Unknown Terrence Bowers Killer- Pennsylvania- 1970 Apr 27, 2017 4:14:33 GMT -5
Post by Scumhunter on Apr 27, 2017 4:14:33 GMT -5
(Above photo credit: dailylocal.com)
When a young schoolmate is viciously murdered and the killer is never caught, it's a memory that children carry into adulthood. That's how it's been for longtime Darby Borough resident Paula Evans Brown and many of her friends.
"It was a horrible thing. I saw things I would like to forget, but can't," Brown said Thursday night. "It was very, very sad."
This month marks 47 years since 11-year-old Terrence Bowers was fatally stabbed while on a Boy Scout camping trip in Chester County. Pennsylvania State Police said the investigation into the Darby Borough boy's death has never closed and this week, in recognition of the anniversary, troopers revived a request for any information from the public that might shed new light on the decades-old mystery.
"I still know people who were on that camping trip," said Brown, who was a year behind Bowers at Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Grade School in Darby Borough. "And his mother, all she wants is justice for her son, and rightly so."
There is a $51,000 reward being offered for information - $25,000 each from the victim's family, as well as the Boy Scouts of America Chester County Chapter and the Cradle of Liberty Council in Philadelphia, and up to $1,000 from The Pennsylvania Crime Stoppers.
"It would be wonderful if they could get some closure. Forty-seven years is a long time," Charles Rogers, a scouting executive with the Boy Scouts of America Chester County Chapter, said Thursday.
"It's not a new effort," state police Cpl. Bernie J. Mullen of Troop J in Embreeville said Thursday. "We're still looking at this case and we are always willing to talk to anyone with information."
At the time of Terrence's death, the Bowers family – parents Terrence J. and Mary, sisters Maureen, 12, Colleen, 8, Susanne, 5, and brothers Christopher 9, and John Andrew, 18 months - was living on Branford Road in Darby Borough.
Terrence Bowers, who had been a member of Boy Scout Troop 275 for about year, was camping on the grounds of St. Basil the Great Roman Catholic Church in East Pikeland Township with 23 other scouts and six adult leaders, all members of Troop 275 from the Blessed Virgin Mary parish. They left for the campsite, an open field near a creek about 200 yards from the church building, on April 24, 1970.
In the early hours of Sunday, April 26, Bowers was attacked in his sleep, suffering four stab wounds with a small, one-edged knife, according to Daily Times archived reports. The pajama-clad boy was found in his green sleeping bag by fellow scouts at 7:30 a.m. The medical examiner believed the boy died an hour prior, about 6:30 a.m. He suffered wounds to his back, right arm and chest.
At the funeral four days after his death, about 150 youngsters – young Paula Brown among them - gathered in BVM Church, where the victim was in the sixth grade at the parish school. His distraught parents sat with heads bowed and a sister, Maureen, wept quietly.
Terrence Bowers was laid to rest in Holy Cross Cemetery in Yeadon.
In the days and weeks after the murder, hundreds of people in northern Chester County and in Darby Borough were interviewed by a six-man state police investigation team, under the direction of then-Sgt. James Wenner. Young Boy Scouts from the victim's troop were even hooked up to polygraph machines and interrogated. A weapon was never recovered, despite three searches with metal detectors.
"All the scouts and leaders were given polygraph tests, and all their stories as to their whereabouts at the time of the slaying were verified," the Daily Times reported at the time. Patients from nearby Pennhurst State Hospital and Valley Forge Military Hospital who were AWOL or out on passes were also investigated.
In the years after the murder, the investigation spread as far as Oklahoma and Georgia, where suspects in other Pennsylvania homicides were arrested. The murders of three Oklahoma Girl Scouts, who were slain in their tent in 1977, was looked at as a possible lead in the Bowers case because of the method of operation and the scouting connection, state police said at the time.
A 25-year-old employee of an adult bookstore in Philadelphia was questioned in connection with the murder two years after it occurred. Police found newspaper clippings about the murder in a man's apartment following a raid there, but no link was ever established.
In the summer of 1977, Wenner told the Daily Times that one of the most puzzling things about the Bowers case is that no motive was ever established for the slaying.
Wenner said another perplexing thing about the case is that despite the fact that 26 other scouts and two adult leaders slept only a few feet away, no one apparently heard any disturbance.
In February 2010, a note from Bower's little sister, Susanne, was posted on a Darby Borough message board. It read: "To all of you who remember Terry Bowers and pray for our family, thank you. Mom Bowers is still tormented daily. Funny how after all of these years, the detectives have not come to any conclusions. Fishy, fishy. When I hit the lotto, I will dedicate my life to finding the conclusion for the peace of my family. I was married on the date of Terry's death so that a happy memory could be made on that date. It helps mom somewhat. Keep the prayers coming for us to know … and thank you."
Bower's father died of a heart attack at age 47 in 1978.
Rogers, who was an 11-year-old scout in Massachusetts in 1970, said he never heard about the Bowers' boy murder until last month when state police contacted the organization. He's been active with the Chester County group for about five and a half years.
"I've never in all my time heard of anything like this happening … never a murder," Rogers said.
Anyone with information is asked to contact state police at 610-486-6280, or PA Crime Stoppers Toll-Free at 1-800-4PA-TIPS. All callers can remain anonymous and could be eligible for the cash reward.
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