Area residents gathered at McKinley Park on Feb. 6 for a tribute to two young boys killed by their father the previous day. Charlie Powell, 7, and Braden Powell, 5, died along with their father Josh Powell after he attacked the boys and set his home on fire.
Josh Powell was a person of interest in the disappearance of his wife Susan Cox Powell in 2009, when the family lived in West Valley City, Utah. Her parents, Chuck and Judy Cox, had been the boys' primary caregivers since last September. A Pierce County judge had granted Josh Powell supervised visitations with his children.
On Sunday, a contracted social worker picked up the boys at their South Hill home and drove them to their father's rental home in Graham. Josh Powell let them in and abruptly locked the door, preventing the social worker from entering to supervise the visit. Minutes later the house exploded in flames.
The horrific crime shocked people around the region, particularly those with ties to the family. One of them is East Side resident and community volunteer Larry Scheidt. He had been working on an addition to the Cox home and saw the boys every time he was there.
He and his wife Lynette Scheidt organized a candlelight vigil. She said the park had much significance to the boys because they would often go to the park to walk the trails and interact with nature. "They thought this was the coolest place on Earth," she remarked.
The people lit candles and sang "Amazing Grace."
She briefly addressed those who gathered in the park. "There is evil out there but good prevails," Scheidt remarked.
Her granddaughter Megan Scheidt was among those in attendance. She did not know the children but was clearly impacted by their tragic death. "It is a good turnout," she said. "We have a lot of people showing their support."
Pierce County Sheriff's detectives are now piecing together the days leading up to the tragedy, while Utah investigators continue to search for clue to what happened to Cox, who is still listed as a missing person.
Services for the boys will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday at Tacoma's Life Center Church.