Md. police: Frozen remains date back to last year

Date: 2008-10-01
Source: ap.google.com

Md. police: Frozen remains date back to last year

SARAH KARUSH

WASHINGTON (AP) — Two children whose remains were found in a basement freezer in southern Maryland likely have been dead since at least last fall, and the bodies may have been moved several times, police said Wednesday.

Investigators are working on the premise that Renee Bowman's two adopted daughters were killed while the family was living in Rockville, said Lt. Paul Starks of the Montgomery County police. He said Bowman's former landlord there has told police the family moved away in November.

The remains in the freezer were found Saturday at Bowman's home in Lusby, about 80 miles southeast of Rockville on the other side of the District of Columbia. Calvert County deputies searched the house after arresting Bowman, 43, on child abuse charges related to a third adopted daughter, who is 7.

Bowman has told investigators that the bodies are those of her two older daughters, who would now be 9 and 11. However, authorities are still awaiting autopsy results to confirm the identities.

Bowman adopted all three children from D.C. and the case has advocates questioning how the District's troubled social services agency evaluates potential adoptive and foster parents.

It is the latest tragedy linked to the D.C. Child and Family Services Agency, which has been reeling since the January discovery of the decomposing bodies of four young sisters in a home that had a past report of abuse.

Dr. David Fowler, Maryland's chief medical examiner, said preliminary autopsies had been conducted on the two girls but that laboratory results were not back yet. He said he was prohibited by law from discussing the autopsy results because the case remains under investigation.

Police are basing their belief that the girls were killed in Rockville on what Bowman told Calvert County authorities, Starks said. Officials initially said Bowman moved from Rockville to Lusby in February. However, it now appears she left Rockville in November and lived somewhere else before moving to Lusby.

"Detectives are continuing to work on a timeline concerning when and where the Bowman family was living and, more importantly, when and who last saw these girls alive," Starks said.

Both Montgomery and Calvert officials said Bowman's boyfriend, Joe Dickerson, is cooperating with the investigations into the children's deaths and the abuse of the 7-year-old.

Lt. Bobby Jones of the Calvert County Sheriff's Office said investigators are still trying to determine when Bowman's boyfriend Joe Dickerson lived at the home, for how long and what he might know about the children.

"I can say, without using the term 'suspect,' that we're looking into that aspect," Jones said. "To this point he has cooperated."

Associated Press writers Brett Zongker in Washington and Ben Nuckols in Baltimore contributed to this report.

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