Comforter In Powell Unit Tests Positive For Blood

Published February 11, 2012 4:18AM (EST)

SEATTLE (AP) — Police in Washington state who searched a storage unit rented by Josh Powell found a stained comforter that tested positive for blood in initial exams, according to documents filed in court Friday.

Pierce County detectives reported finding a gray-blue-pink comforter with a stain. The search warrant documents say the comforter tested positive for blood. Investigators planned to perform further tests.

Powell killed himself and his two young sons in a gas-fueled inferno Sunday, and Pierce County authorities consider the murder-suicide an admission that he killed his wife.

Investigators had considered Josh Powell a person of interest since his wife, Susan Powell, disappeared in Utah in 2009. At the time, Powell said he took his two sons ice camping in subfreezing temperatures.

Also on Friday, the sheriff's department released a timeline that spans from Saturday, the day before the blast, to Monday, the day after. Among the details that police are trying to determine is if Powell bought the gas cans at a local Fred Meyer store the night before the house fire.

This past week, investigators have tried to piece together Powell's last days, serving search warrants for his sister's cell phone and a local Bank of America branch where security cameras captured him withdrawing money.

Police also received tips from the public, such as a woman who noticed donated books had Josh and Susan Powell written in them.

On blood found on the comforter, Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist said presumptive tests are conducted with a field kit and that a determination of blood won't be confirmed until the item is examined in the lab.

"Field tests are not infallible," he said.

Lindquist said he expects the finding will be something law enforcement will share with colleagues in Utah who have been investigating Susan Powell's disappearance.

The comforter was the only item police kept from what they found in the storage facility, located in Sumner, a city about 12 miles from Graham, where Powell rented a home.

Investigators also found toys and kids' clothes in garbage bags, as well as framed pictures. Those items were given to Susan Powell's family.

In the warrant, the investigator wrote items were "returned to Cox family."


Baker reported from Olympia, Wash.

By Salon Staff

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