Dennis Bowman is a 70-year-old Michigan man who is accused in the September 11, 1980 cold case murder of Kathleen O’Brien Doyle. Kathleen Doyle was married to a U.S. Navy pilot. Her husband was deployed at the time of her murder. Her father was an officer in the U.S. Navy.
Kathleen had been raped, stabbed, and choked, according to police. She had been dead for at least 24 hours before her body was discovered, as reported by the Virginian-Pilot. At the time, Kathleen was 25 years old. Bowman resides in Allegan County, Michigan. Norfolk police say Doyle was murdered inside her Norfolk, Virginia residence.
According to to the City of Norfolk website, the Norfolk Police Homicide/Cold Case Section worked together with NCIS, the Norfolk Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office, the Allegan County, Michigan Sheriff’s Office and the Michigan State Police to solve the nearly forty-year-old case.
On the website, Norfolk Chief of Police Larry Boone says, “This 39 yearlong investigation demonstrates the Norfolk Police Department’s commitment to pursue justice for victims and their families no matter how long it takes. No victim is ever forgotten.”
Here’s what you need to Know:
1. Kathleen Doyle Was Strangled to Death With a Cord While Her Husband Was Away at Sea
Friends discovered the body of Kathleen Doyle on Sept. 11, 1980, inside her Ocean View area home, police said at the time, as reported in the Virginian-Pilot.
At the time when Doyle was murdered, she had been married for just nine months and her husband, Lt. Stephen Doyle, was out in the Indian Ocean on the USS Eisenhower, a Nimitz Class Aircraft Carrier. Kathleen and her husband didn’t have children and she was living alone.
A September 13, 1980 article by the Associated Press, which ran in the Newport News Daily Press, described how the death of Kathleen Doyle had frightened the “tightly knit sorority of Navy wives” in Norfolk. It was the second slaying “of a wife waiting for a man at sea.”
According to the article, Doyle was “found strangled and stabbed to death” in her bedroom. She had been dead at least 24 hours, and the bedroom “had been disturbed.” The AP story said she was strangled “with a cord” and stabbed with a knife.
The other murder was of Susan Lynn Woodruff, who was found strangled to death in her bathtub. Her next-door neighbor, Rodney Robinson, was charged with capital murder in that case and was sentenced to two life prison terms. He was accused of hacking through a wall separating their apartments, according to a 1981 article in the Dayton Daily News.
The AP reported that Doyle was living alone with her pet yellow cat and had been married to her husband since only December. She was raised in a “Navy family,” and her father was a retired Navy officer living in San Diego at the time.
2. Bowman, Who Was Married, Has a Violent Criminal History
Research into his background shows Bowman has several criminal charges from the 1980s. Dennis Bowman was accused in Michigan of assault with intent to commit criminal sexual conduct in 1981.
According to WWMT-TV, in the 1980 assault case in Ottawa County, Bowman was accused of approaching a woman from behind while she was riding a bicycle. He was on a motorcycle. He was accused of pulling out a gun, demanding she walk to the woods, and firing two shots, but she got away. He received a 5-10 year prison sentence, which he appealed.
The appeal was denied. According to Fox17, the judge’s comments included, “…the psychologist indicates that he presents the clinical picture of a rapist; and we conclude that he is a danger to women if he is not confined.”
Bowman was released in 1985, WWMT reported.
Fox17 in West Michigan reports that the above case went on for nearly two years, with one hearing taking place just five days after Kathleen Doyle was murdered.
It seems that Bowman was not in court at that time, only his attorney was present according to Fox17. Bowman’s lawyer told the court that his client was not there. “He is a member of the U.S. Army and is away on his two-week summer camp requirement,” reports Fox17. It is the contention of Norfolk investigators that this was the time Bowman was in Norfolk.
He was also accused in 1998 of breaking and entering in Allegan County, and authorities found a lingerie-filled duffel bag and shotgun when they searched Bowman’s property.
The Find Aundria Bowman Facebook page – devoted to his adopted daughter, who is missing – says Bowman was working for a yacht company at the time. That page describes how the woman in the 1980 assault case escaped, saying, “Just then, a woman in a pickup truck approached on the highway. As Dennis turned to look at the vehicle, K.A. peddled her bicycle out into the highway in front of the approaching pickup truck. The driver of the truck stopped. K.A. threw her bicycle into the bed of the truck and jumped in.”
