New details emerged Tuesday in the explosion that killed the husband of missing Utah mom Susan Cox-Powell and their two sons on Sunday.
Autopsies showed that Josh Powell and his sons, five-year-old Braden and seven-year-old Charlie, died from carbon monoxide poisoning in the fire that authorities believe Powell started, but the boys suffered hatchet wounds first. Investigators also found two five-gallon cans of gasoline in what was left of Powell’s Washington state home after the explosion.
ABC News obtained a voicemail message reportedly left by Powell for relatives 20 minutes before the fire. “I am not able to live without my sons,” the message said, according to ABC News. Powell also sent an email to his attorney saying, “I’m sorry. Goodbye.”
Timeline: The Powell family saga
Other reports indicate that Powell, who has been called a person of interest in Susan’s December 2009 disappearance, may have been planning his actions for days. According to the News Tribune, Powell gave away some of his sons’ toys and books days earlier. Powell had been ordered last week to submit to a psychosexual evaluation before he could regain custody of the children.
Susan’s parents, who have had custody since last fall, told the Seattle Times that the boys were unusually resistant to leave for their court-ordered visitation on Sunday. "They liked seeing their dad. But the last time they didn't want to go,” Chuck Cox said, according to the Times.
Denise Cox, Susan’s sister, said on HLN’s “Nancy Grace” Monday that she “absolutely” feared Josh would hurt the children. She added that the children had recently started talking more about what happened to their mother on the night she was last seen, when Powell said he took the boys on a late-night camping trip and Susan was gone when they returned.
A Cox family attorney said the older son once drew a picture that showed the family in their van and Susan in the trunk. “The dad was driving the van, he and his brother were in the backseat and mom was in the trunk,” attorney Steve Downing said.
West Valley City Police Chief Buzz Nielsen told HLN Monday that the investigation into Susan Cox-Powell’s disappearance is still active despite Sunday’s events and that he has promised her parents he will not give up the search for answers.
For the latest on this case, watch "Nancy Grace" tonight at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. EST on HLN.
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