But his sister insists Josh and Susan's sons are better off with maternal grandparents

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated October 06, 2011 09:30 AM
Chris Detrick/The Salt Lake Tribune/AP; Amber Hardman/AP

Terrica Powell faces family woes that few others have to endure.

And now Josh Powell’s mother is lending her support to her son as he fights to regain custody of his boys – Charlie, 6, and Braden, 4 – after they were removed from the home Josh and the youngsters shared with Josh’s father, Steven Powell, who was arrested Sept. 22. The boys are now living with their maternal grandparents, Chuck and Judy Cox.

Josh Powell, is a “loving and very engaged father,” Terrica, 56, stated in a declaration recently filed in Pierce County Superior Court in Tacoma, Wash., reports the Salt Lake City Tribune. Charlie and Braden, she also said, are “happy, well-adjusted and vibrant children … even though they miss their mother,” Susan Powell, who has been missing for nearly two years.

Praising Josh’s parenting, Terrica says in the declaration, “Josh has long maintained a tradition of frequent activities with the kids, such as going to the zoo, or to the park to feed the ducks, or to the museum, or to Lowe’s for the little building projects they offer for kids.”

Noting that the boys are doing well, “despite the trauma and sadness of missing their beloved mother,” Terrica says, “They seem to be continuing to thrive.”

Meanwhile, her son Josh is a person of interest in the case, while her ex-husband Steven Powell in jail and facing charges of child-porn possession and voyeurism.

Terrica’s position is being challenged by her daughter, Jennifer Graves, with whom Terrica lives. Jennifer filed her own declaration, according to the Tribune, and says she supports the boys living with the Coxes. Jennifer also says her father’s arrest did not surprise her and that as a child she was exposed to her father’s pornography addiction.

In her declaration, Jennifer Graves states: “I believe that Josh is responsible for Susan’s disappearance. Leaving the children in his primary care poses a serious and substantial risk of harm to these children.”

Adding that her family has a history of bipolar and schizophrenic disorders, Jennifer says, “I believe that my brother has been exhibiting signs of serious mental health problems since Susan’s disappearance.”