Susan Cox Powell’s family can proceed with lawsuit over sons’ deaths

Local News
susan powell

SEATTLE (ABC4 News) – An appeals court determined a lawsuit filed by the family of Susan Cox Powell’s family can proceed.

Susan Cox Powell’s parents, Judith and Charles Cox, filed a lawsuit against the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services claiming negligence after Powell’s children were murdered by their father during a social-worker-supervised visit.

On February 5, 2012, a social worker brought the children to Josh Powell’s home for a scheduled visit.

“As they had done on prior visits, the boys, anxious to see their father, ran into the house ahead of the visitation supervisor,” court documents state. Josh Powell then locked the door to prevent the visitation supervisor from entering the home and then bludgeoned the boys to death before setting the house on fire and killing himself.

The Coxes’ lawsuit accuses the social workers of disregarding facts that showed Josh presented a serious risk of harm to the boys. The lawsuit also claims DSHS failed to investigate and monitor Joshua prior to and during the visits.

Court documents state a psychologist evaluated Josh between October 2011 and January 2012. The psychologists’ initial report “registered concerns about some of Josh’s behaviors but concluded supervised visits should continue.”

In 2012, the psychologist created an addendum to his report that concluded Josh “may not presently be a stable and appropriate resource for his children.”

Court documents also state the Coxes told the social workers about their concerns Josh would harm the boys.

The court’s conclusion: “Material issues of fact exist regarding whether DSHS used reasonable care to avoid placing the boys in harm’s way including determining Joshua’s visitation location, facilitating the February 5, 2012 visitation, and training its social workers to conduct visitations.”

The court’s ruling Thursday reversed a lower court’s decision to dismiss the lawsuit, so the case can go to trial.

Susan Cox Powell disappeared in 2009. Her husband Josh later moved to Washington and remained a person of interest up until his death in 2012. 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Latest News Videos

911 dispatchers use innovative approach to respond to domestic violence calls

Thumbnail for the video titled "911 dispatchers use innovative approach to respond to domestic violence calls"

Video shows moment National Guard finds missing kayakers

Thumbnail for the video titled "Video shows moment National Guard finds missing kayakers"

Earthlings descend on tiny Nevada town for ‘Storm Area 51’

Thumbnail for the video titled "Earthlings descend on tiny Nevada town for ‘Storm Area 51’"

Make-A-Wish Drive for Wishes campaign, driving through Utah to grant wishes

Thumbnail for the video titled "Make-A-Wish Drive for Wishes campaign, driving through Utah to grant wishes"

DNA technology available at Utah State Crime lab changing how we look at forensic evidence

Thumbnail for the video titled "DNA technology available at Utah State Crime lab changing how we look at forensic evidence"
More Video News

Don't Miss

The Mel Robbins Show

Trending Stories