Civil Trial To Start For Social Services After Missing Mom Susan Cox Powell's Kids Killed In Their Care

The grandparents of Susan Cox Powell's children are filing a suit against the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services.

By Gina Tron
Preview
The Disappearance of Susan Cox Powell: Steve Powell's Disturbing Obsession

A civil trial against the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services, which is related to the mysterious disappearance of Susan Cox Powell and the murder of her young sons, has been set.

Susan vanished in 2009, and her body has yet to be found.

While suspicion turned to her husband, Josh Powell, he was never charged in connection to Susan's disappearance, and in 2012, he killed himself and their two children in a fiery explosion at his home in Graham, Washington.

Shortly before their deaths, Josh lost custody of his sons in an unrelated case, and they were sent to live with Susan's parents, Charles and Judy Cox, reported ABC News. Josh, however, was still allowed to have supervised visitation with them several times a week.

On Feb. 5, 2012, a social worker brought Charlie, 7, and Braden, 5, to a supervised visit at his rental property. The boys ran ahead into the home, and Josh locked out the social worker. She smelled gasoline and called 911, but it was too late. Moments later, the house exploded, killing the three inside, reported CBS News.

Charles and Judy Cox filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Washington’s Department of Social and Health Services in 2012, claiming that their alleged negligence was a contributing factor to their grandsons' deaths, according to KOMO News.

The trial for that case has been set for Feb. 10, 2020.

The lawsuit was originally thrown out in 2015, but the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals gave it life again this year.

Although it is still unknown what happened to Susan, several disturbing details about the case have been uncovered over the years. During the investigation, police discovered that Josh’s father, Steve Powell, had a sexual infatuation with his daughter-in-law and that he had made hundreds of hours’ worth of homemade videos, often documenting his obsession. 

Several of these videos aired for the first time as part of “The Disappearance of Susan Cox Powell," streaming now on Oxygen. 

Though Steve's behavior is extremely disturbing, he was never formally charged in connection with Susan’s case. He was, however, found guilty of 14 counts of voyeurism in 2012 for taking inappropriate images of neighborhood girls showering and using bathrooms and sentenced to two and a half years in prison, reported ABC News.

Because Josh and his sons were living with his father at the time Steve was arrested, the boys were removed from the home. At that point, a custody battle began between Josh and Charles and Judy Cox.

Coxes' attorney claims that the state should have paid attention to "red flags" that Josh was a danger to his sons, according to KOMO.

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