As Josh Powell’s family tries to comprehend what led him to blow up his Tacoma, Wash.-area home while he was in it with his two sons, his cousin says Powell endured mounting stress over accusations he killed his missing wife.
“I will tell you that Josh was terrorized,” Nathan Leach tells The Salt Lake Tribune.
Powell had been cyber-bullied on Facebook following the 2009 disappearance of his wife Susan, says Leach.
“I’m sure there are people out there who would consider this appropriate, given the mass assumption of his guilt,” he says. “We all want to see criminals pay for what they have done. But when evidence lacks for due process to make this happen, is this the appropriate method of alternate prosecution?”
Adds Leach: “Everybody spends their time enjoying … some sick form of entertainment while posting Bible scriptures to justify themselves the reason for which they are finding so much enjoyment.”
Powell was long a person of interest in Susan’s disappearance, but was not arrested or charged. He took his own life and those of their children, Charlie, 7, and Braden, 5, on Sunday.
Days earlier, a family court judge told Powell that he was not likely to get custody of his sons – who were in the care of their maternal grandparents – any time soon, and that he needed to undergo a psychological review.
Before the explosion, Powell sent an email to Leach and other family members that read, “I’m sorry. Goodbye.”