Senator: Was DSHS warned about Josh Powell?

Josh PowellPam Roach

A Washington lawmaker wants to know what type of information Utah police sent the Department of Social and Health Services in regards to the placement and custody of Charles and Braden Powell.

Sen. Pam Roach, R-Auburn, is concerned that the information sent by West Valley City police in Utah included a warning about Josh Powell that may have not been acted upon properly.

“It appears DSHS was forewarned about information regarding Joshua Powell and the treatment of his boys,” Roach said.

“DSHS needs to come clean with what they knew. Having information pertinent to the welfare of the Powell children, and not acting on it, may have actually contributed to their deaths.”

Roach has sent a public disclosure request to West Valley City police — the department that had been investigating Susan Cox Powell’s disappearance since 2009.

On Sunday, Josh Powell, was a person of interest in his wife’s disappearance, murdered his two children and killed himself in an intentional home explosion in Graham.

Roach is also concerned that Braden and Charles were allowed to go on a supervised visit to their father’s home — giving him the opportunity to plan and carry out the murders.

“They are usually done at libraries or a restaurant,” Roach said. “I think Josh Powell was given special privilege to have a supervised visit had his home.”

Once West Valley City police respond to her disclosure request, Roach hopes to know if anything could have been done to better protect Charles and Braden from their father.

"West Valley police department did send to the court some information and some documents," DSHS spokesman Thomas Shapely said. "The court in Utah put very strict limitations on disclosure of what's in there. I think that's because it may have been material to their investigation of Mr. Powell's wife's disappearance. I'm sure that they didn’t want to give very much away about that and I understand that."

"What my understanding is, is that there were depictions and illustrations of what somebody said was of a disturbing nature. I have not yet seen them because I am not named in the court order that says who can see them," he said. "Let me make very clear there was nothing transmitted to us from West Valley Police Department that indicated any risk or threat to the children’s safety."

Shapely said that Powell's Feb. 1 custody hearing was open to the public and that Roach could have attended the hearing. The informaton from West Valley City police was introduced in court and the psychologist appointed to work with the young boys reviewed the documents. Shapely said he has not seen the documents.


Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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Josh PowellPam Roach