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Josh Powell Murder-Suicide: 911 dispatcher reprimanded for handling of emergency call, report says

Josh Powell & Children
Josh Powell and children, inset; home in Graham, Wash. that Powell blew up, killing all three of them on Feb. 5, 2012.

(CBS) SALT LAKE CITY - A Washington State dispatcher has been reprimanded for allowing 22 minutes to pass before help arrived after taking a social worker's 911 call just before Josh Powell killed himself and his children in a home explosion.

PICTURES: Missing Utah Mother Susan PowellPICTURES: Missing Utah mom's kids, husband die in alleged murder-suicide

The Salt Lake Tribune reports dispatcher David Lovrak violated four Law Enforcement Support Agency policies in his handling of the call.

A supervisor for Lovrak wrote in a reprimand letter, obtained by the paper through a public records request, that he did correctly assign the call a priority that indicated an "imminent danger to life or property."

The written reprimand was put in Lovrak's personnel file. There were already four other rebukes including tardiness and misuse of a messaging system, most recently in 2007.

"The public trust has been shaken," the supervisor wrote in the letter.

Lovrak took the 911 call on Feb. 5 from social worker Elizabeth Griffin-Hall, who was locked out of Josh Powell's rental home. She was supposed to be supervising a visit with Powell and his sons, in Graham, Wash.

The dispatcher asked Griffin-Hall supposedly irrelevant questions and failed to grasp the situation. When the social worker said she smelled gas, Lovrak assumed she was smelling the fumes of her own idling car, the letter says.

He told her at the end of the call that deputies "have to respond to emergencies, life-threatening situations first."

Powell, who was under suspicion for his wife Susan Powell's 2009 disappearance, killed himself and his sons after he doused the house with gasoline, hit the boys with a hatchet and set the home on fire.

If the outcome of the call had been different, assistant director Diana Lock wrote, he may have gotten a less serious reprimand.

Complete Coverage of Susan Powell on Crimesider


  • Crimesider Staff

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