Man pleads no contest to murder in daughter’s 1989 death

Allegan County

ALLEGAN, Mich. (WOOD) — A man has pleaded no contest to the murder of his daughter three decades ago.

A file image of Aundria Bowman via NamUs.

In Allegan County Circuit Court Wednesday morning, Dennis Bowman pleaded no contest to second-degree murder in the death of his adoptive daughter Aundria. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 7.

A no-contest plea is not an admission of guilt but is treated the same as any other conviction at sentencing.

“The defendant admitted that Aundria was running away and going to tell that the defendant was still sexually assaulting her. The statement angered the defendant. He admits he said ‘no you are not.’ He punched her in the face at the top of the stairs. She fell backward down the stairs. He said she made a hell of noise going down the stairs, that she moaned while in a heap at the bottom of the stairs. The defendant admitted that Aundria is dead because of me,” the judge read in court as part of the statement of fact.

Due to his previous criminal record, Bowman said he did not seek any emergency aid or call authorities to provide medical care for Aundria.

Bowman and his wife had adopted Aundria as a baby. She vanished from the family’s Fillmore Township home, northwest of Hamilton, on March 11, 1989. In February 2020, her remains were found in a shallow grave at Bowman’s property in Monterey Township, east of Hamilton.

In February, police told News 8 that Bowman confessed to a rape and assault incident in 1979. The victim was a 27-year-old woman from Holland.

Bowman is serving a life sentence for the 1980 murder of Kathleen Doyle in Norfolk, Virginia. She was a 25-year-old wife of a U.S. Navy pilot who was deployed at the time of the murder. Following that murder, Bowman was charged with other crimes against women.

The following is a statement written by Bowman on Nov. 7, 2019, admitting to the murder of Aundria:

“Dear friends and family, because of my present situation, because I love my wife and daughter, I am writing this explanation that you my loved ones have to hear. I have confessed to the death of my daughter Aundria. I myself and no one else. In an argument with her I struck her, which made her stagger backward and fall down a steep staircase in a house we rented in between Holland and Hamilton. Fearing more prison time and losing my loved ones, I hid the body and then disposed of it days later. I have kept this to myself for these many years so that I could live my life with Brenda and watch Vanessa grow into a successful young lady. Please with all love I ask you to support Brenda because I have crushed her heart and left her desolate. She didn’t deserve this and has always loved me beyond measures.”

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