WEST VALLEY — Tuesday marked one year since Josh Powell took the lives of his children and his own in a fire in Washington state.
Powell was long called a person of interest in the disappearance of his wife, Susan Powell. The woman was reported missing on Dec. 7, 2009. While detectives worked to uncover the details of Susan's mysterious disappearance, Josh Powell's father, Steven Powell, was arrested and charged with voyeurism and later named as a person of interest. On Feb. 5, 2012, Josh Powell killed himself and his two children, Charlie and Braden, in a house fire.
In the year since the Powell boys' deaths, Steven Powell has taken legal action to preserve his silence. Deputies in Washington have been forced to work on the case through his lawyers after the senior Powell filed a notice with the court.
"We've been served paperwork by his attorneys not to contact him, so he's no longer anybody that we can address or speak with," said Pierce County, Washington Sheriff's Office Spokesman Ed Troyer. "It's not for a lack of trying by the police agencies, trying to get more information. It's just not going to happen."
Evidence related to the case was found in Washington, where Steven and Josh Powell moved with the two boys after Susan's disappearance.
Steven Powell was convicted for 14 counts of voyeurism in May. In a June sentencing hearing, two counts were dismissed and he was sentenced to 30 months in jail.
Steven Powell's estranged daughter, Jennifer Graves, was a close friend of Susan's. She hopes the answers come as she fights to let go of the feelings and memories.
"I think definitely he was involved in it," she said of her father.
Graves had hoped to raise the Powell boys before their deaths.
"I've got five children. I was hoping to have seven," Graves said.
Chuck Cox, Susan's father, has threatened to sue for records to keep the investigation churning. He said police have missed clues and that a private investigation remains on the back burner.
"We were considering (a private investigation)," Cox said. "We still do consider that. Right now, the police are still investigating."
An assistant chief with the West Valley Police Department said officers are still following up on leads and the case is progressing, though they did not offer more details.
Meantime, Susan's friend Kiirsi Hellewell, of West Valley, is planning a vigil for her friend's sons.
"She was my best friend and she was the kind of person that you don't get to meet very often in your life, and I know she would do the same for me," she said.
Tuesday, Hellewell and the community will sing songs, say a few words and remember the young mother and her sons who have touched people all around the world.
"Just to tell her how much I love her, how much we all love her and how much the whole world has come to love her," Hellewell said of the vigil.