In June 1977, the invention of teenager Velda Rumfelt’s physique in Eureka, Missouri, led the authorities on a decades-long seek for justice. Investigation Discovery’s ‘On the Case With Paula Zahn: A Stranger Among Us’ chronicles the tragic story of Velda’s demise and the killer’s prolonged journey by the prison system. So, if you happen to’re questioning what precisely occurred on this case, we’ve acquired you lined!
How Did Velda Rumfelt Die?
Velda Joy Rumfelt was born in Missouri, and on the time of the incident, she had moved to Kansas City, Missouri. The 16-year-old was a sophomore, was on the respect roll, and was part of the gymnastics crew. Loved ones described Velda as a energetic and brilliant younger girl who did properly in lecturers and in any other case. But tragedy struck when she was on a visit to go to household and buddies within the Brentwood space in Missouri.
Velda was final seen on June 5, 1977, on a avenue in Brentwood, and her physique was discovered on June 7, 1977, in a desolate space close to an amusement park in Eureka. Her throat was slashed, and it appeared that shoestrings have been used to strangle her. Velda’s bra was stuffed in her mouth, and there was proof of semen in her vagina, which means she was sexually assaulted. The authorities collected Velda’s clothes and saved it as proof.
Who Killed Velda Rumfelt?
While the authorities labored to seek out Velda’s killer in Missouri, a string of crimes occurred elsewhere in Belleville, Illinois. 14-year-old Elizabeth West and 21-year-old Ruth Ann Jany disappeared underneath comparable circumstances in April and July 1978, respectively. The authorities later arrested Gregory Bowman for kidnapping a lady on July 20, 1978. At the time, the police had no proof connecting Gregory to Elizabeth and Ruth’s disappearances. While Elizabeth’s physique was discovered two weeks after her kidnapping, Ruth’s stays have been discovered a few yr later.
While in custody, an inmate promised to assist Gregory escape from jail if he delayed his switch to a different correctional heart. Gregory was instructed he may try this by telling the police about Elizabeth and Ruth’s killings. So, he confessed to killing the 2 women and offered particulars which solely the killer may have recognized. However, the escape plan was only a ploy to get Gregory speaking.
Furthermore, Gregory later claimed that he acquired the data concerning the killings from newspaper articles and police experiences. However, in 1979, Gregory was convicted of killing Elizabeth and Ruth in a nonjury trial. He agreed to not current a protection in trade for the prosecution not pursuing the demise penalty. About 20 years later, an unbiased investigation confirmed that Gregory’s lawyer was not instructed about how he was tricked into confessing, resulting in an appeals courtroom ordering a new trial in 2001.
At the time, the authorities solely had the confession Gregory made to the inmate and no different proof that linked him to the crimes. It was additionally discovered that bodily proof from these instances had been destroyed as a result of the investigation was thought of closed. The authorities in contrast semen on Velda’s panties to his profile to examine if Gregory was linked to another crimes. Gregory had offered a DNA pattern in 2001 to show his innocence within the Belleville murders.
In 2007, Gregory was launched from jail on bail solely to be arrested once more after his DNA matched the organic proof from Velda’s underwear. At the time of Velda’s demise, the authorities couldn’t discover something linking her and Gregory, however he had a historical past of kidnapping and attacking girls. During his authorized proceedings in 2009, survivors testified that Gregory held them at knifepoint within the Seventies and threatened them. One of Velda’s buddies additionally testified seeing her with an unidentified man on the night of June 5, 1977.
How Did Gregory Bowman Die?
In October 2009, Gregory was discovered responsible of capital homicide and was sentenced to demise. However, the Missouri Supreme Court reversed the demise sentence after ruling that Gregory’s kidnap-murder convictions from 1979 have been improperly launched as testimony. While awaiting a resentencing listening to, it was revealed that Gregory had been terminally unwell and recognized with a liver illness. On March 15, 2016, it was reported that he died of pure causes on the Potosi Correctional Center in Missouri. Gregory was 64 years outdated on the time of his demise.
Read More: How Did Michael Brinkman Die?