say goodbye. And I'm not able to the one anymore. I'm sorry to everyone on hurt by. Alina called nine one one. In trouble. Funding in the. Dispatcher asked Alina for her brother's address Elina said, she didn't know it. The dispatcher asked her for her brother's name Elina said Josh Powell. I I think so. Okay. The media. One. Lina struggled to keep her composure. Okay. For him. I'm Alina still could not confirm the address Joshua only lived there. A couple of months. She said she had never bothered to look at the street signs. And in fact, suspicion persists to this day. The Josh had never actually moved into the house only staged it to make it appear as though he had. A need. Nothing. Think about how to handle. Pinpoint? Anything because it came in the morning. Anything from him. Kind of forward is one thing. Dispatcher total Lena, a deputy would head to one eighty ninth street court east, but it would be very helpful. If she could confirm Josh's address. The only. The first sheriff's deputies pulled up to the burning house at twelve thirty pm twenty two minutes after Elizabeth Griffin hall. I dialed nine one one. Of a house. Lots of explosions heard. Occupied are visible outer ninety one huge plume NTD's aware careful church in a meeting in the bishop's office when his phone buzzed. So I mean, they're just text or something or Email or something for somebody said that the joshes blown up the house there in going. Where did you hear this on Facebook? Okay. Good Facebook kind of care. What's there's no controls on Facebook. You know, who knows what it is. So said, okay. Well, not too worried about that. So and I've started back in when off again, and then I says well Hussein this was associated press's picking us up from the time I found out about it till the media gets hit until they start trying to get in touch with me. I know I'm gonna have to answer questions. I know that other people are gonna want to is true is not somebody has to find out and actually look and see what's going on. So it was me. So I and did what I need to do to to find out. Fire was intentionally says she is she believes that the Jad and two children ages. Five seven are inside the house, neighbor, and advocate cures e Hellawell. I learned of the fire from a reporter just barely walked in from church and my phone started ringing. And I was like, oh, what is it know what is often known? So I answered it. And it was a reporter asking me if I had heard that there was an explosion at the house. Josh was renting in Graham, Washington. And I said, no, I haven't heard that. What do you mean in explosion? What do you mean? A fire. Well, we just heard that Josh had the boys and that he had picked them up for his his visit with them and the whole house up in flames in it. I just I said I can't talk to you right now. And I hung up immediately called Susan's dad, and he was driving to the house one hands of the phone. And I said Chuck is it true. And he said, I don't know I'm on my way either. But I think it is. So and then I just started sobbing, and then it called Debbie, and I said, Debbie. I don't wanna be the one to tell you this. I do not want this, and I told her and she said, no, no, no. They'd be Caldwell had been Charlie. And Britain's daycare provider when they lived in Utah. She had traveled to Washington to visit the boys at the Cox house just a couple of months earlier, Debbie cold, call cold, the other people who would want wanna know in need to know that it was actual. And then let them start talking to me and do all stuff, so I can cut it just recover from. It realize what went on. Chuck called me. And all I said to him was Chuck Chuck is true is true. Any said, yes, I didn't even think of I just hung up the phone. I was in such a state of shock shock. We expected that he cared about his kids turns out he didn't. That's Josh pals brother-in-law, Kirk graves reaction to the news that Josh had taken the lives of his son and his own life in a home, explosion Joshua's, estranged older sister. Jennifer had just returned home from church when her phone rang. It was Kyrie. Jennifer could only manage to make out something about an explosion and the kids. So I was like, okay, I'm gonna go call Chuck and find out what's really going on here. So you just hang on. I'll you back. And so I went in and found my husband in the other room, and and he was in his office and. I didn't even talk to kids didn't even see the kids. I didn't wanna bring this up in front of the kids. We were in his office and shut the door. We called Chuck. He said that he was on his way to figure it out. He wasn't sure what was going on. He was going to call us back. And so we were kind of just waiting on pins and needles waiting for him to call back. And Finally, I don't know how many minutes had passed, but probably at least ten minutes before we realized before we decided. We can't wait any longer. We're just gonna call and so called him again. And. Chuck it got there and the house was. Burnt out charred mess, and it was confirmed. That josh. And the boys were in there in that they were dead. And it was it was such a. Such a weight such a horrible. A horrible thing. My mind couldn't even comprehend. It was kind of like shutdown as remember sinking to the floor thinking. I