The wife of Michigan man accused of killing the couple’s adopted daughter testified in court that he admitted, decades after the slaying occurred, to killing the 14-year-old and secretly burying her body on their property.
Dennis Bowman, 71, who is serving two life sentences in a Virginia prison for the cold case rape and murder of 25-year-old Kathleen Doyle, is also accused of killing his daughter Aundria Bowman in 1989, not long after the girl had accused him of sexual abuse, according to local station WWMT.
Aundria’s dismembered body was discovered buried under a concrete slab of the couple’s Monterey Township home in February 2020 after he allegedly confessed to his wife that same month.
Dennis’ wife, Brenda Bowman, testified Monday in a preliminary hearing in the case that Aundria disappeared one afternoon in 1989 while she was at work, The Holland Sentinel reports. Dennis allegedly told her that Aundria—who Brenda described as a “rebellious” child—had stolen money and run away.
"He said Aundria had run away and took money from the baby's dresser," she testified, according to local station WWMT.
The 14-year-old disappeared not long after making claims that Dennis had been molesting her. However, Brenda testified that she had not believed the teen at the time.
"She told me one morning that Dad had molested her," Brenda testified. "And I looked at her and told her, 'That's a lie, and you know it.'"
The case went cold for decades until Dennis was arrested in 2019 for rape and murder of Doyle, a 25-year-old wife of a Navy pilot found dead in her Norfolk residence on Sept. 11, 1980, according to a statement from the Norfolk Police Department. Forensic evidence discovered at the crime scene ultimately linked Dennis to the heinous murder. He pleaded guilty to killing the 25-year-old in June.
After his arrest, Dennis allegedly told his wife in a letter and later phone call that Aundria was dead and it was “his fault.”
Brenda testified that Dennis told her he had gotten into a fight with the 14-year-old on March 11, 1989 and “slapped her,” which sent the teen plummeting down the stairs.
He allegedly made a similar confession to authorities.
“She was going to leave. She reported again that he was molesting her,” Allegan County Sheriff’s Det. Sgt. Todd Workman said of the teen’s final moments, according to WWMT.
Initially he told investigators he had put the teen’s body out with the trash, but later admitted she had been much closer than Brenda had believed, according to court testimony.
In a conversation in February 2020, Brenda said Dennis confessed that he had buried Aundria under a cement slab on their property.
“He was talking something about ‘So near, so far, right under your nose,’ and I said, ‘What the heck are you talking about?'” Brenda Bowman testified Monday, according to WOOD-TV. “He said, ‘Aundria, she is buried in the backyard.’ I said, ‘No, she’s not. We didn’t even live here then.’ And he said, ‘Well, I moved her from the other house.'”
Michigan State Police Detective Sgt. Todd Workman testified that Dennis then directed authorities to where they could find the body.
The remains had been dismembered and placed into several trash bags with garbage from the house.
According to Workman’s testimony, Dennis told authorities he had initially used a machete to dismember his daughter but when that wasn’t working, he switched to an ax so he could “finish the job,” WOOD-TV reports.
A medical examiner ruled the death a homicide but was unable to determine the cause of death due to the condition of the remains, the paper reports.
At the conclusion of the hearing, Judge William Baillargeon ruled there was enough probable cause to suspect Dennis had carried out the grisly crime and the case was ordered to proceed toward trial.
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