US man kills self, sons after 2 yrs of scrutiny over missing wife

Josh Powell's note was simple and short, a farewell to the world after two years of being scrutinised in the media, hammered by police and questioned by judges, prosecutors and social workers, living his life under a microscope since the day his wife vanished.

Just minutes before authorities say he set fire to his home, killing himself and his two young sons days after he was denied custody and ordered to undergo a psycho-sexual evaluation, Powell sent an email to his attorney.

"I'm sorry, goodbye,'' he wrote.

A social worker brought the two boys to Josh Powell's home Sunday for a supervised visit. Powell let his sons in, but blocked her from entering, Graham Fire and Rescue Chief Gary Franz said.

The social worker called her supervisors to report that she could smell gas. Moments later, the home burst into flames.

Susan Powell, a pretty 28-year-old mother of two, was reported missing December 7, 2009. Authorities in the couple's hometown of West Valley City, near Salt Lake City, turned their attention to Josh Powell. He repeatedly denied involvement. "I would never even hurt her,'' a tearful Josh Powell told CBS' Early Show in August.

About a month later, police spent 12 days in the Utah desert looking for clues. The search area was about 30 miles south of where Josh told police he went camping with his two children in the hours before his wife's disappearance his steadfast alibi.

On Sunday, the lawyer for Susan Powell's parents said the children had started talking about things they remembered from the night their mother vanished. "The oldest boy said they went camping and that Mommy was in the trunk. Mom and Dad got out of the car and Mom disappeared.''

Police turned up no clues in their desert search, but a day before ending it, Steven Powell, 61, was arrested and accused of secretly videotaping his daughter-in-law, and young girls taking baths in neighbourhood homes. The elder Powell is now jailed and facing child porn and voyeurism charges. He claimed he and Susan were falling in love and implied a sexual relationship. "Susan was very sexual with me,'' Steven Powell said earlier. "We interacted in a lot of sexual ways because Susan enjoys doing that.''

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