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Braden and Charlie Powell Act goes before Washington lawmakers

Published February 1, 2013 8:06 am

Bill would bar child custody awards to suspects in active murder investigations.
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A bill named after Charlie and Braden Powell goes before the Washington State Legislature on Friday to protect children from meeting an end like theirs.

After the still unsolved 2009 disappearance of his wife Susan Cox Powell, Josh Powell and his two sons moved into his father's home in Puyallup, Wa. He killed Charlie, 7, and Braden, 5, last February in a premeditated fire that also claimed his own life.

Senate Bill 5162, also known as the Braden and Charlie Powell Act, would bar child custody awards to suspects in active murder investigations. It goes before the Senate Law and Justice Committee in a public hearing.

"To me, this really seems like common sense. If the police suspect that you killed someone, you shouldn't be granted custody," said the bill's sponsor Sen. Pam Roach, R-Auburn, on the Susan Cox Powell Foundation website. "It's beyond unfortunate that this is a law that needs to exist."

The bill would require law enforcement agency to provide information on a murder suspect to the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services, per the department's request, if it's relevant to a child dependency case.

Josh Powell was considered a person of interest in Susan Cox Powell's disappearance, but the West Valley City police never named him as a murder suspect.

Charlie and Braden's grandparents, Chuck and Judy Cox, are among those expected to testify at the hearing, according to the foundation.

Washington authorities removed Charlie and Braden from the Powell home and placed them with the Coxes, who were engaged in a custody battle with Josh Powell, 36, when he carried out the murder/suicide.

Moments after the two boys arrived for a supervised visit at Josh Powell's rented home, the father started the fire that killed all three of them.


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