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Published: 3/6/2007

TV program to feature 1960s murder of teen girl

BY ERICA BLAKE
AND CHRISTINA HALL
BLADE STAFF WRITERS
Adams Adams
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Baxter Baxter
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Nearly 40 years after Eileen Adams' body was found in a remote Monroe County field, detectives looking for her accused killer hope to engage the help of the entire country.

Robert Baxter Bowman, 70, is accused of kidnapping, raping, and killing the 14-year-old Central Catholic High School freshman who was reported missing Dec. 18, 1967. The Sylvania Township teenager's body was found Jan. 30, 1968, wrapped in a mattress cover and rug.

A reverse paternity test conducted with Mr. Bowman's ex-wife and his daughter found DNA compatible with semen found in Eileen's underwear. Mr. Bowman has been charged with aggravated murder in an arrest warrant filed Nov. 27 in Toledo Municipal Court.

The story of Eileen's death will be the focus of an America's Most Wanted segment slated to run in May. A crew from the show is in town through tomorrow filming police and prosecutors involved in the case.

"Usually when we can't solve a case, we don't know who did it," Prosecutor Julia Bates said. "Here we know who did it, we just can't find him."

Mr. Bowman was last known to be alive in Riverside, Calif., when in 2003 he was stopped by police. There were no warrants for his arrest at that time.

Since issuing the warrant, police have saturated the San Diego and Los Angeles area with publicity about the case, Toledo police Sgt. Steve Forrester said. The case also was publicized recently in south Florida, where Mr. Bowman once lived.

Sergeant Forrester said police have received about 25 tips nationwide regarding Mr. Bowman's whereabouts. Officials in Las Vegas are investigating information that he was seen there.

"We don't know where he is," Mrs. Bates said. "We have tracked him different places and the more people who know that we're looking for him, the better for us."

Toledo police said Mr. Bowman kidnapped Miss Adams and held her captive in the fruit cellar of his house in the 2200 block of West Sylvania Avenue - possibly for up to two weeks.

Police didn't have any leads on suspects until Mr. Bowman's ex-wife came forward in 1981. Although they spoke with Mr. Bowman at that time, authorities didn't have enough evidence to arrest him.

The case was reopened in September after off-duty police Sgt. Mike McGee met Miss Adams' father, who told him about the unsolved case.

Detectives reviewed the case, noting the potential for DNA, and pursued it.

America's Most Wanted producer Paula Simpson said the case appealed to the Fox television program because of the length of time an injustice had occurred and because of the new technology used in identifying the DNA found on the victim.

This isn't the first time the show has featured a Toledo case.

Three years ago, it aired a segment on Neil Newmister, a Wood County man accused of raping the wife of his best friend while the husband was on military duty in 2002.

Newmister was questioned by police and agreed to submit to DNA testing, then quit his job and went to Mexico. A tourist who talked to him in 2005 in Mexico learned he was wanted in Ohio after visiting the show's Web site.

FBI agents arrested him when they called him into an immigration office and reviewed his paperwork.

Last year, Newmister was sentenced to seven years in prison for rape and aggravated burglary and was classified as a sexual predator.

"[The show was] very instrumental in getting Neil Newmister back here and into custody," said Toledo police Detective Ann Smith, who worked the case. "If not, he could have been out there being a predator against someone else."

Contact Erica Blake at:

eblake@theblade.com

or 419-213-2134.



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