November 29, 2019 — Imagine the loss

Imagine that in 1974, as a 17-year-old, you gave birth to a child in circumstances that dictated (even against your wishes) that giving that little girl up for adoption was the best plan, or at least the plan pushed by your mother. Imagine you surrendered the child when she was nine months old in 1975.

Imagine more than 35 years go by, but not a day without longing for news of your child.

Then imagine you are contacted in 2010 by law enforcement officials from the state where you surrendered her–Virginia–who contact you to ask you for a DNA sample to test against a body that had been discovered, and that, further, your daughter disappeared and has been missing for more than 20 years. Imagine the young girl she was…only 14 when she was last seen March 11, 1989.

Imagine that you also learn some of the history, that your daughter had been adopted when she was two years old, in 1976, by a couple then living in Virginia. And imagine that you learn that subsequently she and her family moved to west Michigan and that her adoptive father had been arrested there and charged with the attempted murder of another young woman. He served five years of a ten-year sentence but was reunited with his family some three years before your daughter vanished.

Imagine that you learn that nine years after your daughter vanished that this man was convicted of another crime, Breaking and Entering with the Intent to Commit a Felony. And the felony was directed against another young woman.

Imagine that you piece together a series of crimes against other young women where the perpetrator COULD HAVE BEEN your daughter’s adoptive father.

It wouldn’t take much from that point to imagine that just maybe this man had killed your daughter and disposed of her body. Law enforcement workers might even think it likely, but without some kind of proof, there would have been nothing they could have done.

Imagine you ask for help from all and sundry to get the word out and that you have age-progression portraits painted just in case she is out there, somewhere, and someone recognizes her. And you post them. And you network with Missing in Michigan, pay for a billboard along a highway, offer a reward.

And a few years pass. And keep imagining that you have lost your daughter twice; once when you give her up to adoption trusting that she would have a bright future, and the second time when you learned she was missing and investigators thought her likely dead. Still, you don’t give up; you start a facebook page calling out the man, challenging him to take a lie detector test, to own up to what you believe he has done to your daughter.

And all this imagining weighs on you until….

…Until, better than imagining, you learn that this man has been arrested for a murder, a murder in Virginia in 1980, when the adoptive father had returned to that state to fulfill a two-week Naval Reserve commitment.

And here is THAT story in the Holland Sentinel and and updated “supposing” account from Fox 17.

There is a lot more that will come out in the near future about that man, Dennis Bowman. Of course law enforcement is looking hard at the case, especially because now there might be some leverage to induce him to talk. Maybe. And you hope.

You, of course, are Cathy Terkanian, and this is your facebook page about the daughter you knew as Alexis Miranda Badger, renamed by Dennis Bowman and his wife, Brenda Joy Engweiler-Bowman, as Aundria Bowman.

Cathy Terkanian contacted me in 2013. I wasn’t able to offer much help, but I gave what I could during the next couple of years, in particular linking them with a wonderful private investigator. And Alexis/Aundria has long been up at our We Remember node on this website.

Cathy still hopes for her daughter to be found, alive and well. But she can imagine the alternative.

I hope you never have to imagine what has been the reality for Cathy. But perhaps you can imagine what it might be like for her to have answers. Pray for that. Work for that.

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  1. Rosemarie Baker, November 29, 2019:

    OMG,I’m in tears right now… No words…

  2. Cathy Armstrong, November 29, 2019:

    Hoping and praying for all of the truth to be exposed.

  3. julie, November 30, 2019:

    I am so sorry. This really hurt my heart to read. I will pray for you both.

  4. Cathy Terkanian, December 2, 2019:

    Thank u David Schock for beautiful written narrative. I did imagine for years Alexis/Aundria got the best family out there adopting. I can’t imagine that anymore, but I won’t give up, I won’t go away till Dennis Lee Bowman tells the truth about what really happened to my daughter. I LOVE HER and it’s what a loving parent does! God Bless and TY for ur help! Sincerely, Cathy

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