Blast Kills Husband Of Missing Utah Woman, 2 Boys

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stock photo of a residential house in Washington (credit:Karl Weatherly/Getty Images)

stock photo of a residential house in Washington (credit:Karl Weatherly/Getty Images)

GRAHAM, Wash. (AP) — An explosion at a Washington state home has killed Josh Powell, the husband of a missing Utah woman, plus their two young sons, officials said Sunday.

The explosion occurred moments after a Child Protective Services worker brought the two boys to the home for a supervised visit, Graham Fire and Rescue Chief Gary Franz told The Associated Press.

Powell let the boys in the house, then blocked the social worker from entering. The social worker called her supervisors to report that she could smell gas, and the home exploded.

“Everything we know right now, this has become a crime scene,” Franz said.

The children had been living with Susan Powell’s parents since Josh Powell’s father Steven was arrested on child porn and voyeurism charges last fall. On Wednesday, a judge had denied an attempt by Josh Powell to regain custody, saying she wouldn’t consider returning the two boys to their father until he underwent a psycho-sexual evaluation.

Josh Powell was under investigation in the disappearance of his 28-year-old wife from their West Valley City, Utah, home in December 2009. He claimed he had taken the boys on a midnight excursion in freezing temperatures when she vanished.

The case took a bizarre turn last year after Powell’s father, Steve, was arrested for investigation of voyeurism and possessing child pornography. Josh was living at his father’s home at the time, and a judge gave Susan Powell’s parents custody of the boys.

Sgt. Mike Powell of the West Valley City Police Department in Utah, which is handling the investigation into Susan Powell’s disappearance, said it was too soon to say how Josh Powell’s death may impact their probe.

“Quite frankly, this has obviously quickly unfolded up in Washington and we’re obviously just working through the details ourselves here,” Powell said Sunday.

“We are in contact with authorities,” Powell added. “It’s obviously an ongoing situation in Washington at this point.”

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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