Accused Mother Arraigned in Deaths of Two Girls
By Dan Morse
A 44-year-old Maryland woman accused of killing two adopted girls and stuffing their bodies into a freezer was arraigned in Montgomery County this afternoon, a day after new court documents revealed the girls showed signs of abuse before their deaths.
One of the girls had suffered broken bones in her hand and arms and the other had lacerations on her scalp, according to the documents, written by a Montgomery County homicide detective to support murder and child abuse charges against Renee D. Bowman. The girls' surviving sister told detectives that she and her siblings were beaten and choked by Bowman, who kept them locked in their room and forced them to use a bucket when they had to go to the bathroom, according to the documents.
Bowman, who adopted the three children in the District, has been in jail since fall. She is accused of killing the two girls in Montgomery, and then moving, with them in the freezer, to Southern Maryland. The surviving sister later told detectives that her sisters "were already gone" by the time they moved from Rockville, according to the charging documents.
The Maryland Office of the Chief Medical Examiner determined that the girls died of asphyxiation.
The case against Bowman began in September, when a 7-year-old girl was found wandering in a neighborhood in Calvert County, about 60 miles southeast of Washington. Detectives searched her house and discovered the two bodies, encased in ice, in a freezer. The bodies were later identified as those of Minnet C. Bowman, who would have been 11 at the time of the discovery, and Jasmine N. Bowman, who would have been 9, according to authorities.
Calvert authorities charged Bowman with attempted murder and other offenses in connection with the girl found wandering in the neighborhood. Bowman's trial in that matter is set for September.
Since the discovery of the bodies, detectives in Montgomery have been looking at Bowman's actions when she lived in Rockville. The statement of charges filed yesterday, signed by homicide detective Patrick McNerney, are part of the case against her in Montgomery.
At the hearing today , Bowman arrived in an orange Calvert County jail jumpsuit. She said nothing audible and gave off no obvious expressions during the brief hearing, which was more procedural then substantive.
Her attorney Paul DeWolfe, the chief public defender in Montgomery, asked Judge John W. Debelius III, if Bowman could be transferred to the Montgomery Count jail this summer so that he could get ready for the trial. "Our interest is obviously to meet with our client, to prepare for trial," DeWolfe said.
Debelius indicated he would approve her transfer. DeWolfe declined to discuss the case after the hearing.
In 2006, Bowman had a live-in boyfriend in Rockville. He later told detectives that Minnet and Jasmine had gone missing that year, according to the charging documents. When the boyfriend asked Bowman where they'd gone, she told him they were living in another state with a friend, the documents say. When the boyfriend continued to ask, "he would be berated by" Bowman, according to the documents.