The explosion at the Washington home of Josh Powell that killed him and his two sons brought a tragic end for a family whose last two years were surrounded in mystery and conflict after wife and mom Susan Powell was reported missing by her husband.
Police in Graham, Wash. said Sunday that the explosion, which is believed to have been caused by a gas leak, was intentionally ignited by Powell. A Child Protective Services worker had just dropped off Powell's two sons Braden, 5, and Charles, 7, at the house for a supervised visit. When they arrived Powell brought the boys inside and quickly locked the door. Seconds later the house exploded.
Susan Powell was last seen on Dec. 6, 2009. Since she disappeared, a series of escalating events involving Josh Powell, his father Steve Powell and Susan Powell's parents Chuck and Judy Cox led to Sunday's tragic murder/suicide.
Weekend of Dec, 6-7, 2009: Susan Powell, then 28, is last seen at the West Valley City, Utah, home she shared with her husband and their two young sons. Josh Powell told authorities that he had decided take an impromptu midnight camping trip the boys -- in the midst of a blizzard -- the night his wife vanished. Powell says that he returned home to find his wife gone; that Monday she did not show up to her job at Wells Fargo Financial.
Dec. 24, 2009: After two weeks of investigations that involved searches of the Powell's home and interviews with the two boys -- who confirmed the camping trip they'd taken with their father -- police name Josh Powell a "person of interest" in his wife's disappearance.
While searching the house, investigators found two fans drying a wet area on the rug, where a red stain had been removed. Josh Powell said that his wife had been cleaning the rug before she disappeared.
His father Steven Powell publicly theorizes that Susan had skipped town with a man from St. George, Utah, who also disappeared from a Christmas party abruptly the same night she vanished.
November 2010: In an interview with the Salt Lake Tribune, Josh Powell says that he blames Susan's family for causing her to leave under pressure.
"She knows she will be chewed up like hamburger when she comes back," Powell said. "She can't come back with them treating her this way … They want her to be perfect, a saint with no fallibility."
January 2010: Josh Powell moves with his two sons to Puyallup, Wash. -- the town where both he and Susan grew up -- where he lived in a house with his father. Josh Powell maintained that his wife left on her own; during the investigation he described his wife as "extremely unstable" and claims her mental illness led to her disappearance.
Aug. 18, 2011: A possible break in the case leads investigators to search abandoned mine shafts near Ely, Nev., which is more than 200 miles southwest of the family's home in of West Valley -- but no remains are found.
Aug. 20, 2011: Steven Powell and Susan's father Chuck Cox get into a shouting match at a Puyallup, Wash. remembrance rally for Susan. Steve Powell confronts Chuck Cox at the rally, calling him a "liar" and a "cyber bully."
Speaking with the local media, Josh Powell says he does not appreciate the rally being near his home.
"Putting this in my neighborhood is not appropriate," Powell said. "They're trying to push an agenda. ... I don't know what happened to her. There are 1,000 different theories that people need to consider in strong and serious ways."