Adoptive father charged with teen’s 1989 murder

By: 
Scott Sullivan, Staff Writer

The Allegan County Prosecutor’s Office Friday charged Dennis Lee Bowman, 70, with open murder, felony murder, first-degree child abuse and mutilation of his 14-year-old adopted daughter 31 years ago in Fillmore Township.

Aundria Michelle Bowman was reported March 11, 1989, as a runaway from her home. Officers from the Allegan County Sheriff’s Office, Michigan State Police, Allegan City Police and the then Village of Douglas investigated the case for years, following up many leads.

Last fall local state police and sheriff’s deputies began working on a joint investigation with the Norfolk, Va., Police Department and Naval Criminal Investigations Service regarding the 1980 homicide of Kathleen Doyle, 25, in Norfolk.

Dennis Bowman was arrested Nov. 22 coming out of a store in Burnips in connection with Doyle’s murder. She was found murdered in her residence on Sept. 11, 1980. She was the daughter of a naval officer and the wife of a U.S. Navy pilot who was deployed at the time of the homicide. Norfolk police detectives and Naval Criminal Investigative Service agents had investigated it ever since.

He was extradited from Michigan to Virginia in February, where he remains jailed, to face those charges.

Michigan court records show Bowman has a long history dealing with law enforcement.

In 1980 he was found guilty of an assault in Ottawa County. According to a case transcript, a woman was riding her bike when Bowman came up behind her on a motorcycle, pulled in front of her and stopped. She said he pulled out a gun and told her to walk towards the woods.

She testified Bowman fired two shots and told her he would blow a hole in her, then a car drove by and she was able to escape before calling police.

In 1981 he was sentenced to between five and 10 years in prison for the incident and was released in 1986.

In 1998 Bowman was arrested for breaking and entering in Allegan County. According to court records, a search of his property after the break-in found a shotgun and a duffel bag containing lingerie. He was sentenced to one year in jail and five years of probation.

On Feb. 4 this year, new information led law enforcement to a shallow grave in the 3200 block of 136th Ave. in Monterey Township, near Bowman’s home, where skeletal remains were found.

Medical and DNA testing by WMED Forensic Pathology and Michigan State University’s Forensic Biology Laboratory positively they were Aundria’s remains.

Dennis Bowman faces life in prison if convicted of these charges. He will be extradited back to Michigan.

Allegan County Prosecutor Myrene Koch thanked law enforcement teams from both states.

“I also want to assure Aundria’s family and friends,” Koch said, “that even though this has been a very long road, this is the first step in seeking justice for her.”

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