should I should tell someone. This is really bad. And I should tell people that this is happened. I sat there and I stared at my phone. Trying to figure out how to make it work because it couldn't remember how. How did how did? Send messages anymore. And I finally was able to. Get through that and figure it out and get my mind to to work a little bit again. And I ended up. Sending this really really. Blunt message to whole bunch of friends and family, and I feel bad now because it was something to the effect of Josh has blown up his house with Charlie and Brayden in it, and they're all dead. And I sent that something like that. And it was. Oh my goodness. I think now, and I think oh my goodness. If I had if I had received that message. Oh, oh. How horrible and then I heard from people later, you know, loved ones in friends and about when they received that text. And and my my cousin was in the middle of church, and and she received that while she was sitting there in relief society and looked at that. And she just she said she just she stood up kind of like me. What do you what do you even make of that she stood up and just stood there looking at it? Not sure what to do. And finally as it came through into her mind. She choose finally just left went and founder her husband and her children, and they left and just situations. Like, all my goodness. It was horrible. It was horrible. And then we came down. We were upstairs, and we came down and because the doorbell rang. My neighbors across the street head had heard, and they were coming to you know. Be here. Just to be here with us. And I walked down the stairs. I remember thinking. Goodness children. Don't even know. And I had to stop and explain to him that there their cousins had been murdered. Terrible house explosion. And. It of course after that. I was still in a daze. It was just unreal. And we had other people that came wonderful friends that just came in and sat with us. And feel that the media Kirkman out. He talked some with the media little bit. I could not deal with it. I could not. Do it. But they were camped all over my my yard my front yard. And I couldn't I could not other. Even in the midst, even in the midst of it. I I remember thinking. Even even through the pain somewhere. Deep down inside. There. Okay. Thera- K because they're now with their mom and with heavenly, father and Jesus. That was like a little glimmer a little glimmer of light through the whole thing. That just kept me from completely collapsing. One. Additional victims at the same location. I. Sheriff's detective Gary Sanders was getting ready for the big game. All's makes chili concur by pager went off because having a Super Bowl party that day, and we have pagers we don't have patriots anymore. It's called dispatching regards the Josh Powell that's where I wonder what's going on with that. So called this match. And it was like, hey Sanders. Calling about your page. Josh's blew up the house and kill the boys with them and the boys with them. I was like, you know, it was just it was to the bottom, you know, play with the boys. The boys had been my patrol car plant the lights and sirens. I've got the no the Kocsis start thinking about that. You know, how I fo- for the caucuses. And I'm like, oh crap. I wonder if they know and it just it was it was a bad day and Al forever. Remember that day where I was maybe my own half away. If that, you know for more that was. And I drove there still smaller than it was just chaotic scene with fire trucks and the looking at the house of the devastation. You know, the gas that he poured the way he'd done it. He may trade took care of Chuck Cox arrived shortly after Gary there's something there. So I had to go over see for myself. It wasn't. There wasn't done. And I saw it. Yes. It wasn't aid smoke coming out of it. And I knew what I knew what they would be looking out. I knew what the the first responders were looking at it throughout his career with the FAA investigating plane crashes truck had examined his share of fiery disasters. He reacted as many pilots would by falling back on his training and checklists emergencies like a win to a really comb do A B C and as most important thing at B C. And then I do this. And I'm just go into that mode. And I do what I need to do. So I I need to do go. Find out as a true number two. I got a notify the people who are waiting to find out. So I told them number three. What do I do next? What can I do next? Well cameras. Go home Gary told Chuck there was nothing. He could do at the house. I wife she didn't have phone. So I don't know if she knows or not. So I gotta go back there. 