The murder of Virginia State Trooper Johnny Bowman has remained unsolved for decades, despite a tantalizing set of clues: a weird assortment of items left at the scene, including eyeglasses, a construction hard hat and a wig.
The FBI and Virginia State Police renewed their effort to solve the 1984 slaying by announcing Wednesday a $50,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in Bowman's death.
It was 28 years ago this week when Bowman answered an early morning knock on the door of his Manassas home. The assailant repeatedly stabbed Bowman and fled on foot as Bowman's wife, who was home at the time, called 911.
The person left behind not only the weird items like the wig, but DNA evidence that police continue to test as technology advances. The most recent tests, aided by advances in forensic testing, have yielded new information, police said.
State Police Special Agent Michael Elliott, who has worked the case for the last seven years, said police have pursued leads in California, Ohio and throughout the Midwest. The DNA evidence has allowed them to exonerate a few people who had been considered persons of interest, he said.
Police are hopeful that the reward will trigger a tip that could break the case.
“When you put the facts together, combined with the witness statements, it certainly tells a story, and it gives us hope that this case will be solved,” he said.
He said that it's possible the killing was related to Bowman's work as an officer, but that investigators have been careful not to develop tunnel vision and are not ruling anything out.
State Police are partnering with the FBI and Manassas police in the investigation.
“While this brutal attack occurred more than 25 years ago, we believe that someone can still provide a piece of the puzzle that will help solve this case,” said James McJunkin, assistant director in charge of the FBI's Washington Field Office. “It is important for the public to know that no piece of information is too small to share.”
Police are asking persons with potential information on the case to call the FBI or Virginia State Police.