In November of 2000, Joshua Powell met Susan Cox at a dinner party, and the pair began a whirlwind romance. Just 5 months later in April of 2001, the couple exchanged marriage vows in a ceremony at the Church of Latter Day Saints Temple in Portland, Oregon. Shortly after the marriage, the Powells relocated to West Valley City, Utah and had two sons, Charles and Braden.
On December 7, 2009, the Powell family was reported missing after Charles and Braden weren’t dropped off at daycare and Susan missed her shift at work. Josh Powell returned home with his sons on the evening of December 7th and claimed that the family went on a last minute camping trip in western Utah. Joshua also claimed that Susan had returned with them, but he was unaware of her whereabouts after they returned. Although there was substantial circumstantial evidence implicating Joshua Powell in the disappearance of his wife, he was not arrested for the crime.
In 2010, Joshua Powell relocated with his children to his father’s home in Puyallup, Washington. Josh and his father, Steven, claimed that Susan had run off with another man and started a new life, a claim that Susan’s family vehemently denied. In September of 2011, Steven Powell was arrested for taking video of his underage neighbors while they were in the bathroom. Due to this incident, custody of Charles and Braden was given to Susan Powell’s father, Chuck Cox. In late 2011, Joshua Powell was granted visitation rights with his children as long as a court-ordered social worker was present. In October of 2011, Joshua Powell moved into a 3 bedroom rental home at the end of a cul-de-sac. According to the Zillow listing for the property, rent was $1,100 a month.
On February 5, 2012, a social worker brought Charles and Braden, aged 7 and 5, to Josh Powell’s home for his court-ordered supervised visitation. Joshua Powell grabbed Charles and Braden from the social worker and refused to let her inside. She immediately called 911 to report the incident, but before police could respond the home exploded, eliminating the possibility that the children would be recovered alive.
The investigation into the explosion uncovered that it was deliberately set. Although their official cause of death was carbon monoxide poisoning from the fire, Charles and Braden both had “chopping injuries” to their heads and necks, and an axe was found near Joshua’s body. Susan Powell remains officially a missing person, though due to the events following her disappearance, it is widely believed that Joshua Powell was responsible for her disappearance and murder.