Cellmate: Bowman 'tortured' her daughters

Date: 2010-02-19
Source: wtop.com

By Kate Ryan

ROCKVILLE, Md. - What happened to the two little girls whose bodies were found wrapped in trash bags and stuffed into a freezer?

Janet Buchmiller, 29, says she knows because the woman charged with the crime told her.

"Her words were she smothered 'them.'"

Buchmiller shared a jail cell with 44-year-old Renee Bowman, who is on trial for the murders of two of her adopted daughters.

Bowman was arrested when a third girl escaped her home and told police about the abuse that went on inside.

Buchmiller says Bowman told her how she would discipline the girls.

"She tortured them," she says. "She burned them with cigarettes."

Buchmiller was asked by Bowman's defense attorney Alan Drew whether she got any favors or special treatment for her testimony.

"Nothing," she said. "Nothing, there wasn't anything."

In trying to attack Buchmiller's credibility, Drew asked her if she had denied committing the sex offenses to which she later plead guilty. Buchmiller, who had been teary-eyed in describing what happened to Bowman's children, became composed and asked Drew if she herself were on trial.

Later, speaking to reporters, Buchmiller said Bowman never once referred to her adopted daughters by their names.

"She'd call them 'my girls,' or the oldest, youngest and middle. She never mentioned their names, ever."

Buchmiller also noted Bowman talked about her own situation, but when it came to her daughters, she showed little emotion.

"She never cried about them," she said. "She was more upset that she got caught than what happened to those kids."

Earlier in the day, a former co-worker and friend of Bowman's, Kesha White, said she had never seen the two older girls when she would stop by Bowman's home. She also said they never answered the phone, and she never heard them in the background when she and Bowman would talk on the phone.

White did say that Bowman would share her frustration in raising three girls with special needs, saying that the kids would "get on her (expletive) nerves."

Bowman had already been sentenced to 25 years for first-degree child abuse in Calvert County. She is being tried for murder in Montgomery County because prosecutors believe that's where she killed and and stuffed her two daughter in a large freezer that Bowman took with her when she moved first to Charles County and finally Calvert County. An autopsy indicated the girls died of asphyxiation.

The surviving daughter, now 9, testified on Wednesday, and referred to Bowman as her "ex-mother."

Had they lived, her sisters Minnet Cecila Bowman and Jasmine Nicole Bowman would be 12 and 11.

(Copyright 2010 by WTOP. All rights reserved.)
Kate Ryan, WTOP.com

ROCKVILLE, Md. - What happened to the two little girls whose bodies were found wrapped in trash bags and stuffed into a freezer?

Janet Buchmiller, 29, says she knows because the woman charged with the crime told her.

"Her words were she smothered 'them.'"

Buchmiller shared a jail cell with 44-year-old Renee Bowman, who is on trial for the murders of two of her adopted daughters.

Bowman was arrested when a third girl escaped her home and told police about the abuse that went on inside.

Buchmiller says Bowman told her how she would discipline the girls.

"She tortured them," she says. "She burned them with cigarettes."

Buchmiller was asked by Bowman's defense attorney Alan Drew whether she got any favors or special treatment for her testimony.

"Nothing," she said. "Nothing, there wasn't anything."

In trying to attack Buchmiller's credibility, Drew asked her if she had denied committing the sex offenses to which she later plead guilty. Buchmiller, who had been teary-eyed in describing what happened to Bowman's children, became composed and asked Drew if she herself were on trial.

Later, speaking to reporters, Buchmiller said Bowman never once referred to her adopted daughters by their names.

"She'd call them 'my girls,' or the oldest, youngest and middle. She never mentioned their names, ever."

Buchmiller also noted Bowman talked about her own situation, but when it came to her daughters, she showed little emotion.

"She never cried about them," she said. "She was more upset that she got caught than what happened to those kids."

Earlier in the day, a former co-worker and friend of Bowman's, Kesha White, said she had never seen the two older girls when she would stop by Bowman's home. She also said they never answered the phone, and she never heard them in the background when she and Bowman would talk on the phone.

White did say that Bowman would share her frustration in raising three girls with special needs, saying that the kids would "get on her (expletive) nerves."

Bowman had already been sentenced to 25 years for first-degree child abuse in Calvert County. She is being tried for murder in Montgomery County because prosecutors believe that's where she killed and and stuffed her two daughter in a large freezer that Bowman took with her when she moved first to Charles County and finally Calvert County. An autopsy indicated the girls died of asphyxiation.

The surviving daughter, now 9, testified on Wednesday, and referred to Bowman as her "ex-mother."

Had they lived, her sisters Minnet Cecila Bowman and Jasmine Nicole Bowman would be 12 and 11.

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