'cause being here is not going to do anything. Once the flames were doused Gary walked. Through the still smoking remains of the house even. We're pretty sure because I'm on call with the social worker seeing the boys going hearing them scream, and then the explosion you knew. But you still gotta conferment. Josh had spread gallons of gasoline throughout the entire house. Then ignited it going through and seeing the bodies and stuff like that. That was a hard thing to, you know, just two little boys that were innocent and had no play into that in unfortunately, mom been taken away. So they'd been that those three bodies were altogether in a back bedroom, a blackened metal hatchet sat next to Josh's body. Gary could see that Josh had used it to bludgeon. Both of the boys about the back of the neck, knocking them unconscious. Coroner's though, determined the fire and smoke inhalation actually caused the deaths. Gary positively identified the bodies as belonging to Josh, Charlie. And Brayden Powell dental records later confirmed that observation fired as a lot of damage, but the explosion kind of put a lot of the fire out to some essence, you know, blew the roof off stuff like that in. There was some damage, but you could tell unfortunately, you know. Someone will always be up here 'cause you can tell. Signal. Oh stars confirmed. Third. Gary, I was Maxwell was at home preparing for a Super Bowl party, horrible horrible. You know, I was I was home, and I had guests over the house and doing what a lot of people do that watch Super Bowl Sunday. Teams go at Ellis missed a call from Gary then received a message from his Lieutenant telling him something had happened in Washington. And I get a phone call from from Gary in his like, it goes view heard. And I said heard what nego- sit down, and I was like, and so I went into my office, and I sat down what's going on nuts? When he told me Josh blew up to house with kids inside. My first comment was what the hell were the kids doing house because the kids weren't supposed to be having visitation at the house. It was supposed to be in a neutral location in a kind of like a public but governed area, and I next thing was. Serious. And you know, those kind of like a believed it, but I didn't believe it and. You know? So it was it was crazy emotional. Roller coaster of emotions I was upset. I was mad. I was sad. And I just literally wanted to just jump in my car and drive straight up there Ellis's mind raced, obviously premeditated. And he was ready, and he was going to carry it out. Clearly, Josh had made up his mind that he was going to carry out some sort of active violence, whether upon himself or others. So whether or not that could have been prevented, I don't think anybody could say, you know, and it's possible. I mean, say if the Kocsis had the kids and their home, and he did some surveillance on them, and maybe he blows up their house, and so instead of the three of them now there's five of them or more word spread among the rest of the west valley city team they made immediate travel arrangements. Police won't comment about other details that involve Susan's case. But they are saying they're going to question Stephen Powell about it daxon Mindy. Guzman were renting, Josh and Susan's other house. The one on Sarah circle in west valley City, Utah. Like, Lena, they'd received strange emails from Josh. Then they saw the video of the fire on the news. In one of the emails Josh told Dax to take his old Yamaha radian motorcycle from the backyard and sell it for scrap a somatic. Josh I. I took my chamber my sauce. I shredded his bike. I completely completely tore that bike apart than they are. I yeah, I was really really really mad. When Atta with my sledgehammer, just cut up the frame, cut up everything. Yeah. It was knows is evil. I can't can think it I can't process it. I can't even complete the process in my mind. To do what he did I played with those boys. I hung out with this boy had. It was it was getting close. That's why he did what he did we've been close and part of me wishes that even the boys were gone part of me wishes that he would have survived and just lived in pain the rest of his life that would have been so great Brian that maybe Lhasa's hands is be whatever she's been Naba person out have been okay with me. Absolutely. Owings the last person. Besides Josh to have seen Susan alive. Learned of the fire from her sons they were watching Super Bowl coverage when the TV station broke in with a live report the live report, and I saw a house burning. I saw at least cars and I saw. I think I saw a woman by her car in front, and she was just she was being talked to by other people. And I said, what am I boy said Josh just blew up his house in killed his voice. And I just I could not believe that that stuff that people make of putting a movie it wasn't. It wasn't real to me that that could possibly happen. But I did find out it was real it did happen. And I still I was I was in shock for a good couple days. Just like how could that happen? How could somebody do that to their children? I have a strong mothering nature, and I could never ever do that to my children. I could not understand how Hello father could do that to his children either. This was the first visit Josh it had with the boys since Wednesday's custody hearing in which he learned he would not be getting his sons back. Neighbors weren't the only ones blindsided by the news. Her coworkers Linda Bagley and amber hardman were as well. Here's amber, I was at work Super Bowl Sunday. Remember that? And all of a sudden my phone just started blowing up like people messaging needs to hear about the news. I'm sorry. I hadn't yet. And we had TV's on everywhere were coming. It's just how it is. It was right there on the TV before I'd even had a chance. Talk to anybody looking foam like what is going on the TV there. It is. And like, you're