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Published: Friday, 8/19/2011 - Updated: 3 years ago

Detective gives last testimony in state murder case

Bowman's ex-wife, DNA led to review

BY ERICA BLAKE
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Robert Bowman listens to testimony during the trial. His defense is expected to begin presenting witnesses Friday. Robert Bowman listens to testimony during the trial. His defense is expected to begin presenting witnesses Friday.
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In the years since Eileen Adams' body was discovered in a Monroe County field in 1968, police pursued hundreds of tips and investigated dozens of potential suspects, a Toledo police cold-case detective said Thursday.

In all those years, only one eyewitness ever linked anyone to the death of the 14-year-old Sylvania Township teenager: Robert Bowman's ex-wife, Detective Bart Beavers said.

Detective Beavers testified in Lucas County Common Pleas Court Thursday about reopening Miss Adam's decades-old murder case in 2006. He was the final witness to testify in the state's case against Bowman, 75, who is charged with murder in the first degree.

Specifically, the detective testified he reviewed hundreds of pages of reports generated from Miss Adams' disappearance on Dec. 18, 1967, and from the investigation that followed the discovery of her body on Jan. 30, 1968.

He said he also reviewed a subsequent investigation that began in 1981 when Bowman's former wife, Margaret, went to police with information implicating her husband.

Noting the advancements of science, Detective Beavers said he requested DNA tests on items of the victim's clothing.

With both Ms. Bowman's statement and DNA evidence linking Bowman to a semen stain on the victim's underwear, the Detective Beavers issued a warrant in November, 2006.

Bowman was arrested in California two years later.

Thursday, Detective Beavers read portions of his report describing two separate interviews with Bowman after his arrest in 2008.

He noted that despite being asked direct questions, Bowman was evasive and said he would not talk about the case.

When confronted in the interviews about DNA evidence that linked him to the victim, Bowman said even if the semen discovered was his, "that doesn't mean I killed her," Detective Beavers said quoting his report.

The detective then testified that Bowman offered possibilities about how the stain may have gotten on the victim's clothing, including the suggestion that Miss Adams was wearing his wife's underwear.

Detective Beavers noted that during the two interviews, Bowman would often stray from the subject of the investigation.

He said Bowman spoke of evil and vampires, and even referred to himself as "the devil to the devil."

The detective acknowledged that Bowman never made a direct admission and agreed with defense attorney Pete Rost that Bowman often gave "nonresponsive answers that bordered on ridiculous."

Detective Beavers further acknowledged that some of Bowman's statements were in response to prompts from detectives who were attempting to get him refocused on the Adams case.

According to earlier testimony, Miss Adams was last seen in 1967 on a city bus after school as she traveled to her sister's West Toledo home.

She was found in a frozen field with her hands tied in front of her, her ankles tied with a cord connected to her neck, and a nail driven through the back of her skull.

Her head had been hit so severely that the impact had split her skull in half, experts have testified.

Toledo Police Detective Bart Beavers testifies about the Eileen Adams' case. Toledo Police Detective Bart Beavers testifies about the Eileen Adams' case.
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Ms. Bowman testified Monday that she discovered a young girl tied up in her basement some time around Christmas, 1967, and that her then-husband threatened her and her newborn baby if she told anyone.

She further testified he [Bowman] said he was forced to kill the young captive after learning that his wife discovered her.

Retired investigators testified Bowman was interviewed in early 1982 when he was living in a burned-out, abandoned restaurant but that there was not enough evidence to arrest him at the time.

Detective Beavers acknowledged Thursday that the DNA evidence found on Miss Adams' clothing was not compared to other suspects.

And he further acknowledged that not all evidence collected in 1968 was tested for DNA.

Mr. Rost questioned the detective about a list of possible witnesses that Detective Beavers created using police reports over the years.

Of the 241 people listed, Detective Beavers agreed 54 were at one time investigated as "possible suspects" and in fact some had admitted to the crime.

The detective later said all of those names were either cleared through an investigation or no other information linked them to the crime.

And Ms. Bowman was the only witness who linked a suspect specifically to Miss Adams' death, he testified.

Throughout the nearly two-week trial, 16 witnesses have testified on behalf of the state and more than 80 exhibits, including photos, have been admitted into evidence.

The defense is expected to present witnesses Friday.

Contact Erica Blake at: eblake@theblade.com or 419-213-2134.



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