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Details Emerge in Case of Calvert Woman Accused of Killing Adopted Daughters

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By Matt Zapotosky
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Calvert County woman accused of killing her two adopted daughters and storing their bodies in a freezer initially told investigators the girls were alive and well, living with a relative in Virginia, a detective said in court yesterday.

But Renee D. Bowman soon changed her story, the detective said, saying one of the girls, Minnet, died two years earlier after refusing to eat. She said she wrapped Minnet's body in a blanket and bundled it with duct tape, the detective said.

Bowman, 43, is also charged with the attempted murder of her surviving adopted daughter, now 8. Authorities have said that the girl had infected sores and lesions, injuries to her feet and knees, and ligature marks and extensive scarring on her neck. After she escaped from Bowman's Lusby home in September, authorities investigated and found the bodies of her sisters.

At a hearing to determine what evidence would be admissible in the attempted murder case, Sgt. Ronald Naughton of the Calvert sheriff's office described portions of a Sept. 27 interview with Bowman.

He said Bowman told him she placed Minnet's body in a freezer. He did not say what happened to the other girl who was killed, Jasmine Nicole, but sources familiar with the case have said Bowman told detectives she died after a fall.

Bowman is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in Montgomery County, where the killings are thought to have occurred. Minnet would have been 11, and Jasmine Nicole would have been 9. Bowman was living in the Aspen Hill area when the girls were killed. Detectives believe they died of asphyxiation.

Bowman had been a foster parent to each of the three girls and received $2,400 a month from a program that encourages adoption of children who are wards of the state.

In court yesterday, after a lengthy conversation at the bench of Judge Marjorie L. Clagett, Bowman waived her right to appear. She was returned to jail.

Clagett ultimately ruled that all of Bowman's statements to police would be admissible, as would items seized during the execution of two search warrants. Those items included shoes, a shower curtain and a bar of soap that had been stained with blood. Clagett also rejected a defense request that the trial be moved to another county because of pretrial publicity.


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