in a movie, it doesn't seem real it almost solidified that he had to of kilter like if you can kill your children if you can do that. Of course, he could kill your spouse rod Stevens who had helped Josh unload. His you hall when he moved to Washington in January of two thousand and ten had himself moved to Utah in the time sense. He found out about the fire from his dad. My father called me up and said, Josh Gildas boys blew up his house and is in the morning. I got the call, and I've actually quite heard for the boys I could care less about Josh. But I felt really bad for those two boys. Rod saw the murder-suicide as something of a confession dads. Don't do that. Right. You secretaries yourself long before it ever ever, let one of your kids get hurt but not Josh. So what kind of place of evil he had to get to kill us. Two boys. Clearly killed his wife don't out about them. And now they're hoping they'll finally learned once and for all what happened to Susan after police are able to release more details about the case this point. My feeling is Joshua's just admitted to guilt dark memories long suppressed rose from the depths of Catherine Everett's mind when she learned of Josh's final act. Katherine who'd been Josh's only true girlfriend before he met and married. Susan had followed every twist in the case ever since I seeing her ex boyfriend on the news in December of two thousand and nine I broke it. Absolutely devastated. Me some like this is not having you know, I'm like this absolutely to Winston. How could this be going on? How can I know this person and just knowing that it was very probable that? Susan is they he was absolutely and utterly. Of doing some. She couldn't believe Josh married moved to Utah and lived for years less than an hour's drive away from her house bad place. Just you know. Mentally and emotionally. And I just like. Eight maimi. Think about a lot of things that happened between the two of us, you know, and just the way he was like, so many others, Catherine and her husband Dennis learned of the house explosion in Washington when they saw on the TV that day. Katherine had celebrated her birthday just one day before she wondered if Josh had intended to Mark the date. I have to be careful when I talk about it. And when I think about it because right after he killed himself. I had some really really disturbing claims where he was there. But it was like he was he wasn't alive. He was obviously dead. And I'm like, I have to careful about what I let in you know, to myself, and I said, I don't like to talk about the whole lot. And I'm sure in some twisted way, he thought that he was going to be reunited with Susan and everything was going to be good in great. And I'm like, it's not the way works. Those kids are gonna go to their mom. You're not going to be able to have some young. Forensic psychologist James Manley who had recommended Josh undergo a psycho sexual evaluation with another provider was at work on a different report that day, I was working on a report and the colleague that I referred to Josh to for the sexual texts may or something insists look at CNN right now. So I did and it was a helicopter shot of the smoldering home James was not so emotionally invested as Susan's, friends or family. He hadn't spent the same amount of time with the case as the police who had been nipping at Josh's heels for the prior two years, but at the same time he was closer to what had happened than almost anyone. He had visited that house. The intense violence. The Josh had was his sons talking to forensics talking to the policemen. Talking. To the fire chief talking to the social worker arrested. The agency's supervisor that brought the children to the house that I just you know, we so before cleared along with the social worker was fairly intense. I would say approaching trauma. But it really wasn't. It wasn't that close to me. But of course, you backtrack and wonder did I miss something? Says the cost from the social worker are now under review Jody mayor is a communication supervisor at the dispatch center, she says nine one one is often misunderstood she. And her agency is asking for time and understanding as the case is looked at attorney and Bremner hadn't heard much from her clients choking, Judy Cox in weeks. I didn't hear anything from when they have those kids. It was the first time that they were like, okay, they were just crates. And so. It was. Just a heartbreaker for them and learned of the fire from a reporter. I phone rang. And it was it was a reporter from Utah and said did you hear I said hear hear what he said? There was an explosion at Josh's house, and they think that three are dead. And I was thinking natural gas explosion. Because he said there's been an explosion. And then I can't remember if I called CIA or check called me, I think Chuck called me. And I said something is it true? And he I think he said is right outside the house. I'll never forget this part. He said, they're all gone. He goes, and we told him. So and I was just like oh my God. I mean, it was just I I've never felt sick before about something. You know, just I set my car for longtime Bremner says, the Cox family doesn't know what's next. They're hoping the west valley city police released. What