Police: 39-year-old Norfolk cold case solved, murder suspect arrested in Michigan

Local News

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — 39 years ago, a Norfolk woman was murdered while her husband was deployed as a Navy pilot.

The case sat unsolved for nearly four decades, but on Friday, the man suspected of killing her was finally arrested — hundreds of miles away in Michigan.

Dennis Lee Bowman, who’s now 70 years old, was taken into custody Friday in Allegan County, Michigan, which is near Grand Rapids.

Authorities say he was the man who murdered 25-year-old Kathleen O’Brien Doyle at her home on September 11, 1980. O’Brien Doyle was also the daughter of a Navy officer, police said.

“As part of this investigation, and in making this apprehension, we’ve been working this for several days,” Allegan County Sheriff Frank Baker said. “It was about 39 years ago, I believe, when this homicide occurred in Virginia. They’re hoping, obviously it’s a long shot, but they’re hoping they’ll find some kind of evidence that will assist them in their investigation and ultimately prosecuting the individual responsible for the homicide.”

A photo of Dennis Bowman in 1980.

Through forensic evidence, authorities say they were able to tie Bowman to the crime.

In a press release announcing the arrest, Norfolk Police Chief Larry Boone says his investigators and NCIS agents were unyielding in their efforts.

“This 39 yearlong investigation demonstrates the Norfolk Police Department’s commitment to pursue justice for victims and their families no matter how long it takes. No victim is ever forgotten. I would like to recognize the women and men of NCIS for their commitment to this case. NCIS has been partnered with us from the beginning of this investigation, and their contributions throughout the years have been instrumental in solving this case. I would also like to thank the Allegan County, Michigan Sheriff’s Office, Michigan State Police, Ottawa County, Michigan Sheriff’s Office and North Carolina State Police, for their assistance.” 

Dennis Bowman in 2019

Police say Bowman is being held in Michigan, awaiting extradition to Norfolk.

This article will be updated.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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