The man who gave life to 7-year-old Charlie Powell and his 5-year-old brother, Braden, apparently took it away Sunday in a fiery blast that left behind only charred walls at a Graham-area home.
For the boys, Sunday was supposed to be an ordinary four-hour visit with their dad, Josh Powell. A social worker drove the boys to Powell’s rental house about noon, and when she stopped the car, the kids ran ahead, according to accounts from state and local officials.
They said Powell let the boys into the house, then quickly shut the door – locking out the social worker who was supposed to supervise the visit. Minutes later, the house exploded in flames, in what law enforcement officials describe as an intentional act. Three bodies were found together in the same room in the middle of the house.
Pierce County sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said it was not known whether the children were killed before the explosion. Neighbors reported hearing popping noises that some said could have been gunshots; others said the sound could have come from the fire.
Troyer said messages from Josh Powell’s email account led officials to believe “this is intentional, this is planned.”
The Associated Press reported that Powell’s attorney received an email moments before the explosion saying, “I’m sorry, goodbye.”
Attorney Jeffrey Bassett said the message arrived at 12:05 p.m. but he didn’t see it until two hours later, when others informed him of the blast.
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