A Light in Dark Places In December, 2009, Susan Cox Powell was reported missing from her home in West Valley City, Utah. As law enforcement tried to piece together what had happened to Susan, her husband, Josh Powell, became the only person of interest in the case. For Jennifer Graves, Josh’s sister, the nightmare started long before Susan’s disappearance. From her experiences growing up in the Powell family to the terrifying moment when she first started to believe her brother was a killer, she relied on her faith to stay strong. She devoted herself to the safety of Susan’s boys, Charlie and Braden, whom she hoped to be able to raise as her own. When the boys were murdered by their father in February, 2012, Jennifer was more than devastated, but she had to believe there was a reason for it all—including the deaths of her beloved nephews. In A Light In Dark Places, Jennifer shares her struggles and her triumphs. In coming to terms with such tragedy she finally was able to embrace the truth that we all have the power to choose our own path—and there is always hope, no matter how dark things may seem.
Jennifer Graves is the mother of 5 beautiful children, 2 girls and 3 boys. She and her husband have been happily married for 19 years and together have been active in their community and church. Jennifer is the sister of Josh Powell who killed his 2 sons, Charlie and Braden, as well as himself in February of 2012, and is also believed to have killed his wife, Susan Cox Powell, in December of 2009. She is the recipient of the 2013 ChainBreaker of the year Award, given for breaking the chain of abuse and violence in her family. She enjoys homeschooling their children and mentoring in classes for the commonwealth school they attend. She also loves reading, playing card and board games, and learning new things. Most of all she loves to spend time with her husband and children. They currently reside in West Jordan, UT.
Black diamond (cards) Black diamond (cards) Black diamond (cards)Emily Clawson is an author, a mother and a mentor. She traditionally writes inspirational fiction. This book has been a life changing experience for her and she is grateful to have been a part of telling this story. She resides in Taylorsville with her husband and four children where they run their leadership mentoring programs for youth.
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As a father, he was a boiling teapot and would blow his lid every once in a while. He would be calm for a time, and then all hell would break loose. We never knew which dad we were going to get: the dad who sang songs and told stories or the ranting, terrifying one.
In a supplemental statement during the divorce proceedings, Mom described this behavior:
“Steve also had a pronounced habit of ignoring behaviors in the children that bothered him, sometimes over a period of days or weeks. Of course, they [took] his silence as permission; after all, he was observing them. Then, suddenly, he would become outraged and react far more violently than was necessary or fair. He would yell at them and call them names, and be too physically rough with them, such as spanking them with too much force and far too long, or shaking them or dragging them around.”
This happened frequently with me, Josh, and John. Josh was the most targeted, though. According to Mom, there were years that my dad pointedly attacked Josh on a regular basis, nearly every day. It’s true that Josh was a strong-willed boy, but wasn’t there any positive way to handle him?
My dad didn’t appear interested in trying the softer approach in any area of parenting, though. This was clear in the way that he handled one specific area.
The three of us oldest children all had troubles with wetting the bed. Dad decided he was going to “cure” us of our problems. He would come into my room every morning, early, while I was still sleeping, to check my bed. If it was wet, I would be awakened by my dad picking me up to carry me to the bathroom, where he would fill the tub with icy-cold water.
I remember cowering on the floor while the tub filled, the linoleum cold against my legs. I pulled my damp nightgown down over my legs, trying to stay warm.
“I’m sorry, Daddy. I won’t do it again,” I whimpered. He ignored me, bending down to shut off the water. I clutched the nightgown more closely as he turned back to face me.
“Please.” Then my words were gone, and I cried out as he pulled my nightgown over my head. He tossed it aside, then scooped me up in his arms. The water took my breath away, and I fought him.
But no matter how much I would cry and beg and fight, he wouldn’t relent until I had lain down and let the frigid water cover me up to my neck. Only then could I get out. It was horrid and completely ineffective as a cure for bedwetting. I know he did the same thing to my brothers.
Later, I overheard Mom arguing with him. “It’s not working. And it’s so harsh,” she said. But he didn’t care what she thought. The torment went on for months.