Parents of missing Utah mom push new Wash. law

OLYMPIA — The parents of a missing Utah mother pushed Friday for changes in Washington state laws on custody cases, saying proposed legislation might have prevented the killing of their two grandchildren.

Chuck and Judy Cox testified before a state Senate committee considering a bill that would restrict or block visitation rights for someone who is the subject of a murder investigation.

They told lawmakers the legislation could have changed the course of the case involving their missing daughter, Susan Powell, whose husband, Josh Powell, killed himself and their young kids during a parental visit.

“Most likely, they would have officially named Josh Powell a suspect in order to afford Charlie and Braden more protection,” Chuck Cox said, referring to the grandchildren. The grandparents had custody of the two children.

Authorities in Utah had long been eyeing Josh Powell in the 2009 disappearance of his wife. Powell killed his children last year when they arrived at his home for a supervised visit.

Utah investigators never publicly declared Powell a suspect but treated him as one privately.

The proposed law in Washington would allow people involved in custody cases to demand information from law enforcement that might be relevant to decisions on visitation matters.

Republican Sen. Pam Roach, who is sponsoring the proposed bill, said it provides more tools for judges to restrict visitation. She noted that some visitations can be limited to just once a month in a public place — not in a private home.

“We need more parameters around our current law to give us a wake-up call and bring us back to common sense,” Roach said.

Rick Bartholomew, who testified on behalf of the Washington State Bar Association, said he supported the idea behind the bill but not the implementation.

He expressed concern that some investigations are left open for long periods of time and ultimately lead to the exoneration of parents, which could mean parents would be separated from their kids for extended periods of time, even if they did nothing wrong.

Bartholomew also said the rule requiring law enforcement to turn over details of an investigation during a custody case could harm the murder probe.

The suspect in a murder case could use the tool in order to get a glimpse inside that investigation, he said.

A committee of senators hearing the bill did not take a vote on the measure Friday.

More in Local News

Shock from WSU suicide ripples through Snohomish County

Roughly 1 in 10 seniors, sophomores and 8th-graders said they had attempted to take their own lives.

New leaders coming to county, state political parties

Hillary Moralez of Bothell takes over as chair for the Snohomish County Democratic Party.

Possible bobcat sighting keeps Snohomish students inside

The creature was spotted on the campus of Valley View Middle School around noon.

Derrick “Wiz” Crawford, 22, is a suspect in the homicide of his roommate. (Edmonds Police Department)
Roommate suspected in Edmonds killing found hiding in closet

Police had been searching for him for 10 days before locating him at a house in Everett.

Stabbing in Everett follows dispute between brothers-in-law

The victim, 54, was hospitalized. The suspect, 29, had not been apprehended Thursday.

Camano Island man gets 18 years for role in drug ring

He was convicted of helping lead a drug distribution network in four Washington counties.

Lake Stevens man missing since beginning of January

Jason Michael Knox White hasn’t used his credit card or withdrawn money from his bank since then.

Snohomish County’s emergency radios are breaking down

A plan to convert to digital equipment is in the works with an estimated cost of up to $75 million.

Former Monroe cop loses appeal on sex crimes conviction

Once a highly respected officer, he was found guilty of secretly videotaping his kids’ babysitter.

Most Read