SALEM TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A 70-year-old Allegan County man was arrested Friday in connection to a 1980 murder in Virginia.
Dennis Lee Bowman was taken into custody at a gas station in Burnips for the 1980 homicide of 25-year-old Kathleen Doyle. He is being held in Michigan awaiting extradition to Virginia, according to a Michigan State Police news release.
Through most of the day Friday, a large contingent of Allegan County sheriff’s deputies and Michigan State Police troopers put a fine-tooth comb to Bowman’s 136th Avenue home, inside and out.
Doyle was found murdered in her Norfolk, Virginia, home on Sept. 11, 1980. She was the daughter of a naval officer and wife of a U.S. Navy pilot who was deployed at the time of the murder, the release said.
State police said years of investigation and forensic evidence led to the arrest.
Investigators in Norfolk declined to discuss a motive or whether Doyle and Bowman knew each other.
Police confirm Bowman was the adoptive father of a girl who went missing more than 30 years ago. Aundria Bowman disappeared on March 11, 1989, from her Hamilton-area home. She was 14 years old at the time. It’s unknown if Dennis Bowman had anything to do with his adopted daughter’s disappearance.
Aundria’s biological mother Cathy Terkanian gave her up at 5 months old. She learned of her daughter’s disappearance about a decade ago. She told News 8 she has always suspected Dennis Bowman, who has a criminal record dating back to 1980 that includes charges for assault, burglary and sexual assault.
In 1981, Bowman was convicted of sexual assault. According to police reports, he stopped a 19-year-old West Olive woman who was riding her bike on Lakeshore Drive and ordered her into the woods. A passing driver distracted Bowman and the woman was able to run away. Bowman fired two shots during the incident, though no one was hit.
In 1999, he was convicted of felony breaking and entering. Authorities say he broke into a female co-worker’s home and stole lingerie. At his home, police said, they found a duffel bag containing a short-barreled shotgun, black ski-mask, black sweatshirt and intimate apparel. There were pry bars in his truck.
“I found out this horrible person’s background and deduced that nobody else would have done this to her,” Terkanian told News 8 over the phone Friday. “I’m praying hard that he will admit what he’s done.”
She hopes to learn what happened to Aundria.
Sheriff’s officials say the focus of the investigation remains on the Virginia cold case.
“Obviously, if through the course of this investigation there is information or evidence or anything found that would link that investigation to this subject, obviously we’ll look at that,” Allegan County Sheriff Frank Baker said.
Terkanian is convinced there’s a chance she’ll get answers to her daughter’s disappearance, even if investigators don’t turn up any evidence.
“I hate to say this, it almost makes me nauseous to think about, but (I hope) a plea deal will be struck and he will tell them what happened,” she said.
—News 8’s Susan Samples contributed to this report.