SEATTLE -- As authorities uncover more details about what Josh Powell did before setting the fire that killed him and his two young sons, Josh Powell's aunt and uncle released a statement, saying there's no justification for the loss of two innocent children. But they were also sympathetic to Powell, saying "internet kangaroo courts" and the media helped set the tragedy in motion.
In the statement released Wednesday, Maurice and Patti Leach states:
"When we arrived in the state of Washington we believed in America's legal system. After witnessing how broken the system was and the events that took place before our eyes, both inside the court room and outside, we left for home in disillusionment of the legal system and concern for our family's posterity."
Josh Powell's uncle and aunt write that they feel what happened Sunday was set into motion, in part, by "religious bias, the internet kangaroo courts, and sensationalized news media." Other members of Powell's family have said messages on social media critical of Josh Powell contributed too.
Below is the full statement released Wednesday by Josh Powell's uncle and aunt, Maurice and Patti Leach:
We are grievously saddened at the loss that the Cox and Powell families have suffered. There is no justification for the loss of two innocent children, Charles and Braden.
Josh had asked us to step in and offer our support in helping him as the next patriarchs of the family with the absence of Steve, his father. We were also asked by Josh if we would offer a safe haven for his sons should the need arise; our answer was absolutely yes.
We felt that Josh represented himself using a great deal of restraint with patience and dignity at his children's custody hearing, even though it did not work out in his favor. Our family's suggestions to Josh both before and after the hearing were that if he had any credible facts, no matter how disturbing, he should present it so that due process would be possible. We believe that Josh continued to use this restraint because of the fear of losing his sons and the love he had for all of his family members that he so desperately tried to protect.
When we arrived in the state of Washington we believed in America's legal system. After witnessing how broken the system was and the events that took place before our eyes, both inside the court room and outside, we left for home in disillusionment of the legal system and concern for our family's posterity.
In our hearts and minds we feel that this family tragedy was set into motion from the beginning due in part to the various questionable government agencies' practices, religious bias, the internet kangaroo courts, and sensationalized news media, all of whom have circumvented the laws that protect all of our rights to due process. We believe that the stewardship of the responsibilities that have been entrusted to those organizations and individuals has been completely compromised.
America, this is not only a tragedy, Sunday was a dark day for all of our families.
Uncle Maurice, Aunt Patti
P.S. Josh, Susan, Charles, and Braden, you will always remain in our hearts.
Investigators are calling what happened Sunday a double murder-suicide.
Investigators have searched a storage unit in Sumner that reportedly belong to Josh Powell, about 15 miles away from the home he was renting in Graham. Another focus for investigators is a $7,000 bank Withdrawal Powell made Saturday.
A public funeral service for the Powell children will be held Saturday, February 11 beginning at 11 a.m. at the Life Center Church, 1717 S Union Avenue in Tacoma.
The service was initially planned for The Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Puyallup, but funeral home officials said the service needed to move to a larger venue. The time is 11 a.m., not 1 p.m. announced earlier.