SEATTLE -- CrimeStoppers of Tacoma-Pierce County has purchased the cemetery plots on either side of the gravesite of Charlie and Braden Powell to ensure that their father, Josh Powell, will not be buried next to them.
The move was in reaction to reports that Powell's family wants to have him buried near his sons, whom he killed in a gasoline-fueled fire on Feb. 5, said Pierce County sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Ed Troyer. The two boys were buried Saturday in a single gravesite at Woodbine Cemetery in Puyallup.
CrimeStoppers has set up a fund to help pay for the two grave sites.
Powell's surviving relatives want him buried at the same cemetery, Puyallup City Manager Ralph Dannenberg said Wednesday.
Powell's relatives visited the public cemetery and selected a plot about 25 feet away, just across a road from the boys, Dannenberg told The Associated Press. They haven't paid for it yet, and any sale is being put on hold because the parents of Powell's missing wife have promised legal action.
"We don't have any rules or procedures regarding refusing plots to anyone," Dannenberg said. "We're going to wait to see what the outcome is in court."
Powell was a suspect in Susan Powell's 2009 disappearance from their home in West Valley City, Utah. He attacked his sons with a hatchet and destroyed a rental house in a gas-fueled blaze, killing himself and the two boys.
Anne Bremner, lawyer for the boys' grandparents, Chuck and Judy Cox, said that she first learned of the CrimeStoppers effort while she was working on a temporary restraining order to bar Josh Powell's burial from at least 25 feet of the boys' plot.
"Ed (Troyer) had called me when I was starting to work on a temporary restraining order. We were very appreciative," Bremner said.
Bremner said that she's unsure whether she will continue the push to keep Powell's remains out of the cemetery, or whether the move by CrimeStoppers is enough for the Cox family. If the family wants to bar Powell's remains from being buried anywhere in the cemetery, Bremner said that she will file a temporary restraining order with the court on Thursday.
"It's just awful. How in the world in terms of decency could anybody think it would be something to ever consider?" Bremner said.
The boys were laid to rest in a single casket on Saturday, with more than 1,000 mourners in attendance, and the Coxes hope to bury Susan Powell there too if her remains are ever found.
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