'I'm afraid for their lives,' Powell social worker tells 911 dispatcher

Funeral for Charlie and Braden Powell set for Saturday

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  • JWB Kaysville, UT
    Feb. 9, 2012 10:32 a.m.

    If the dispatcher really knew the whole situation the story would have been different. The Child Protective Services person may not have know the whole story, either. If the case worker knew the whole story she would not have stated the actions the way she did. She may not have known the history of Josh Powell. She didn't use his name in the communication that I heard. With as much publicity that this case may have had over 2 years, in Utah and in Washington, those two people, should have known. The case worker's supervisor would hopefully not have agreed to the case worker going to a private house. A private house that was newly occupied by the father due to a judge's order. She probably didn't know the case history. If she did, she would have communicated that to the dispatcher, who would have been more motivated to move on it. With so many false calls that dispatchers receive and deal with, that is also part of this. The real issue is the Judge and Child Protective Services failed to analyze this case. Piece by piece Josh was an accident waiting to happen, with or without children involved. He chose to take them down in an evil and disgusting way. He appears to never have been a real father for the 2-3 year old kid and his older brother when the mother departed this life. The crying brother makes me sick to my stomach when I think of that.

  • JWB Kaysville, UT
    Feb. 9, 2012 10:20 a.m.

    The judge definitely didn't follow the common sense of this case, whether it was dictated by law or not. If she reviewed all the hearings, inquiries, requests, deliberation, investigation and even put her ear on the railroad track to listen for the approaching trains, she would have known the children were never protected while in his care. Parents have rights but they also have responsibilities. Josh was never a responsible parent during these 2 years. He had more than ample chance to talk to the investigators and people that cared about his wife, Susan. Whether he was guilty or not, he never talked with investigators about his precious to the kids, mother. He never showed remorse. Even during the last hearing, he looked tormented and distraught from pictures. The Washington Children Protection Services not only jeopardized those children by not questioning why they were going to Josh's home when he was to submit to a psychosexual evaluation before being around the kids. Child Protective Services also sent their employee into a potential hot box without appropriate protection when they could have had an accompanied visitation in another secure location. The Cox's don't have money to push this type of case nor probably the energy but our own children and grandchildren should not be jeopardized like this again when the system broke down, link by link. The chain broke.

  • Mayfair City, Ut
    Feb. 9, 2012 7:20 a.m.

    NeilT: "Unfortunately it appears the police dispatcher is incompetent. There is no excuse for not immediately dispatching the police to the scene. This needs to be further investigated."

    I am always so angered by how often this happens.

    There are certain self-important dispatchers who think they are the ones in charge, and carry on at great length before they will send help.

    You hear it on the news in many released 911 call recordings in prominent dramatic cases:
    the condescending, bored, often low mentality-sounding dispatcher asks the same question over and over, or tries to engage the caller in ridiculous time-wasting dialog, or lazily assures the caller that help will be on the way after answering all these "important" questions--or in this case, says life-threatening emergency calls are more important.

    They are not the ones to determine if a call is warranted.

    They are to 'dispatch'--the word means prompt or speedy.

    If they need extra information, they can ask for it and relay it after the appropriate authorities have been dispatched on their way.
    Send police, fire or ambulance and let those professionals determine the course of action.

  • Rob Logan, UT
    Feb. 9, 2012 6:54 a.m.

    I was in shock when I heard this news. I cannot understand how someone can do this, especially your own wife and children. I am just as angry as everyone on this site. I think we also need to remember when a family member commits a crime it affects that persons family also. It is hard to imagine someone you grew up with doing things like this. Everyone is hurting now. Please just let them deal with this without heaping blame here and there. I know Josh Powell killed his own children and I'm sure he killed his wife. HE is responsible for this. Hindsight is 20/20. This was not the Social Worker's fault. She really loved those kids. Did you hear she had already bought them a birthday present. You can hear in the 911 tapes how upset she was that Josh had the kids alone and one of them was crying.
    I can look back and say I should have done this or that in my life. We all can.

  • SignatureHome SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Feb. 8, 2012 10:20 p.m.

