Advertisement

Body Found Near Indio Is Missing Van Nuys Woman : Crime: The 24-year-old victim died of multiple gunshot wounds. She disappeared over Easter weekend while driving home from Phoenix.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A body found in a secluded citrus grove in Riverside County has been identified as Jamie Michele Bowie, a Van Nuys woman who was the subject of an intense search last month after she disappeared while driving home from Phoenix, authorities said.

The 24-year-old woman had been shot to death.

Riverside County Sheriff’s Sgt. Jon Carlson said Bowie’s body was found Saturday by an irrigation worker in a remote agricultural area about two miles north of Indio and Interstate 10, the route the woman was known to be taking home after an Easter visit to friends in Arizona.

There were no signs of a struggle or an effort to cover or bury the body, Carlson said.

Advertisement

It was unclear whether Bowie was killed at the scene or killed elsewhere and dumped there. “The indications are that she was dumped at that location,” Carlson said.

The body was badly decomposed, and there was no identification. It was not identified as Bowie until Tuesday when dental records were provided to medical examiners. Carlson said an autopsy determined that she died of multiple gunshot wounds. Though bullet casings were found near the body, it was unknown if they were from the weapon used in the slaying.

The body was fully clothed but too badly decomposed for investigators to determine if she had been sexually assaulted, Carlson said. Determining time of death was also hampered by the condition of the body.

“It is hard to tell. The best estimate is that she was dead longer than 10 days,” Carlson said.

Advertisement

Los Angeles police investigators who headed the investigation into Bowie’s April 16 disappearance were expected to go to Indio today to confer with investigators from Riverside County.

Carlson said the Los Angeles investigators will be joined in Indio by FBI agents and investigators from Arizona.

“We are going to get together and collate information and try to develop a focus to the investigation,” Carlson said.

There are no suspects in the case.

Advertisement

Bowie had recently moved to Van Nuys from Oklahoma and was to start a new job the week she disappeared. She had gone to Phoenix to visit a friend during Easter weekend and was driving back alone in her Volkswagen convertible when she apparently had car trouble near Quartzsite, about 15 miles east of the California border.

Police said witnesses reported seeing her at a service station where she might have accepted help from two sets of motorists, who left the station in two cars at the same time she did.

Bowie did not return to her Van Nuys apartment and her car was never found. A day later her apartment was burglarized by someone who had a key, police said.

Because of the disappearance and the burglary, investigators immediately believed that foul play was involved in the disappearance. Helicopters were used to search the I-10 corridor between Los Angeles and Phoenix for three days, but there was no sign of the woman or her car.

Advertisement

“This has turned out the way we thought it might be,” Los Angeles Police Lt. Dennis Dunn said Wednesday. “It’s a sad one.”


Advertisement
Advertisement