information they have about the case? Now that their only person of interest is dead Pierce county sheriff's detective Gary Sanders left the house that afternoon after initial stuff went over to Joshua's Merced Eve's house spoke with Elena. And try to see what she said. And she played the Nevada smell that. He left people and stuff. She's unfortunate. It was you know, so many ways he had another very difficult. Visit to make spoke with Chuck and Judy that day, you know, not just element of here. He has daughter. And now he took only two, you know, parts of his daughter that hey, still had, you know, taking taking them the way he did. And then here in the way, he did a coward that he was, you know, just infuriates you, Gary and Shannon came over to tell me. Yes, there was a hatchet evolve. And and that confirm officially, but that was hours later, you know, I'd already been they're worse as more and more stuff came out about what really had happened the boys on that day having had Brayton in my arms before and seeing a fear in Brandon's is and just. Actually, more like a terror because he just was living some kind of a horrible thing on his mind, and you could do anything for him. And I could just see imagine him seeing Charlie get hit with a hatchet and the dad coming after him in just. Can imagine the terror that was in his is when that stuff out. And that made it harder for me. Father who claims he loves us. Children can do that to them. Family still backs him up after all that still. L? Listen, the west valley team arrived in Washington the day after the fire on Monday, February six is hard zoos super difficult. Let alone. I hate the smell of our after it's been put out by the fire department Pierce county had put up a chain link fence around the lot. Ellis could see the roof was gone along with a third of the exterior walls almost all of the interior walls were gone to only the skeleton of the wooden frame remained. The beams were gnarled and blackened. It had been hot inside the house. So hot a wire birdcage had turned to do. It looked like a piece of modern art. The remains of Josh's minivans sat in what had been the garage. The fire had burned the paint right off of it. The tires had burst. Then burned to nothing. The window glass. Had shattered everything plastic had melted, including the headlights tail lights and door handles. The seats were just metal frames and springs, no, upholstery a few items had survived. The investigators found a couple of scorched. Cellphones three badly burned. Hard drives a camcorder a flash drive and some other computer stuff. They also recovered a pile of Josh's old journals impersonal papers those included postcards from three tourist attractions in Idaho. Shoshoni falls on the snake river, this is schone ice caves and old mission state park outside of court, Elaine here, you are going through this home. And looking for. Anything that is that can be saved, and you could potentially maybe get some answers from all while in the back of your mind, your primary target the person responsible for Susan is now gone and not only did he take himself. But it took us kids to if Josh had written any sort of confession letter it burned with the rest of the house. You know, you've got that plane in the back of your mind. And then you're thinking, oh, gosh, you know, who would have thought that he would took his kids out and murdered them. And so then you start second guessing yourself reflecting back on the years going those or something we could have done differently to prevent this in for not to go to this extent. And so it was challenging, and, you know, something that's you know, me personally had to work through for for quite some time and kind of reflect back and. Reflect on that day, and in the future the case and. Where's Susan minutes? Lot Ellis called Josh's brother Michael on Tuesday, two days after the fire, Michael didn't dancer Ellis. New Michael was living in Minneapolis pursuing a PHD at the university of Minnesota. So he called campus police and asked if they could track Michael down, they did and confirmed Michael had no intention of talking to Ellis. That afternoon. Police went to search Josh's storage unit in Sumner. They tested several items for blood one indicated for the possible presence of blood. It was a comforter from a bed. The detectives took it on Wednesday three days after the fire. A pair of investigators went to the Pierce county jail to talk to Steve. FBI special agent. Jeff Ross showed Steve photos of the bodies. Steve wouldn't talk phasing. He described that visit in a letter months later, it continuously dangled pictures of three charred bodies to try to convince me that Josh was evil, and they tried to get me to talk about Josh they repeated over and over, you know, Josh killed Susan for three hours. Steve told the FBI the only way he would share his story would be in a book as Steve was facing off with the FBI west valley. Police were at the land recovery recycling center. In Puyallup, they started sifting through the huge pile of trash from the previous week looking for the stuff. Josh dumped the day before the fire. Pierce county called in volunteers to help it took them several days, but the volunteers did manage to pull out several interesting items those included in issue of church magazine, called the enzyme from nineteen Ninety-four several books which Susan had owned as a kid a roadmap of Utah with handwritten pen marks around popular tourist attractions and a Portuguese language book of Mormon with Josh's name embossed on the cover. Josh had at some point marked just four verses in that book of scripture with a red pencil. One of them was mosaic chapter twenty six verse thirty in English that verse reads. Yeah. And as often as my people repent, I forgive them their trespasses against me. You've heard me say before the my wife is a stickler for home security and so in our twenty plus years of marriage. 