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Judge: Lawsuit over death of Powell children will go forward

Charlie and Braden Powell were killed in their father's Puyallup home during a supervised visitation in 2012. (AP photo)

A judge in Tacoma refused to dismiss a wrongful death lawsuit against the state for its actions before Josh Powell killed his two young sons.

The family of the boys’ mother, Susan Cox-Powell, claims the state Department of Social and Health Services failed to protect the children from their father.

KIRO Radio’s Don O’Neill:
“I know Chuck Cox (Charlie and Braden’s grandfather) and it’s not about the money, it’s about change. And maybe they want it to go to trial so that it brings about change.”

The state had argued that there was no way to anticipate that Powell would kill his children, Charlie and Braden, and then himself during what was supposed to be a supervised visitation in 2012. In a statement, DSHS spokesman Mindy Chambers said “we continue to be certain that our social workers were not responsible for this tragedy.”

Josh Powell was suspected in the disappearance of his wife, Susan, in Utah in 2009 but was never arrested.

A superior court judge in Tacoma Frday gave no specific reason for his ruling, but the decision means the civil case will go forward. Another court hearing is scheduled in five weeks.

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