Real Name: Jerry Lee Bowen
Aliases: None Known
Wanted For: Murder
Missing Since: June 2000
Details: Jerry and Brenda Bowen had been married for nineteen years and had two children when Jerry had an affair and the two divorced. Brenda ended up with their home and real estate in rural Alabama, and Jerry received an apartment just a hundred feet from their main home. On January 28, 1997, two years after the divorce, Brenda mysteriously vanished from her home and her car was found abandoned in a wooded area. Her ex-husband Jerry acted suspiciously after her disappearance and appeared at the site where her car was found. He was brought in for questioning by police, but they had no evidence against him and he was released.
Two months after she vanished, Brenda's body was recovered from the Coosa River. Authorities were unable to determine if Brenda died of suffocation or from drowning because her body was so badly decomposed. Jerry Bowen became the prime suspect in her death. The killer wrapped Brenda's body in bed sheets that matched the ones in her house and her body was bound by rope with a bowline and slip knots, which were favorite knot types of Jerry. According to Brenda's father, James Breckenridge, Jerry was in financial trouble. Brenda told her parents shortly before her murder that Jerry had come to her, saying that he was in trouble and that they needed to get back together. She told him that she needed to think about it. Jerry had allegedly threatened to take her back to court. Eventually, Jerry Lee Bowen was charged with Brenda's murder. Twenty-nine witnesses testified against him at his trial, and even though the evidence was circumstancial, it was enough to convice a jury of Bowen's guilt and he was convicted of his ex-wife's murder in April 2000. However, in June, just days before he would be sentenced, Bowen vanished. Local police and the FBI searched through Bowen's dwellings and found shocking Internet activity that involved violence against women. In a six month period, he had visited over 5000 websites about violence towards women, hard-core pornography, and cannibalism. Bowen is on the FBI's most wanted list and is considered extremely dangerous.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the July 19, 2001 episode. This case was also covered on America's Most Wanted and I (Almost) Got Away With It.
Results: Captured. In December of 2004, an Unsolved Mysteries viewer recognized Bowen as a man she knew as "Steven Starbuck." Despite denying his identity, his fingerprints were checked and he was arrested. He was given a life sentence for the murder of his ex-wife.