Online records and the site Missing in Michigan say that Bowman was married with an adult daughter. Online records also show Bowman and his wife with a 1999 bankruptcy filing in Michigan.
3. Dennis Bowman Was Described by Neighbors in Rural Michigan as ‘Weird’ & Reclusive
Bowman’s Hamilton neighbors in the rural area of Allegan County have described the man as keeping to himself, according to Michigan Live. Some said he was “weird.”
MLive reported that a woman, Angie Garza, who lives across the street from Bowman said she was “always wary of Bowman. “There was just something about him,” she said. “He was weird. He kept to himself a lot.”
Rowland is awaiting extradition to Virginia. Sheriff Baker told Heavy that the extradition process has started; however, the timing of when he will be extradited is contingent upon whether he is going to fight extradition. They don’t know at this time if he will.
4. The Adopted Daughter of Bowman Has Been Missing for More than 30 Years
Aundria Bowman was 14 years old when she vanished in 1989. She hasn’t been seen or heard from since. She is one of the missing on The Charley Project’s site. The Charley Project’s mission is to keep the focus on cold cases of missing individuals. As it says on their site, Aundria was born in New Orleans. She was in foster care for a time before being adopted by Bowman.
FOX 17 in West Michigan, Cathy Terkanian left her husband and moved in with her mother, who, Terkanian told the network, “gave her little options about how to raise her child.”Cathy Terkanian says she is Audria’s birth mother. She was 17 years old when she gave birth to a baby girl. She named her Alexis Badger. According to
She said she had to give her 5-month-old daughter Alexis up for adoption in 1975, according to WWMT in West Michigan. Dennis Bowman, of Allegan County, adopted Badger and changed her name to Aundria Bowman.
The Find Aundria Bowman Facebook page says that “Unbeknownst to Cathy, sometime around late 1975 or early 1976, Alexis was adopted by Dennis Lee Bowman and his wife… they named her Aundria Michelle and moved back to their home state of Michigan.”
Information on The Charley Project’s site says that while many agencies treat Aundria as a runaway, before her disappearance she had made allegations that she was being sexually abused by her adoptive father.
According to The Sentinel, the Bowmans maintained Dennis had not abused Aundria and that she “had problems because she had recently found out she was adopted.”
Cathy Terkanian, Aundria’s birth mother, told Fox 17, she tried to reach out to her daughter about health concerns that the daughter could have inherited from Cathy but she was unable to find her.
In 2010, she received a letter from social services asking for Cathy Terkanian to provide DNA so that detectives could run it against human remains that had not yet been identified. It turned out her DNA was not a match for the remains. Terkanian had mixed emotions, as the Fox17 network reported. She felt relief on the one hand but she was also despondent because her daughter was still missing.
Allegan County Sheriff Frank Baker said that Dennis Bowman has not been connected to Aundria’s disappearance. Baker said, according to WWMT, “I really can’t say at this point…you know, but obviously it’s a missing person, so it’s something that we looked at all possibilities…”
Baker went on to say that while they don’t have new information at present that connects Bowman to the disappearance of Aundria they, along with the Norfolk Police Department and the state police, will look at any evidence or information that might be gathered through the course of the investigation. “…if there’s something there that does link us to that case, obviously that’ll be something we’ll be investigating,” Baker said.
5. Serial Killer Henry Lee Lucas Was Implicated Initially in Doyle’s Death
In 1984, Norfolk police charged serial killers Henry Lee Lucas, then 47, and Ottis Elwood Toole, 37, with the rape and murder of Kathleen Doyle, according to the Virginian-Pilot.
In June 1984, Norfolk police Sgt. R.E. Hazelette interviewed Lucas, who was on death row in Texas, as reported in the Virginian-Pilot. Lucas confessed to killing Doyle and connected Toole to the crime.
It was determined that information from Florida about Lucas and Toole’s hair and blood types “matched forensic evidence found at the scene,” so Lucas and Toole were charged.
The charges against Lucas and Toole for the murder of Kathleen Doyle were eventually dropped.