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Published: Wednesday, 9/29/2010

Trial delayed in rape, death of girl in 1968

BY ERICA BLAKE
BLADE STAFF WRITER

More than 42 years after Eileen Adams' body was found bound in a frozen Monroe County field, newly discovered evidence has prompted attorneys to request more time before her accused killer goes to trial.

RobertBowman, 74, is accused of kidnapping, raping, and killing the Sylvania Township teenager. After being missing for more than a month, the 14-year-old's body was found wrapped in a blanket on Jan. 31, 1968.

Judge Gene Zmuda has granted the request to vacate the scheduled Oct. 12 trial date. A new trial date is to be set at an Oct. 8 hearing.

Assistant County Prosecutor J. Christopher Anderson said more time was needed to properly test a semen stain that was recently discovered on the skirt that the teenager was wearing when she was found.

Although portions of the skirt were already scheduled to be tested, a recent examination of the item using an "alternative light source" revealed a larger semen stain, Mr. Anderson said in court.

The stain was one of two pieces of evidence that prosecutors told Judge Zmuda still required testing. Defense attorneys jointly requested that the evidence should be tested before proceeding to trial.

"We are certainly interested in having our own expert test the evidence," Pete Rost said Monday, noting that a new trial date would "afford us the time to do our investigation."

Eileen Adams was last seen Dec. 18, 1967, getting off a bus after school in a West Toledo neighborhood. Authorities believe she was held captive in Bowman's former home on West Sylvania Avenue for as long as two weeks before she was killed.

Bowman first became a suspect in 1981 when his ex-wife came forward with a statement, but he was not arrested at the time because of lack of evidence.

In 2006, cold-case detectives reopened the case. A warrant was issued for Bowman's arrest in 2007, after a reverse paternity test was used to match Bowman to DNA found on the victim's body.

He was arrested in 2008 in Cathedral City, Calif. The grand jury indicted Bowman Oct. 31, 2008, for murder in the first degree.

Mr. Anderson explained in court that the new evidence came about after it was recently discovered that small swatches taken from the skirt mistakenly had not been tested for DNA. Once that was discovered, investigators again looked at the skirt and found the larger stain.



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