Justice For The Family Of Michael Powell

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Dear Sir or Madame:

I request that this correspondence be forwarded to the District Attorney handling Michael Powell's death.

While Michael lived, I was his legal guardian and grandmother. I actively cared for Michael and sought to make things right for him: and that has not changed since Michael was led to his death by his so-called friends.  Multiple issues surrounding Michael's death raise disturbing questions.  For me to feel that Michael has been laid to rest with dignity I need answers.

These Questions Include: 

1.  The family involved had a history of taking Michael without permission.  First, they took him to the movies without my knowledge. After frantically inquiring all through the neighborhood, I had to drive to the movie theater and search among the aisles to find him to bring him home. The next time they wanted to take him to the movies, I refused till they discussed the details with me.   I agreed to let him go early in the evening but they failed to have him home till one in the morning.  I was extremely unhappy about that.  Since I had been crystal clear that my permission was required for them to take him anywhere else, why was it taken so lightly by the police that these people took Michael without asking me? 

2.  Michael had special needs and required extra supervision and everyone knew that.  At the funeral, we learned that Michael had read for the first time out loud just one week before his untimely death.  He had always attended special classes.  Michael needed extra help to understand things.   Why was this ignored and the boy and the 17-year-old boy treated as a buddy when their abilities to appreciate the dangers of life differed by much more than their years?

3.  The boy finally admitted his mother drove them to the river and she knew that I had not been asked, knew that I would resist, knew that Michael required extra supervision due to his special needs, knew fourteen-year-old boys mix poorly with the river and knew that her son and the other boy had a history of being irresponsible with Michael. Who leaves a boy who can't swim unsupervised at the river?  Did the police carefully separate the boys to determine how they arrived at the river?  Does it bother them that the story changed over time?  If this part of the account changed, what else might have changed?  Why did a changing story not alert the police to ask more questions?

4.  The days after Michael’s death, the 17-year-old boy who led Michael to his death mother came to my house while me and my girls were out and my mother who is almost 80 years old answered the door once my mom realized who she was my mom asked her to leave but she would not leave until she finished saying what she had to say. My mom repeatedly asked this woman to leave but she would not go, she said, she wanted to explain what happened on the evening her son led Michael to his death. We had to fill a complaint to keep her away from our house.

5. The 17-year-old liked a girl Michael's age.  However, she deeply liked Michael. I had discussed the need to remain friends with this girl at length with Michael.  Have you considered the potential seriousness of such a difference between a young man and a fourteen-year old boy?  How would a self- assured seventeen-year-old feel if the girl he liked preferred Michael?  How did the police miss this?

6. Michael could not swim so his healthy fear of water challenges the verity of the boy's story that this fearful non-swimmer jumped into the water.  He did not like to walk into water unless he could see the bottom and would not jump into pools.  Did you ask the boys about that?

7.  The boys lied about what happened to Michael: on the night of Michael’s being led to his death once my youngest daughter came down to the river where everyone was, she asked the 17-year-old boy what happened to Michael and the story he told her was a different story from what he told the news and police. The current hadn't swept him away.  Instead, his body was found exactly where they swam.  Why did they not help him if he floundered near them? Why did they lie about the current?  If the current was so low that Michael stayed in the same place overnight why did he drown if he would only go into water in which he could stand?

7.  Michael's modesty stood out.  He did not take his shirt off casually as most boys. How can you explain that he had his shirt off when they recovered his body? Such weird findings fail to prove wrong-doing but they do indicate that something happened which differs from consistent patterns. And why didn’t the police take Michael’s blooded shirt that was lying beside his wet shoes in for evidence on the night the boys led my son to his death at the American River May 1, 2017. We had taken his things home with us that night and the police didn’t take any of Michael’s belonging in as evidence either.

8. According to google it takes 27 minutes to walk to the river from my home and the boys reported that Michael drowned fifteen minutes after that.  It would have taken few minutes for Michael to get lost in the water and a few more minutes for the boys to call. That means that Michael would have arrived at the river, taken off his shirt, shoes, and beany and gone at once into the water which gives him five minutes to swim, five minutes to flounder and five minutes for them to call.  But, Michael would not have quickly taken off his shirt and he walked slowly.  Did the police re-construct a reasonable time line?  I can't unless the boy's mother drove them.

9.  Plus, Michael was 6'4.  How is it he drowned if he could have stood up?

10. The 17-year-old boy who is almost eighteen--took two young, special-needs boys to the river.  Why would someone his age chooses to associate with young, 14-year-old impressionable boys? The 17-year old boy demonstrates advanced social skills for a young man his age.  He is cool: he wore sun-glasses when he was interviewed about Michael's death.  Does it not seem odd that he would not socialize with friends his own age? Do we not need to send him a message that he needs to act more responsibly if he sweeps such boys out from under the protective care of their family?  My grandson could not have devised a plot to slip away from the protection of those who love him to sneak to the river.  The 17-year old boy needs to know that he needs to stop such behavior. we owe Michael and to other young lives to send such a message (people who are 17 years of age and older are should be held responsible for the wrongful death of any special needs person or youngster who is unable to make sound decisions for themselves and are led to their death by someone like this 17-year old boy) to this dangerous young man.

If the police and the district attorney fail to investigate this to my satisfaction, then I plan to continue to pursue this to be sure that other sweet children remain safe. Besides, Michael deserves that. 

I also wonder if my grandson had been white and X were black if there may have been more questions raised.  We find this whole picture unsettling and respectfully demand that you take this case more seriously. 

I also want to have a record of the police interviews with the boys.  I need to have these issues settled and find it upsetting that even as I grieve I have asked such rational questions but the police--who are paid to investigate such matters--have failed to so do.


With Serious Concern,

The Family of Michael Powell

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