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Brother killed in apparent suicide was primary beneficiary of Powell family life insurance policy

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Michael Powell, the younger brother of Josh Powell, jumped off a parking ramp to his death in Minnesota this week. (Photo: Facebook) | Zoom
The man named by the late Josh Powell to receive the largest portion of the family's life insurance policy died Monday in an apparent suicide in Minnesota.

Michael Powell, the younger brother of Josh Powell, jumped to his death from a parking garage in downtown Minneapolis.

Josh Powell died last year in an explosion he set to kill himself and his two sons, 5-year-old Braden and 7-year-old Charlie. Powell was under investigation at the time for the disappearance of his 28-year-old wife, Susan Powell, who vanished from their West Valley City, Utah, home in December 2009. He claimed he had taken the boys on a midnight excursion in freezing temperatures the night she went missing.

Susan Powell has not been found.

Prior to his own suicide, Josh Powell changed the name of the primary beneficiary on a life insurance policy to his younger brother, Michael.

Seattle Attorney Anne Bremner, who represents Susan's parents, Chuck and Judy Cox, said Michael was set to receive $1.5 million.

"What I understand from the documents is that Josh put in Michael at 93 percent and his sister Alina at 4 percent, and a brother John at 3 percent," Bremner told KIRO Radio's Luke Burbank Show. "It's never been explained why Michael would have the lion share of the proceeds per Josh." The News Tribune reports that if Michael were to die, his portion would be split evenly between Alina and their father, Steven Powell.

Steven Powell is currently jailed in Pierce County after being convicted of voyeurism charges in June 2012. The case involved two neighbor girls he photographed without consent.

Bremner is part of a legal battle to secure the life insurance policy for the Cox family.

"The fact is Susan was the main beneficiary, and of course she was taken out by Josh Powell as beneficiary and Michael Powell was put in after she disappeared," Bremner said.

The News Tribune also reports there is a $1 million life insurance policy in Susan Powell's name that New York Life Insurance Co. would like the court to decide what do to with.

Bremner said the Coxes would like the money to be donated to a number of foundations they are associated with, including the Charlie and Braden Powell Foundation, named in honor of their grandsons.

"With everything bad that's happened to them they want something good to happen," Bremner said. "One would be Charlie and Braden's Law, whether it be changes in legislation to make sure that kids don't go unsupervised in the circumstances these kids did, like lambs to the slaughter to their deaths, but they also want to find their daughter, to have that period at the end of a sentence or that closure, and I think they will."

Jamie Skorheim, MyNorthwest.com Editor
Whether it's floating on Green Lake, eating shrimp tacos at Agua Verde, or taking weekend drives out to the Cascades, she loves to enjoy the Pacific Northwest lifestyle as much as humanly possible.
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