- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 12, 2002

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP) A Fort Bragg soldier trying to stage his own disappearance searched the Internet for a man who looked like him and cut the man's throat, but the victim survived, police said.

The victim pulled the 8-inch knife from his throat, cut ropes around his hands and feet and fled, sheriff's Detective Barbara Davenport said.

Jonathan Meadows, a specialist assigned to the 37th Engineering Battalion, was charged with attempted murder and held in lieu of $50,000 bail.

Spc. Meadows spent weeks searching the Internet for someone who would be mistaken for himself, Detective Davenport said. The accused is 5-foot-6, about 150 pounds, with brown hair and blue eyes.

Spc. Meadows found Stephen "Jeremy" Bowen about two weeks ago, lured him to his home, tied him up and cut his throat Sunday night, Detective Davenport said.

Mr. Bowen, 26, who suffered severe cuts to his larynx, ran to a neighbor's house. Spc. Meadows surrendered shortly after the attack, authorities said.

Spc. Meadows, 20, said his plot was a way to get out of the Army, according to investigators.

He was frustrated with the Army and depressed, Detective Davenport said.

"He didn't want the Army looking for him," she said. "He didn't want his wife looking for him. He said he was going to assume a new identity. I think he thought it was set up so well that nobody would think [the body] wasn't him."

Spc. Meadows and Mr. Bowen first met last week at a book store in Fayetteville for coffee. They met a second time Sunday at Spc. Meadows' home, Detective Davenport said.

Cynthia Black, a public defender assigned to represent Spc. Meadows, wouldn't comment. Spc. Meadows' next court appearance is scheduled for Oct. 24.

From wire dispatches and staff reports.


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