47 years later, Boy Scout's death remains a mystery

Tuesday, April 25, 2017
47 years later, Boy Scout's death remains mystery
47 years later, Boy Scout's death remains mystery. Dann Cuellar reports during Action News at 11 p.m. on April 25.

DARBY, Pa. (WPVI) -- It was a murder that shocked the region, spawning all sorts of newspaper headlines.

Eleven-year-old Terry Bowers, Jr. was stabbed to death in his sleeping bag while out camping with his fellow Boy Scouts, Troop 275 from Darby's Blessed Virgin Mary Church on April 26, 1970.

Forty-seven years later, the case remains unsolved with no suspects, no witnesses, no weapon or motive ever established, leaving his family stuck in a pit of darkness.

"I just feel that there's got to be somebody out there who knows something; how does something so heinous go unsolved for so long?" Terry's sister Maureen Bowers said.

With no logic, no reason, no explanation offered, the case has left a collection of question marks for Terry's family that have haunted them for decades.

"It would be nice to know who and why, that would be the first question. Alright, now we know who you are, why the hell did you do that?" Terry's brother John Bowers said.

It should have been one of the safest places on earth for an 11-year-old Boy Scout. The expansive church grounds of St. Basil the Great Catholic Church in Kimberton, rural Chester County. Mid-spring with flowering trees, the sound of birds, and the laughter of children in the air. The last reflective moments before, from a child's perspective, the monsters came.

Lorraine Placido, a former neighbor, has been researching the case extensively after becoming obsessed with it.

"I just could not imagine losing a child and then never having resolution or justice or knowing exactly what happened," Placido said.

She read an excerpt from an interview she conducted with one of the scouts who was there that morning.

"In the morning, Robby Jordan, I think it was Robby, I'm not sure, came running into our tent screaming, 'Terrence Bowers has blood all over him,'" Placido read.

Placido has collected numerous articles and documents through the years including the layout of the camp. Her gut tells her this was not a random killing.

"I think it is someone who was associated with the Boy Scouts, with the church," Placido said.

Although Bowers was found naked from the waist down, the medical examiner determined that he had not been sexually assaulted. Still, police cannot rule out that someone was attempting to sexually assault Bowers.

"We can't cancel that out," Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Chadwick Roberts said.

For the record, authorities have made no connection, but the family wonders if this somehow may be tied to the since revealed and previously unknown pedophile scandals at the Philadelphia Archdiocese and Boy Scouts of America.

"Given that all the things that have come forward with the Catholic Church, the Boy Scouts, we don't know," Maureen said.

For state police, the hope now is that the case may finally be solved through sophisticated DNA testing.

"We have the ability now to hopefully get some clues or leads that we've never had before," Trooper Roberts said.

Visiting Terry's gravesite one recent rainy afternoon, family members say they are also holding out hope that this case can finally be solved once and for all.

"If it's God's will, it will be done and we're just hoping that that's the case. I really hope it's God's will," Terry's brother Chris Bowers said.

A $51,000 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction.

If you have a tip that could help solve this case you're being asked to call the Crime Stoppers or the PA State Police.


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