TX authorities: Body is abducted clerk

August 17, 2008 10:15:37 AM PDT
A body found in a remote area has been identified as the clerk whose abduction from a store in a small North Texas town was recorded by security cameras, authorities said Sunday.Mindy Daffern, 46, had been missing since Friday from the store her family owns in the city of Scotland, 130 miles northwest of Dallas. Surveillance camera videotape showed her being confronted at gunpoint by an unmasked man who walked her outside the store.

A man suspected in the abduction led investigators to the body Saturday and Texas Rangers confirmed it was Daffern, Archer County Sheriff Ed Daniels said Sunday.

Wallace Bowman Jr., 30, of Bowie, was being held on charges of aggravated robbery and kidnapping and Daniels said he is expected to be charged with capital murder. His bail was set at $3 million.

Bowman did not yet have an attorney to speak for him, Daniels said.

Daffern's body was found in a remote area near the town of Sunset in neighboring Montague County. Investigators were awaiting on an autopsy report, Daniels said.

"She was just a down to earth, good person," he said. They're a very close-knit family and of course it's just completely devastated the family."

Video from one store camera showed a man casually walking into the store and handing Daffern a cup, then pulling out a handgun and pointing it at her face.

A second camera showed the gunman walking her out of the store.

Daffern was seen handing the cup back to the map, who sipped from it while holding the gun on her with his other hand. Daffern had her hands up and appeared to plead with the man. Video from a third camera showed a sport utility vehicle leaving store parking lot.

On the video, the gunman showed no apparent concern about appearing on camera and his face was clearly visible.

"I'm not sure he realized those were cameras, I don't know," Daniels said. "I haven't talked to him, I don't know what he was thinking at that point."

Bowie police began searching for Bowman after recognizing him on the video. On Saturday, police found an SUV matching the vehicle on the video at a motel about 40 miles away, Daniels said.

Authorities found Bowman at the motel Saturday morning. He was unarmed and the weapon used in the crime has not been found, Daniels said.

He initially told authorities he'd let Daffern out of the vehicle at a rural road in Archer County and that she'd run across a field, the sheriff said. "There was nothing in that field to indicate she'd ever been there," Daniels said.

Court records show Bowman was sentenced in 1997 to seven years for aggravated sexual assault and failed to register as a sex offender in 2004. Bowman was placed on probation after being convicted for burglary in 1996, according to court records.


Load Comments