Sister: Children should be kept away from Josh Powell

Sister: Children should be kept away from Josh Powell »Play Video
Jennifer Graves talks to reporters during a break in a court hearing on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2011, in Tacoma, Wash. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
TACOMA, Wash. -- The estranged sister of Josh Powell said Wednesday that she believes her brother is responsible for Susan Powell's disappearance, and she is glad the couple's children are no longer in Josh's care.

"They were really happy to see us," Jennifer Graves said of the two young boys. "It was so fun. We read stories, we played some games, they warmed right up to us."

Graves was at Pierce County Superior Court on Wednesday where a judge ruled that it was not safe for the kids to be returned to Josh Powell.

Child Protective Services granted temporary custody to Susan's parents following the arrest of Josh's father, Steven Powell, but Josh had been fighting to keep the children.

Steven is facing charges of child pornography and voyeurism, and in court on Tuesday a state attorney said Josh Powell was also a subject of the investigation.

Josh vigorously denied the allegations and said he never saw any pornography at the house he shared with his father in Puyallup. But his sister said she doesn't want to see the children back in his home.

"I think he's responsible for his wife's disappearance," Graves said. "More than ever, I'm convinced that (the boys) shouldn't be with Josh, and they certainly never should have been with my dad."

Police have named Josh Powell as a person of interest in Susan Powell's disappearance, but he has never been arrested or charged.

Graves said she hopes the children might be able to help find Susan, who disappeared in December 2009.

"I think if there is something there maybe the boys could shed some light on it if we get them before some psychologist and things," she said.

Josh Powell said he last saw his wife before he left with their two boys, then ages 2 and 4, to go on a midnight camping trip in freezing temperatures on the Pony Express Trail, about 80 miles west of Salt Lake City.

Police spent days searching for Susan in the desert in Utah and Nevada, but she still has not been found.

In court, Josh Powell insisted he was not involved in his wife's disappearance.

"I did not kill my wife as has been alleged," he said. "I love my wife. I want my wife back."

Graves said she's worried that her brother might also be involved in the pornography case that has already led to her father's arrest.

"I don't know how you could be in that house and not know about some degree of it," she said.

Prosecutors said that for at least a decade, Steven Powell had been secretly filming women, including Susan Powell, and that he shot footage of two young neighbor girls as they took baths and sat on the toilet.

Court documents showed that pornography was also a major factor in Steven Powell's 1992 divorce.

"I've known my dad's character for a long time. That's why we chose to stay away from him," Graves said. "We chose our children not to have a personal relationship with him. We made that decision a long time ago and, let me tell you, we're really really grateful that we did."

At the custody hearing on Wednesday afternoon, Josh Powell said the children were in no danger in his care. But Judge Kathryn Nelson said in her ruling that "the children cannot be safely returned home at this time."

The children will remain with Susan's parents, but Nelson said she would allow Josh to have limited supervised visits.