2 Maryland Girls Found in Freezer Had Signs of Previous Abuse, Court Papers Say

By Dan Morse
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, July 2, 2009

The bodies of two girls found in a freezer in Maryland showed signs of abuse before their deaths, with one having suffered broken bones in her hand and arms, according to documents filed in circuit court yesterday.

The body of the other girl showed lacerations on her scalp, according to the documents, written by a Montgomery County homicide detective to support murder and child abuse charges against Renee D. Bowman. The girls' surviving sister told detectives that she and her siblings were beaten and choked by Bowman, who kept them locked in their room and forced them to use a bucket when they had to go to the bathroom, according to the documents.

Bowman, who adopted the three children in the District, has been in jail since fall. She is accused of killing the two girls in Montgomery, and then moving, with them in the freezer, to Southern Maryland. The Maryland Office of the Chief Medical Examiner determined that the girls died of asphyxiation.

The case against Bowman began in September, when a 7-year-old girl was found wandering in a neighborhood in Calvert County, about 60 miles southeast of Washington. Detectives searched her house and discovered the two bodies, encased in ice, in a freezer. The bodies were later identified as those of Minnet C. Bowman, who would have been 11 at the time of the discovery, and Jasmine N. Bowman, who would have been 9, according to authorities.

Calvert authorities charged Bowman with attempted murder and other offenses in connection with the girl found wandering in the neighborhood. Bowman's trial in that matter is set for September.

Since the discovery of the bodies, detectives in Montgomery have been looking at Bowman's actions when she lived in Rockville. The statement of charges filed yesterday, signed by homicide detective Patrick McNerney, are part of the case against her in Montgomery.

In 2006, Bowman had a live-in boyfriend in Rockville. He later told detectives that Minnet and Jasmine had gone missing that year, according to the charging documents. When the boyfriend asked Bowman where they'd gone, she told him they were living in another state with a friend, the documents say. When the boyfriend continued to ask, "he would be berated by" Bowman, according to the documents.

Bowman's attorney, Dorothy Gardner-Hodge, did not immediately respond to a phone call to her office yesterday evening. In the past, she has declined to discuss the case.

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