September 30, 2008 in Nation/World

Girls’ remains found in Maryland freezer

By BEN NUCKOLS Associated Press
 

LUSBY, Md. – Child-sized human remains uncovered in a basement freezer were those of two girls and have been there for months, their adoptive mother told investigators. Authorities said Monday they believe she is responsible for their deaths.

Sheriff’s deputies were investigating an abuse complaint regarding a third, surviving child Saturday when they discovered the remains encased in ice. The mother told investigators that they had been in her southern Maryland home’s freezer for at least seven months, and police said they are considering the case a homicide.

“We have reason to believe that’s the two children in the freezer,” said Lt. Bobby Jones of Calvert County Sheriff’s Office. “We believe that the mother, who adopted the two children, is responsible for it.”

Autopsies would need to be completed before authorities know for sure whether it is the girls, who would be 9 and 11. Deputies made the gruesome find in Lusby, about 50 miles southeast of Washington, D.C. They were at the home with a search warrant to investigate what happened to a runaway 7-year-old girl who was found wandering the neighborhood, injured and hungry in a blood- and feces-soaked nightshirt.

The girl’s mother, 43-year-old Renee Bowman, has been arrested, and a judge has ordered her held without bond. She is charged with first-degree child abuse in the beating of the 7-year-old.

“I asked if she was OK. She said no,” said neighbor Phillip Garrett, who found the girl walking down the street. “She said, ‘My mother beats me to death all the time.’ ”

She escaped from a locked bedroom by jumping out a second-story window, and Bowman admitted beating her with a “hard-heeled shoe,” officials said.

Bowman told detectives that she brought the remains of her other daughters with her when she moved in February from Rockville, about 60 miles away.

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