Lee Bowers (1925 – 1966) is a somewhat incidental figure in the murder of President John F Kennedy who died under what some consider mysterious circumstances – like hundreds of others connected with the coup of 1963. However, research by a retired traffic incident investigator demonstrates that he died in a car accident pursuant to a heart attack.
Penn Jones, who was an editor of a small newspaper in Midlothian, TX – not far from the scene of Bowers’ accident – advanced the claim that Bowers was murdered for knowing too much. Others such as Robert Grodin would continue the claims in the early 1990s.
Bowers was the train tower operator who witnessed a spark flash and puff of smoke from behind the fence at the grassy knoll, strongly implying the presence of an assassin on the grassy knoll. He gave his testimony to the Warren Commission against its stern opposition, and did likewise to attorney Mark Lane who interviewed him in 1966 for his documentary Rush To Judgment.
A few months after taping his story, Bowers was found dead on a highway in his 1965 Pontiac Catalina headed toward Midlothian. The case was quickly ruled an accident and buried under the conspiratorial rug – so to speak – through some irregularities in the paper work relating to his death.
Over 45 years later years later, Anita Dickason, a retired accident investigator with the Dallas Police Department, was asked by America Declassified to reopen the Bowers case to evaluate the merits of the allegations of Jones.
After considerable investigation, she determined that Bowers suffered a heart attack while driving on highway 67 outside of Midlothian in Ellis County, hitting a concrete abutment of a bridge which resulted in extensive physical damage to the driver. A farmer discovering the accident called an ambulance which carried Bowers to W C Tenery Community Hospital in Waxahachie from where he was taken to Methodist Hospital in Dallas located in Dallas County.
Dickason, based upon her first hand knowledge of such matters as a deputy and police officer, reasons that Dickason died on impact, consistent with attending physician Dr Bohl’s records. However, in order to keep from closing the highway waiting for an Ellis County justice of the peace to arrive at the scene to pronounce death as required by law, Bowers was taken to the Waxahachie hospital under the pretense that he was alive to avoid the aforementioned complications.
Apparently an Ellis County JP was unavailable so Bowers was transported to Judge Richburg’s jurisdiction in Dallas where he pronounced Bowers dead. Clearly Richburg violated the law as he had no authority to pronounce Bowers dead if he indeed died in Ellis County. So the death certificate and inquest documents were amended on August 31, 1966 to state that Bowers died at 12:50 PM on August 9 in Dallas County in contrast to the actual time of death at about 9:30 AM.
In doing so, the judge could maintain the pretense that Bowers was alive when he arrived at Methodist Hospital in Dallas County and then pronounced dead, giving Richburg jurisdiction over the matter. In Dickason’s view, the discrepancies in the records could be explained as administrative and logistical imperatives in order to appear to stay within the confines of the law.
Of course the question remains why an Ellis County JP was unavailable, but more than likely it was deemed that it would take too long to find one, thus keeping the highway closed longer than local authorities desired.
Even if this explanation is correct, it does not rule out foul play on Bowers’ Pontiac or administration of drugs to induce a heart attack. Indeed, one of the prominent rumors surrounding the death of Bowers was the allegation that he told the ambulance driver that his coffee had been drugged. Dickason explains how this story is most likely mythical.
On the other hand, it seems odd that a 41 year old man would die of a heart attack. If he were a heavy smoker - or maybe just very heavy – that outcome might be plausible. Dickason does not address Bowers’ health profile.
Dickason makes a cogent case that Bowers died on impact. It remains for the conspiracy theorists – in whose camp we make our home in so many matters – to present better evidence that Bowers died at the hands of Kennedy murderers or their agents.
ReferenceAnita Dickason, The Real Facts of Lee Bowers’ Death, 2013, Archway Publishing
Copyright 2013 Tony Bonn. All rights reserved.