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Tammy foreman who had taught Charlie kindergarten said another went up outside Carson elementary. My kids knew about Charlie and sell my on children. We're very devastated. My daughter was obsessed the keeping those candles going. So every night she wanted to meet a driver over to the school. So she could make sure all the candles and that was really important her. And if she couldn't go she would ask her friends to go. And then she and her friends would go straighten out all the purple ribbons on the trees that people have put up in remember, Susan. Yeah. So I know that it was hard on on my kids as well. I felt really numb. So it's hard to describe. It was like it was it wasn't real like watching a movie about someone else. I guess I felt very disconnected. When. I I heard about it that day. Also is I don't remember very, well, I was just kind of a mess, and the fact that it was so brutal is a lot harder. Like I'd like even if he had just blown up the house that would be better than thinking. These boys went into the house to adad that they trusted he Trump. I can't imagine. I can't imagine in almost everyone that I know has some connection to that day. They saw the flames or big no people that were involved, and it really devastated our whole community built angry. She couldn't understand why Josh had been allowed to have visitation at his house for a long time after the explosion. I would think I saw Josh. It was the weirdest thing. He might have like a common look to him or something. But all the time. I would do a double take because I think I saw him at the gas station or the store somewhere and. It took a long time for me to stop having that experience. I don't know why it wasn't. I didn't think that I saw Charlie Raden. I just think I- Josh frequently Nancy from the Puyallup, Jim and mineral club found solace from her grief among friends. One good thing was the club. We would have a regular meetings. And so. It was discussion the major discussion. Should we contact the Cox family, should we bother them with our feelings were just this Little Rock law? Who cares about us? Really? But another club member said, you know, those boys were here they were club members and they sat on our laps, and they spilled stuff, and they ran and they fell down the God up, and they made us laugh and they were club members. There was a stone that the boys were interested in and that's kind of a whole nother story. But Josh had taken the boys to a club members house who had a shop in his house, and he wanted to cut a stone for the boys in polish it and give it to him because he was drawn to them as well. And he was older, man. So they'd be like grandkids to him. So he took they went to his house. They picked. Out a stone. And he sliced it, and he polished it, and he was going to give it to them. And it never happened because they died they were gone. So with that, we still have this stone. So our club decided to put a plaque on it and get it to Chuck and Judy. So. I'll take credit for what it says on it because I'm the one that decided that it would say this. What I I took it to a trophy shop and had a plaque put on it. That said Charlie Brayden forever in the arms of an angel. They mounted on the stone. And then we got a hold of Chuck and Judy and we went to their house Chuck wasn't there. But we got to have a long discussion with Judy. And it was I opening the young couple that she watched pretty much dissolve and turn into what it was. But it was profound. It was profound and touching while. Police try to find answers Chuck says, he's busy planning a funeral. He says it will be a public one and Chuck says he's grateful for the community support and hopes those mourning the loss of his two, grandchildren. Will remember how truly innocent and wonderful? They were check Judy Cox arranged to church Harley and Brayden at Puyallup Woodbine cemetery. Susan's disappearance had been the stuff of network and cable TV for more than two years by that point. Josh has murder-suicide made national news the Cox's new. The boy's funeral was going to draw a lot of attention. So they planned to services one for the public and one for the family scheduling both for Saturday February eleventh. The first took place at the life center church in Tacoma, the church provided a live video feed. Tammy foreman Charlie's kindergarten teacher accepted an invitation to speak valley surprised because when I got there. I was immediately taken in where the family was. And that was really awkward because there were people on both sides of