- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 27, 2002

ROANOKE A man brought from Canada to federal court for questioning in the shooting deaths of a Virginia family is free again to leave the country, police said.
Garrison "Storm" Bowman, 66, was never called a suspect in the slayings of Michael, Mary and Jennifer Short of Henry County. But his former trailer and home were searched by county police, and federal authorities sought his return from Canada's Northwest Territories after Jennifer Short's skeleton was discovered Sept. 25 near his former residence in Rockingham County, N.C.
Henry County Sheriff Frank Cassell yesterday said Mr. Bowman is not cleared from police scrutiny, but police would not keep him in the country against his will.
"If he wanted to go anywhere else, we'd be hard-pressed to stop him," Sheriff Cassell said. "He has been cooperative, though, and I think he'll continue to talk with us."
Mr. Bowman left North Carolina for Canada on Aug. 16, the day after Mr. and Mrs. Short's bodies were found in their red brick ranch home near Bassett, Va. He told friends that he wanted to retire in the relative wilderness near the Alaskan border.
"I wasn't hiding from anyone when I was in Canada," Mr. Bowman later told a federal judge in Roanoke. "That's what I wanted to do the rest of my life spend it in Alaska and Canada."
Police started to focus the investigation on Mr. Bowman after his former landlord told investigators that he heard Mr. Bowman talking about killing an unidentified mobile home mover with whom he had been quarreling over money. During a search of his home, authorities found a map of Henry County, Va., with a red "X" near the Shorts' residence.
Mr. Bowman later told police that the mark was made by his ex-wife to show the location of an antiques dealer.
When Mr. Bowman was arrested by Canadian police for drunken driving, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Roanoke obtained a federal material witness warrant to transport him back to the United States.
U.S. Attorney John Brownlee would not comment about Mr. Bowman's status in the investigation or whether he would try to keep him in the country.
Mr. Bowman has been questioned numerous times and was brought before the federal grand jury Nov. 12. Sheriff Cassell said police haven't spoken to him since, and nobody has charged him with a crime related to the Short slayings.
Mr. Bowman's possessions, including the van he used to drive to Canada, continue to be held by authorities as evidence.
Mr. Bowman is believed to be living with friends in Rockingham County.


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