Powell tragedy prompts lawmakers to take a hard look at custody disputes

Powell tragedy prompts lawmakers to take a hard look at custody disputes
Denise Cox, the sister of missing Utah Mother Susan Cox Powell, wears a button with Susan's photo on it as she takes part in a candlelight vigil for her nephews, Braden and Charlie Powell, Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013 in Graham, Wash. The vigil was held at the vacant lot where the home rented by the boys' father, Josh Powell once stood. Powell blew up the house during a parental visit with the boys while a social worker was locked outside on Feb. 5, 2012. He was also a suspect in the 2009 disappearance of his wife Susan Cox Powell in Utah. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Washington lawmakers are looking to implement new rules to protect children in custody disputes.

The state Senate unanimously approved a bill Thursday in response to the case of missing Utah mother Susan Powell. Josh Powell was the subject of an investigation into his wife's disappearance last year and locked in a custody battle with her parents when he killed himself and the couple's two young children.

The proposed law would require state officials to consult with law enforcement about visitation matters when a parent is an identified suspect in a criminal investigation that could impact the safety of the child. Powell was not a declared suspect in his wife's disappearance but was named a person of interest.

The bill now goes to the state House.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.