A man has been charged with murder nearly two months after the body of a woman was discovered burned in a Florida field. The breakthrough came when investigators found a letter beneath her body.
The victim, 18-year-old Coyoete Turner, was found on September 3rd at the edge of a peanut field near Jacksonville. She had suffered burns on various parts of her body and had injuries to her face.
During the process of moving her body to the medical examiner’s office, investigators uncovered charred items underneath her. The ground beneath her also appeared damp.
Among these items was an envelope and a letter from a medical office. The letter was addressed to a location in Live Oak, prompting investigators to visit the specified address.
There, they encountered 47-year-old John Leonard Bowen, who was residing in the house and using someone else’s vehicle for transportation. It was later discovered that Bowen, a convicted sex offender, was not registered to live at that address.
He was supposed to be residing on County Road 349, close to where Turner’s body was discovered. Bowen was arrested on September 7th on charges related to violating the terms of his release and failing to properly register on the sex offender registry.
As investigators awaited confirmation of the body’s identity, a woman claiming to be Turner’s mother contacted the sheriff’s office after seeing a Facebook post about the discovery. She explained that she hadn’t heard from her daughter in 24 hours.
One of the women accompanying Turner’s mother identified herself as the aunt, stating that Turner had lived with her and her boyfriend a few years ago. This boyfriend was identified as John Leonard Bowen.
It wasn’t clear whether Bowen was already a convicted sex offender during the time he lived with Turner.
Already in custody, Bowen was questioned about Turner, and deputies reported that he made statements regarding her death.
“Bowen made multiple statements about the death, and changed his story. He claimed there were other persons present and part of this investigation is continuing in order to determine whether it is accurate that others were involved,” deputies said in the report.
Bowen’s comments were removed from the published arrest report. On October 30, Bowen was accused of first-degree premeditated murder and tampering with evidence.
“While we cannot bring the victim back, we can pursue justice on her behalf,” Sheriff Mark Hunter stated in an Oct. 30 news release . “I am proud of the hard work and long hours our detectives have put into this case to date.”