    All of you. Stop judging people, stop talking about things you know nothing about. I am so sick of the "We all know he did it" bit. You know nothing, the police knew nothing or they would have charged him and had 24 hour watch on him. I am so sick of the judgmental people on this chat topic it makes me sick.

  • ouisc Farmington, UT
    Feb. 8, 2012 1:51 p.m.

    The surviving members of Josh Powell's immediate family need to come to terms with reality before anybody else gets hurt. Porn, dominance, child porn, torture, and murder, while harboring a murderer, are all highly unusual, unnormal behaviors. Steve Powell has hurt innocent children. I'd hate to say it, but it's time to question the remaining family members before somebody else gets hurt.

  • MC Ute Midvale, UT
    Feb. 8, 2012 11:51 a.m.

    The statement that made my sick to my stomach was "I'm really shocked and I can hear one of the kids crying, But he still wouldn't let me in" I cannot imagine what those young children went through, was he crying because he was in pain or because he saw his father hit his brother with a hatchet. Josh is 100% to blame he has caused more pain to Susan, the Boys and their loved ones than anybody should have to endure.

  • Jazzledazzle Provo, UT
    Feb. 8, 2012 10:31 a.m.

    What is wrong with our system? Send a social worker alone to a suspected murderers house (we all know he killed his wife) with 2 young boys. I feel for the social worker, it is not her fault. She was doing what was asked. It is just complete stupidity to put those kids in harms way and I fully blame this on the state of Washingon. I have to hold back what I really feel about the poor choice that was because my comment would be filtered from this message board. This so could have been avoided. I am happy that at least the 2 boys are in a better place right now than all of us. May they rest in peace and God bless the Cox family.

  • #1 Champ Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 8, 2012 10:24 a.m.

    What an awful act. What an evil man. This is 100% his fault.

  • Trooper55 Williams, AZ
    Feb. 8, 2012 10:23 a.m.

    @Maudine What I am saying is that in some states supervised visisted are done at the child proctection Divison Office to procect the children. I believe that this case was handle the wrong way and they need to change how they handle supervised visit in the future to prevent the lost of life. The Powell family need to look that took the life of his children and stop blaming others. From the start of this whole matter Josh has been dodging the system and failed to work with the law enforcement to find his wife. Now from part of this article his son was rermembering that his mother was in the trunk of the family car, but we will never know now that the boys are dead.

  • RShackleford Saint George, UT
    Feb. 8, 2012 9:33 a.m.

    If you look what was happening very recently, Josh Powell was ordered to take a polygraph to get his kids back. Normally a polygraph is never forced, but I have an idea that this was an (legal?) end run by prosecutors to either get some clues about his wife's case or just to see if they could make him panic and spill the beans. Personally I think authorities should have been prepared for something like this. I think they tried to smoke him out and it went too far.

    To send one lone, unarmed, socialal worker over with these kids, to visit a man that the authorities believe is a murderer, was not really to bright. Or safe. Really should have seen something like this coming.

  • azresident Mesa, AZ
    Feb. 8, 2012 8:00 a.m.

    Tragic, simply tragic. Condolences to all who knew these families.

    Add to this the simply mind-numbing dispatcher's responses. I had to quit listening. I wanted to reach through the computer, grab him by the throat, and tell him to be quiet and LISTEN to the social worker!

    As I listened the second time I simply could not believe the questions (hyphenated name? two l's in Powell? color of Prius?) and the questions to which he already had the answers if he would have listened (you don't live there? he won't let you out of the driveway? and the dad's last name?)

    Talk about dotting the i's and crossing the t's; meanwhile the children's time on this earth is drawing to a horrid close. Somebody tell me that this dispatcher's response is not SOP.

  • sammyg Springville, UT
    Feb. 8, 2012 7:32 a.m.

    "She said she received several emails, possibly some starting before Sunday, about how to pay for his property and utilities. She said they "started awhile ago" and she didn't think anything much of them."

    ... and she didn't think anything much of them.

