It’s always hard for us to cover unfunny news on 8BitDad, but our commitment to reporting on fatherhood compels us to share a terrible story about Josh Powell – a Washington father that has apparently set his house on fire on Sunday, killing himself and his two children. This comes years after his wife not-so-mysteriously disappeared.

This tough-to-read story starts in 2009, when Josh’s wife, Susan Cox-Powell, disappeared. Josh was a suspect in her disappearance, and immediately moved his children from their home in Utah to Washington. And even up to last month, police in Utah were still attempting to find Susan Cox-Powell.

Josh Powell was in what CNN calls a “bitter custody dispute” with the Cox family over the children. And though primary custody was given to the Cox family after Powell’s father’s arrest, Powell still received supervised visitation with the kids. Powell’s father, Steven, was arrested and charged with 14 counts of voyeurism and one count of possessing images of children engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

Sometime later, after the Cox family’s custody helped the kids open up a little (including some insight into the possibility of how their mother was killed), a social worker brought the kids to their father’s house for his visitation. Once on the doorstep, Powell pushed the social worker back, pushed the kids into the home and locked the door. The social worker pounded on the door, then returned to the car to call her supervisor. The house then exploded.

To make matters worse, CNN reports that “autopsies showed [Josh’s] sons, 5-year-old Braden and 7-year-old Charlie, suffered ‘chop’ injuries to their necks, but medical examiners concluded both boys and their father died from inhaling carbon monoxide, the county medical examiner’s office reported.” Because of this, Josh’s death is being ruled a suicide, while the deaths of the two sons are ruled as homicides.

In the minutes before the house exploded, friends of Josh Powell received e-mails from him, some saying, as did the one to his attorney, “I’m sorry. Goodbye.” Others outlined his “end of life business.”

This is the worst kind of tragedy – where children are involved and killed in their parents’ dispute. And this son of a bitch Josh Powell – he was no father. It takes more than DNA to make a father, and clearly he wasn’t one. He was a coward, who ultimately killed himself and his kids so that he wouldn’t have to live through a trial and conviction. The sad truth is that if Josh lived to see his trial, he might have found a way to plead insanity or somehow reduce a jail sentence; yet his death was far too easy an end for him. We can only hope that he still has Hell to endure.

Check the sauce to read more about this terrible story.