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Powell Murder Review Urges More Communication and Vigilance

OLYMPIA, Wash. - A new report on a high profile Pierce County, Washington murder-suicide concludes that cops and social workers should communicate better. Washington state's social service agency says the child fatality review, released Thursday, supports its belief that no one could have anticipated Josh Powell would kill his two young sons and himself. Correspondent Tom Banse reports.

A 12 member review panel scrutinized agency actions before the murder-suicide. In February, Josh Powell blew up his rental house in Graham, Washington while hosting a court-ordered visit with his two sons.

The case reviewers generally credit the relevant social workers for being diligent and following policy. But the murdered children's grandfather, Chuck Cox, calls the fatality review overly "generous."

"They have said that nobody could have foreseen this. Well, we did foresee it and we warned the West Valley (Utah) Police," Cox says. "We warned DSHS. We warned anyone who would listen what Josh was capable of."

Cox claims the suspicions he voiced about his son-in-law were ignored. The review committee made a series of recommendations to avoid a repeat of the tragedy. They include more information sharing between social workers and law enforcement and ongoing training about domestic violence.

On the Web:

DSHS Child Fatality Review:

http://www.dshs.wa.gov/pdf/ca/ecfr-powell.pdf

A Pierce County Sheriff's deputy stands guard outside the house where Josh Powell killed himself and his two young sons in February. Photo by Asuza Uchikura
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A Pierce County Sheriff's deputy stands guard outside the house where Josh Powell killed himself and his two young sons in February. Photo by Asuza Uchikura

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network

Tom Banse covers national news, business, science, public policy, Olympic sports and human interest stories from across the Northwest. He reports from well known and out–of–the–way places in the region where important, amusing, touching, or outrageous events are unfolding. Tom's stories can be found online and heard on-air during "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered" on NPR stations in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.