Person of interest identified in Lake City homicide

Columbia County Sheriff's Office and vehicle
Photo by Seth Johnson

Columbia County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) detectives identified a person of interest in the Coyoete Turner homicide investigation.

According to a CCSO release sent Monday, detectives are looking at John Leonard Bowen, 47, as a person of interest in the death of Turner. The 18-year-old female’s remains were discovered in a field near SW Haltiwanger Road in Lake City on Sept. 3 and she was identified by law enforcement on Sept. 5.

John Leonard Bowen
Courtesy of CCSO John Leonard Bowen
Coyoete Turner
Courtesy CCSO Coyoete Turner

Turner’s body was partially burned which, according to CCSO, initially made it difficult to identify her. Law enforcement notified Turner’s immediate family on the condition of her body at the time of its discovery and, as of this time, no evidence links any of her family members with the case, according to the release.

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Bowen was named a person of interest based on evidence from the crime scene, witness statements and other investigative efforts.

According to the release, “Detectives are particularly interested in anyone who Bowen contacted, or anyone who may have seen him on Saturday night Sept. 2 through Sunday, Sept. 3. Bowen may have been driving a red Dodge Journey SUV.”

Bowen, a registered sex offender, is currently being held in the Columbia County Detention Facility on unrelated charges regarding violations of his sex offender registration.

“Our Detectives have worked tirelessly on this case since Coyote was discovered,” said Columbia County Sheriff Mark Hunter in the release. “It is horrific to think that anyone is capable of these acts. I urge anyone with information in this case to contact our office. Our thoughts and prayers remain with Coyote’s family and friends as they continue to endure this tragedy.”

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