CRIME

Josh Powell Updates: Father Used House As Front To Fool Social Workers, Did Not Live There

02/15/2012 04:41 pm ET

The house Josh Powell burned down in the alleged murder-suicide of his two sons was nothing more than a prop, detectives told neighbors earlier this week.

Authorities believe that the husband of missing mother Susan Powell rented the Graham, Wash. residence as a front to meet with his sons during supervised visits chaperoned by social workers, The News Tribune reports. Pierce County sheriff's detectives made the announcement to local residents at a public meeting on Monday.

"He set it up like a rental place, with pictures of the family," Sgt. Denny Wood said, according to CBS. "I think it was staged so when [Child Protective Services] came, it would look like a loving family."

It is unclear where Powell lived while he was not at the rented house, the New York Daily News reports.

Powell failed to regain custody of his sons -- Charlie, 7, and Braden, 5 -- after a Feb. 1 court hearing. On Feb. 5, police found the father and his two sons dead inside the home. The boys were reportedly beaten with a hatchet before their father set fire to the home, which he had rigged as bomb.

Authorities continue their search for the boys' mother, Susan Powell, who went missing in 2009.

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Josh And Susan Powell

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