    Kind of like thinking camping in the middle of winter with two little boys, Susan's flirtatiousness with her father-in-law, and Josh not helping the WVC police department find his wife is all just 'normal' behavior that all ends rationally with a murder suicide.

    Wow, and a faithful sister that blames everything on someone other than Josh... can you still believe this?


  • NeilT Clearfield, UT
    Feb. 8, 2012 5:36 a.m.

    Josh Powell is the only responsible person in this tragedy. Unfortunately it appears the police dispatcher is incompetent. There is no excuse for not immediately dispatching the police to the scene. This needs to be further investigated.

  • OneAmerican Idaho Falls, ID
    Feb. 8, 2012 5:35 a.m.

    Re:Love Utah

    Her guilt for not reporting it sooner or realizing the significance may well be why she is blaming others, although the story states her 911 call might have actually come before the fire. I listened to the 2 dispatcher calls, though and both show they could be better listeners, particularly the male (He was under no stress, but had to ask for Josh Powell's name THREE TIMES) so even if she had reported it, who knows how much urgency, if any, would have been used in dealing with the information. The cops never showed up until the fire was going and the CPS worker was down three houses down the street.

  • On the other hand Spanish Fork, UT
    Feb. 8, 2012 12:19 a.m.

    Before you heap scorn on Alina and Michael Powell, consider how much they've had to suffer because of other people's bad decisions. Their dad's in jail, their brother shocked the world with his heinous actions, their nephews are gone, and their sister-in-law's whereabouts are still a mystery. Few of us can imagine burdens of that magnitude. To make matters worse, people are regularly rubbing salt in these wounds with the hateful, vicious things they say to them and about them.

    Forget for a moment what the Powells may have said or done, and consider their tremendous suffering -- past, present, and future -- because of the bad choices of others around them. The readership of this newspaper is predominantly religious; as with all situations, our challenge is to practice what we preach: repenting, forgiving, refraining from judgment, showing compassion, loving our neighbor.

  • O'really Idaho Falls, ID
    Feb. 7, 2012 10:32 p.m.

    My heart aches for the Cox family and for the social worker. She did nothing wrong. What a nightmare to have to live with.

  • Love Utah Draper, UT
    Feb. 7, 2012 10:30 p.m.

    Am I the only one disturbed by Alina Powell's behaviour?

    "She said she received several emails, possibly some starting before Sunday, about how to pay for his property and utilities. She said they "started awhile ago" and she didn't think anything much of them."

    Alina Powell should have reported these emails to the authorities straight away, which would have proved her brother was unstable and unfit to have the kids in his home. It's too late now, but Alina Powell will have to live with the knowledge that she was negligent by withholding information, that may have kept those kids safe. She chose to keep it to herself. Instead she blames everyone else, just like Josh Powell did. Look in the mirror.

  • Maudine SLC, UT
    Feb. 7, 2012 10:09 p.m.

    @ Trooper55: Child Protection Services can only act within the law. They do not have the right to change a court order or insist upon steps the court didn't mandate.

    @ skinny tires fat skis: The Chief of Police conducted an investigation. When you get a search warrant, that is a matter of record and is, unfortunately, usually very easy for the media to get information about. When you have a team of men searching an area, it is going to get out that you are doing a search. The police chief did his job, and he followed the law while he was doing it.

    The only person in this case who has blood on his hands is Josh - he is the one that chose to commit the crimes. No one else is to blame.

  • Old Navy Provo, UT
    Feb. 7, 2012 9:10 p.m.

    Josh's dad is the key to this case. Most likely, Josh told him the whereabouts of Susan's body.

  • Christy Beaverton, OR
    Feb. 7, 2012 7:33 p.m.

    'chop injuries to the head and neck of the 5 year old'? A hatchet was found. What a monster.

    Any more Josh Powell defenders out there?

    How disgusting.

  • guswetrust Cebterville, Utah
    Feb. 7, 2012 5:44 p.m.

    Oh, and I guess the neighbor ladies and girls of Steve Powell caused Steve to take pics of them without them knowing. Alina, your family is weird and sick.