the family there people who didn't wanna talk to each other. So it was a very uncomfortable situation. But on the other hand, I really appreciate it being treated like family and having them just bring me right in Russia's mom, Terry and sister Alina in a separate section of the auditorium segregated from the rest of the crowd. Josh's brother. Michael didn't show up having stayed in Minneapolis. During the service pastor dean curry praised both families for setting an example, these two families who've had so much who've had so much pain. Have come together have set aside very dark and hurtful moments. To celebrate children. Tammy told the crowd Charlie had been a little scientist who'd always had a smile on his face when he knew he was being clever. He was an amazing young, man. He had an appreciation for nature that I have never seen in someone so young he loved rocks. Sticks leaves and bugs he collected these items at recess and always had a hard time. Parting with them when it was time to return to class, he often left them by the outside door. So he could play with them later on many occasions. He tried to sneak a worm or Caterpillar into the class. He was a good sport whenever I caught him. And he would make sure the bug was safe and sound before joining the class, he loved learning facts, he called nonfiction books real books, and he had an amazing ability to remember what he learned Christie king from the mill Corum family YMCA, pre K program called Brayden tickle monster. A budding puzzle master into vehicle boy who loved cars, trucks, and trains. It was obvious that Brayden loved his grandparents at the end of each preschool day. He will look out the window to wait for his grandma to pick him up telling everyone how much funny had with them and how much she loved them. He just leaped into her waiting arms. He had a heart of gold always wanting to show a fiction. Brayden liked to hold his teachers hand and not let go he was cuddly with his grandparents aunts and cousins teachers classmates and even first time visitors to the house rush hour with Britain's hugs, and I love us. And always there was that big beautiful smile on a face. So like his mother's pastor Ken's who had counseled Josh in the child custody case spoke. So did Tim Sloan a longtime friend of the Cox family? We must press forward. We have to learn from this experience. It's drive to become better, fathers and mothers. To have more patience and love and kindness, withhold our anger. To be gracious to others as the savior as gracious to us and long suffering with us at the conclusion of the service, Chuck and Judy Cox stepped to the microphone. Tears fell from judy's is as her husband addressed the crowd in a soft voice, all the teachers social workers, the police everyone was doing everything they possibly could to keep them safe and helps them and love them. Thank you for your support. We know that there was her mother. Thank you very much. Then the family followed the single light blue casket to a hearse which took the boys to the south hill. Ward of the church of Jesus Christ latter-day saints there. The Cox is held their second private ceremony for family members and close friends sitting in Charlie embraces ram. Chuck Cox finds strength in knowing where his two grandsons are. Now, we believe it that she is safe at our heavenly father's arms, and the children are they're worth our there's been a reunion. Terry enelina Powell had inquired with the Woodbine cemetery about having Josh buried next to the boys that had caused an uproar in the days prior to the funeral Pierce county. Sheriff's office spokesman EDF Royer was not about to let that happen. He and our sheriff did a big push for that and matron that didn't happen along with crime stoppers. Yeah. That was that was big thing. We were not gonna let him be buried next to his boys after he killed their mother. So yeah, yes, exactly. The family laid Charlie and braid into rest at Woodbine cemetery on Monday February thirteenth. A single headstone marked their grave at the top. It showed a picture of Susan enter boys together, smiling the words United in heaven were engraved at the bottom. Just below Susan's name and the words missing December six two thousand nine ultimately nice day to find Susan. So we can vary her next time. And and they can be together. But we know now that they are together. Joshua's name did not appear anywhere on the stone. This is not the end of our story. The search for Susan will continue in episode fifteen but this feels like an appropriate moment to express my sincere gratitude to all of the people who've shared their memories of Susan, Charlie. And Brayden they were loved they are still loved and they will not be forgotten. If you or someone, you know is experiencing domestic abuse in any form, financial control emotional manipulation threats violence. Verbal put downs whatever it is. Please reach out for help. You are not alone resources and advice our phone call away in the United States. You can contact the national domestic violence hotline by calling one eight hundred seven nine nine seventy three three more by going online to the hotline dot org. Cold is a KSL podcast. Thank you for listening.

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