A Michigan man whose adopted daughter disappeared after she allegedly accused him of sexual abuse has been arrested in the cold case killing of a Virginia woman who was found dead in her home nearly four decades ago, authorities said.
Kathleen O'Brien Doyle was 25 years old when she was attacked and killed in her Norfolk home on Sept. 11, 1980. She was reportedly stabbed with a knife and choked with a cord in a brutal slaying that attracted the attention of several law enforcement agencies.
The daughter of a naval officer, O’Brien Doyle was newly married to a U.S. Navy pilot who was deployed at the time, so her murder was investigated by the Norfolk Police Department as well as the United States Naval Criminal Investigative Service, or NCIS.
“Over the years, Norfolk Police detectives and NCIS agents have been unyielding in their efforts to bring Mrs. Doyle’s killer to justice,” the Norfolk Police Department said in a statement. “Ultimately, the culmination of these efforts, along with forensic evidence, has led to this case being solved.”
Dennis Lee Bowman, 70, of Allegan County, Michigan, was arrested Friday on suspicion of killing O’Brien Doyle. What, if any, evidence allegedly ties Bowman to the killing was not publicly revealed, nor was a potential motive. Bowman is being held in Michigan as he awaits extradition to Virginia.
In 1981, Bowman pleaded guilty to one charge of sexual assault and in 1998, he pleaded guilty to a federal burglary charge. In between those convictions, Bowman was the subject of an investigation into the 1989 disappearance of his 14-year-old adoptive daughter, Aundria Bowman.
Bowman has not been charged in connection to Aundria’s disappearance.
"I think there are answers; someone knows something,” Aundria’s biological mother, Cathy Terkanian, told WXMI-TV after Bowman’s arrest. "She didn't just fall off the face of the earth, and that someone is very likely the someone they put in jail today."
Terkanian put Aundria up for adoption when she was an infant and learned in 2010 of her daughter’s disappearance. It’s her hope that the O’Brien Doyle case will lead to answers as to what happened to Aundria.
“I think they are going to have some leverage on him,” she told MLive.com.
Bowman was taken into custody at his rural home. Officials at the scene of Bowman’s arrest deployed a state police bomb squad robot and Western Michigan University’s Forensic Anthropology Response Unit was on hand as investigators appeared to dig on the property, neighbors told MLive.com.
“It’s a little crazy,” resident Amy Ryan said to the news website of Bowman’s arrest. “You just never know what happens behind closed doors.”
She and other neighbors recalled seeing missing posters for Aundria on telephone poles in the area, but Bowman was known to make some residents uncomfortable.
“You just got that gut feeling something wasn’t right with this person,” Ryan said.