  • guswetrust Cebterville, Utah
    Feb. 7, 2012 5:37 p.m.

    Josh's sister blames everyone BUT Josh. So far the Powell family are all oddballs.

  • LivinLarge Bountiful, UT
    Feb. 7, 2012 5:24 p.m.

    A millstone hung around Josh Powell's neck and cast into the deepest depths of the ocean is too good for this evil person. From what I have read about his father, it is no wonder Josh was so cowardly, wicked and evil. Anyone who would speak up to defend him is just as evil as he was.

  • Dadof8 Pleasant Grove, UT
    Feb. 7, 2012 5:05 p.m.

    For the Powell family to blame anyone other than Josh is ridiculous. The horrific manner that he took their lives does not speak of a father who truly loved his children. More like a narcissist. And frankly that is reflected from the top down in that family......those poor boys never had a chance.

  • sknny tires fat skis Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 7, 2012 5:00 p.m.

    The WVC police chief has blood on his hands.

    He had to make this investigation a witch hunt. He had to repeatedly and very publicly search for and repeatedly and very publicly fail to find the body, or any evidence for that matter, of the alleged wrong doing. I think he should lose his job for such outrageous conduct. He jeopardized the outcome of the case and in hindsight, the lives of the boys and Josh. Imagine if Josh was driven to the edge by the constant suspicion. Obviously he was mentally unstable, the Chief's tactics may have been just enough to push Josh over the edge. Logic 101 says go privately gather the evidence, build your case, and then press your charges when you can prove something. Don't try to prosecute your case in the press. The Chief's conduct through this whole thing is completely unbelievable, unprofessional and irresponsible.

    God forbid Susan Powell isn't even dead and the poor fool really was telling the truth, but just snapped under the pressure.

  • Two Cents Springville, Utah
    Feb. 7, 2012 4:06 p.m.

    What a supremely selfish thing to do. "If I can't have my kids, then nobody can." This shines a new light on his earlier comments that he could never hurt Susan. Gas + fire + hatchet...on two innocent little boys...his own flesh.

    I'm glad God will judge him because mercy seems hard to find right now.

  • Chase Saint George, UT
    Feb. 7, 2012 3:58 p.m.

    Sorry "Alina" blaming is irrational - like killing your children brutally and then yourself.

    No one is to blame but Josh, yes Josh.

    Josh started all of it.

    Josh ended all of it.

    Blaming is just dishonest. But then this whole thing has been dishonest hasn't it?'

    I'm sensing a pattern with Josh, his sister, his brother, his father. Sad.

  • Well Read SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Feb. 7, 2012 1:23 p.m.

    The media DID NOT cause Josh to do what he did. It is irresponsible to even conceive of such a thing.

  • Trooper55 Williams, AZ
    Feb. 7, 2012 12:47 p.m.

    Sound to me like the Child Procetiton Service should have used their Office after the court order to elvate Josh Powells's physoc condition, it should have sent red flags to them. It's a sad lost to both grandparents and my heart and prayers go out to them. I believe that Josh Powell knew they where closing in on him and took the coward way out. He also took the lifes of his two children that tells me he wasn't in the right mind. Everybody believes that the media caused this wrong. I believe that Josh Powell had everything to do with his wife's death and the death of his children and now I doubt if we will ever have all the answers, or find Susan Powell's body.

  • Well Read SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Feb. 7, 2012 12:03 p.m.

    What he did not realize before he killed his sons, but now knows is the fact that he will now never live with his sons. He sealed his fate for the eternities and it is not with his wife or his children. Murderers go to a special place that innocent children will never go. He will most likely be in or near outer darkness while his children and his wife will be together forever.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Feb. 7, 2012 11:37 a.m.

    Re: "I'm not able to live without my sons . . . ."

    Better get used to it.

    There's a special place in Hades reserved for people who do what he did to innocent children [and spouses, too].

    And they don't allow innocent children there.

  • Brave Sir Robin San Diego, CA
    Feb. 7, 2012 9:54 a.m.

    I never even met Josh Powell but I think I dislike him more than I've ever disliked anyone before.