BY JUAN ORTEGA, Sun Sentinel
Sunday, he was found murdered in his Wilton Manors home -- along with Stephen Duane Adams, his partner of 29 years.
``It's torture not knowing what happened in detail,'' said Powell's brother, Shannon Kicklighter, 39, of Savannah, Ga., on Tuesday afternoon.
Wilton Manors police said Tuesday they had identified a person of interest in the case, but provided no details, citing the ongoing investigation. Police also were still searching for a vehicle belonging to the couple, a black 2003 Saturn Vue with Florida tag 989 VRL.
Powell, 47, and Adams, 52, met at a gay pride march in the Cleveland area when Powell was 18 years old, Kicklighter said. ``They fell in love, and they've been together ever since,'' Kicklighter said.
Powell and Adams lived together in South Florida for many years, first owning a home in Hollywood. They moved earlier this year to Wilton Manors, where an estimated 40 percent of nearly 13,000 residents are gay.
Adams worked as a registered nurse at Jackson Health System since 2005, said Jennifer Piedra, a Jackson spokeswoman. His most recent position was as a clinical-care coordinator in perioperative services at Jackson Memorial Hospital, she said.
Powell was an interior decorator who set up large artistic displays for department stores, including Macy's, Kicklighter said.
Several home-and-garden television shows also took notice of Powell's penchant for decor, Kicklighter said. In one show, Powell displayed a dwelling he built for Petey, his dog. It consisted of a miniature canopy bed, pictures and a chandelier, all nestled under a stairwell at the couple's prior home in Hollywood.
But Powell was forced to stop working as diabetes, which he had battled since childhood, made him increasingly ill, Kicklighter said. His illness spurred him to accomplish a lifelong desire: An adopted child, he tracked down his biological family in the mid-1990s and got some answers about whether his diabetes was genetic.
``He really wanted to search and find out if anyone else had diabetes,'' said Kicklighter, who met Powell for the first time in the mid-1990s. ``He also always wanted a brother.'' Powell and Adams were considering moving from their Wilton Manors home to Georgia to be closer to Powell's family.
Powell underwent the kidney and pancreas transplants this year at Emory Healthcare in Atlanta, and there was great optimism about his recovery, Kicklighter said.
``All in all, he was doing a lot better than most people do with the transplants,'' Kicklighter said.
``He was really excited because he no longer had diabetes.''
Adams was at Powell's side during his hardships, Kicklighter said. ``Steve took care of him like royalty,'' he said. ``He was very supportive, understanding the magnitude of their relationship.''
One of Powell's top concerns in his final days was ensuring that dozens of small birds in his backyard aviary stayed warm during the recent chilly weather, neighbors said.
After the slayings, police allowed a neighbor to take care of Petey, the couple's dog, until a family member arrived to pick him up.
Police asked anyone with information about the slayings or the missing vehicle to call Detective Biagio Balistreri at 954-390-2150 or Broward Crime Stoppers, anonymously, at 954-493-8477.
Sun Sentinel staff researcher Barbara Hijek contributed to this report.