Police probe death of NJ school board member

BRIDGETON, N.J. - August 23, 2010

However, investigators are saying little else about the death of 59-year-old Ronald Bowman.

Bowman was a community organizer who served on Bridgeton's school board, among other volunteer commitments. By all accounts, he was highly respected in that Cumberland County community.

Bowman was supposed to attend a school-related function on Saturday night but, when he didn't show up, a family member went looking for him and discovered his body.

Police immediately suspected foul play.

"There is some evidence that we need to examine and there are some particulars about how he was found that we need to look into to determine exactly what happened," said Lt. Mike Gaimari of the Bridgeton Police.

Bowman's brother-in-law, Vincent Hart, said he hadn't been since at least Thursday - even missing his grandson's football game.

"He picks him up every Friday," Hart said. "He didn't show up at the game."

Immediately, a Facebook page page was set up dedicated to Bowman's memory. Friends posted prayers and pleas that police can quickly figure out how exactly Bowman died and, if it was murder, quickly bring to justice whoever is responsible.

"This shouldn't have happened to him," said friend Reatha Stocks.

"Touched a lot of people, helped a lot of people. He would give his heart to them, you know?" said friend Michael Williams. "It's a shame."

Police believe Bowman had been dead for a few days before his body was discovered.

The Bridgeton School District posted a message about Bowman's death on its website, reading:

The Bridgeton School District is saddened by the death of Mr. Ron Bowman, a devoted and outstanding member of the Bridgeton School District. Our prayers are with the Bowman family.

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