Body of homicide victim found in trunk of burning car identified

OKANOGAN – The dead body of a woman found in the trunk of a burning car in Aeneas Valley last June has been identified as Angela M. Bowers, the wife of a jailed suspect who was shot by Okanogan County deputies investigating the suspicious fire.

Okanogan County Coroner David Rodriguez has ruled the woman’s death a homicide. Okanogan County Sheriff Tony Hawley named the victim today.

Lance Bowers
Lance Bowers

The victim’s husband, Lance Bower, 37, Tonasket, was arrested after witnesses said someone matching his description fled the fire. However, the man has not yet been charged in connection with his wife’s death. He remains in jail following a confrontation with Okanogan County Sheriff’s deputies near the Aeneas Valley Store. He was armed when he was located and shot and wounded by both deputies who had been called to the scene of the fire.

“Okanogan County Sheriff’s office detectives continue to investigate the homicide, which was reported June 3, 2019. The investigation began after Aeneas Valley Fire District #16 responded to a vehicle fire. Firefighters discovered a burned body in the trunk, which was not identifiable at the time,” said Okanogan County Sheriff Tony Hawley.

Two sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to the scene of the fire to investigate the body found in the trunk. Their investigation indicated an adult male was seen leaving the car fire which was reported at approximately 4:28 p.m. that day. Information from citizens led the deputies to the vicinity of the Aeneas Valley Store where the suspect was confronted, according to Hawley.

“The suspect, who was armed with a firearm, did not comply with orders and displayed his firearm. Both the sergeant and deputy fired their weapons and the suspect was shot,” said the sheriff at the time, adding that the incident occurred at 6:57 p.m.

Deputies administered first aid and summoned Lifeline Ambulance to assist in treating his injuries. Bowers was transported to Central Washington Hospital via Lifeflight, where he was treated and later released to law enforcement. He remains in jail on charges of assault and unlawful possession of a firearm. Her body remained unidentified even after an autopsy, but Okanogan County Coroner David Rodriguez issued a death certificate naming her and listing her cause of death as homicide.

At the time, Coroner Rodriguez ordered an autopsy be conducted in an effort to determine the identity of the victim and cause/manner of death. After the autopsy, the results were still inconclusive for the identity; however the victim was determined to be a female.

“DNA evidence was sent to the Washington State Patrol crime laboratory for scientific examination.

Coroner Rodriguez has issued a death certificate in connection with this homicide investigation

identifying the victim as Angela M. Bowers. She has also been listed as a missing person since

June 17, 2019,” said the sheriff.

He added that there have been no arrests related to the homicide investigation as detectives are continuing to gather information.

The North Central Washington Special Investigations Unit determined Sergeant Tait Everett and Deputy Isaiah Holloway were justified when they fired on Lance Bowers after he did not comply with orders and displayed his firearm.

Temporary custody of the couple’s 14-year-old son was granted to Angela Bower’s parents, Leonard and Deborah Goodrich, by the Okanogan County Superior Court on June 25.

Hawley encourages anyone with information that might help bring the investigation to a conclusion to contact the Okanogan County Sheriff’s Office at 509-422-7200.