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Family of Josh Powell withdraws plans to bury him in same cemetery as his sons

Published: Thursday, Feb. 16 2012 1:08 p.m. MST

Randy Chandler, the foreman at Woodbine Cemetery in Puyallup, Wash., places a cement cover on top of boards covering an empty grave that has been reserved, but not paid for yet, by the family of Josh Powell, Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012.

Associated Press

PUYALLUP, Wash — Josh Powell's family has decided not to bury him in the same cemetery as his two young sons whom he murdered.

Powell's mother issued a rare statement Thursday confirming that the family had changed its mind about where to bury him.

"We have tried so hard to be loving and considerate and respectful in making Josh’s burial arrangements. We love our little Charlie and Braden and want their resting place to be a place of peace and comfort," Terri Powell said.

"We have made the determination that Josh will not be buried at Woodbine Cemetery, but are in the process of making other arrangements. Thank you to all who have so lovingly supported us in this time of inexpressible anguish. Our hearts go out to all of you who — like us — are reeling with shock and grief."

Until now, Terri Powell had avoided making any statements to the media since her daughter-in-law Susan Cox Powell disappeared two years ago from her West Valley home and Josh Powell was labeled a person of interest in her disappearance.

An attorney for Chuck and Judy Cox, Steve Downing, also confirmed that the Cox family was told of the Powells' decision.

"They are backing down, and Josh will not be buried there," he said Thursday.

Wednesday, controversy erupted when it was learned that Josh Powell's sister, Alina Powell, and their mother had visited the cemetery and expressed interest in buying a burial plot next to Charlie and Braden Powell, who were killed on Feb. 5, just minutes after they were taken to their father's Graham, Wash., home for a supervised visit.

The plan immediately sparked angry reactions from friends and family of Susan Powell, as well as the Pierce County Sheriff's Office, which used words like "disgusting" to describe the situation. Late Wednesday afternoon, Crime Stoppers of Tacoma and Pierce counties in Washington purchased the burial plots on both sides of the grave for $4,000 to prevent Josh Powell from having his final resting place next to his victims.

Thursday morning, Chuck Cox posted a short message on the Friends and Family of Susan Powell Facebook page: "We are so thankful for all the support. Your response has been amazing. We will continue to fight and we will find Susan. No one is giving up."

He followed that up an hour later with another message.

"We know that Susan is together with Charlie and Braden, they are now safe from all the trials they would have endured in this life. Everyone wanted to do more for them, but they couldn't be in a better place then in heaven. Once again Satan's plans are defeated by the atonement of our Savior. We will find Susan."

Kirk Graves, who is married to Josh Powell's estranged sister Jennifer Graves, said it was his understanding that the Powell family had possession of Josh Powell's body and that it was at a funeral home in Washington in preparation for whatever plan they come up with. As of Thursday, there had been no funeral for Josh Powell.

Susan Powell's family believes she is dead and hopes to bury her body next to her sons when she is found.

E-mail: preavy@desnews.com, Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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