After two years in the public eye Josh Powell left a simple farewell: a note sent to his attorney that read only, "I'm sorry, goodbye."
It was sent only moments before Powell's home went up in flames, killing not only himself, but also his two young sons.
Powell was a person of interest in the December 2009 disappearance of his wife, Susan.
Sunday night's alleged murder-suicide came only two days after Powell was denied custody of his sons. The court ordered him to undergo a psycho-sexual evaluation.
A social worker brought the boys to Powell's house for what was supposed to be a supervised visit. But after the boys entered the house, he locked the social worker out. Shortly after that the homes burst into flames.
Dozens of people attended an impromptu vigil at the boys' elementary school.
"I wanted to explain to her what had happened, so when she comes to school tomorrow that she wouldn't be shocked," one parent said.
"By the time we were done with the conversation, she said, 'I hope they're with their mommy in Heaven,'" the parent added.
Charlie, 7, and Braden, 5, were in the custody of their maternal grandparents, Charles and Judy Cox
They said the boys played happily before seeing their father Sunday, and that they didn't want to leave with him.
Judy Cox said she regrets asking the court to allow Powell supervised visits with the boys.
"Look what happened," she told KIRO-TV. "But I knew that they're supposed to be able to see their dad."
Steve Downing, the attorney for Charles and Judy Cox, said the boys were beginning to remember things from the night their mother disappeared, including that she was in the trunk on the night she disappeared.
"The oldest boy talked about that they went camping and that 'mommy was in the trunk. Mom and dad got out of the car and mom disappeared,'" Downing said.
Police confirmed Sunday's fire was deliberate, and that gas was smelled at the house shortly before the blast.