As the star quarterback for Steel-High, 2001 graduate David “Boobie” Bowers, made headlines with his leadership and athletic ability.
But at the age of 27, the young father of two made headlines for a very different reason.
He had been found dead in the backseat of a car in Lower Paxton Township. Police determined his cause of death was homicide.
It was March 2010. Bowers, who worked at the Army Depot in New Cumberland, went out drinking with a friend. Around 2 a.m., the pair stopped at a Sunoco on Union Deposit Road. Surveillance video shows they bought a few items and Bowers made a few phone calls. Police believe he was trying to find a friend to pick him up.
Eventually, police said Bowers went around to the rear of the gas station, possibly to relieve himself by a dumpster. A few minutes later, police said the video shows his friend drive the car around back.
Fifteen minutes later, police said the friend came back around front into the store and asked a customer for help loading Bowers into the car, claiming he was passed out drunk. But police said Bowers had been fatally injured, likely run over by a car.
“(It was) as though his liver had been crushed to the point it pretty much split, exploded,” Lower Paxton Township Detective Jeff Corcoran said. “(The pathologist) compared it to the trauma of a direct shotgun blast to the liver.”
Police said Bowers’ friend told them that after leaving the gas station, he drove to the West Shore to visit a female friend. Corcoran said she told police at that point Bowers was moving and making noise, but police have their doubts that he could have lived that long.
“The timing doesn’t make sense to me,” Corcoran said, noting the severity of Bowers’ injuries.
It wasn’t until several hours later that Bowers’ friend finally called for help. By that time, Boobie, as he was known, was dead in the backseat. By that time the friend’s car was parked at the Springford apartment complex in Lower Paxton.
Bower’s mother, Renee Drayton-Bowers, wears a bracelet that says “Justice for Boobie.” She said most of his friends have said they are not going to take their bracelets off until someone is held accountable for his death.
Drayton-Bowers believes her son’s friend knows more than he’s saying about what really happened behind that gas station.
“I know in my heart that he hit my son and I think the thing that bothers me the most is he’s supposed to be his friend,” she said.
“In my opinion, and I think collectively, it was an accident,” Corcoran said. “And I think there was a panic after the fact.”
Drayton-Bowers said her family needs answers about what really happened in those final hours. Her two grandsons need to know what really happened to their father.
“It’s not just my family wanting justice,” Drayton-Bowers said, “it’s the Steelton family, too. It would really mean a lot to us.”
“I am hoping one day the detective will call me and say, ‘you know what, we finally got him,’ ” she added.
But to make that phone call, Corcoran said he needs to fill in missing pieces of a very complicated puzzle.
“We can’t do anything necessarily without those pieces,” Corcoran said. “We need those pieces, and that’s where other people come into play.”
Abc27 is not naming the friend Bowers was with that night because he has not been charged with a crime.
Police said his story does not match what they were able to witness on surveillance tapes. They said there were no cameras to the rear of the gas station.
Abc27 tried to reach out to the friend several times but was not successful.
Bowers family is offering a reward of $5,000 in connection to this case. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Lower Paxton Township Police Department tipline at (717)-724-8317.
Corcoran said no detail is insignificant and encourages anyone who may be able to assist the investigation to contact him.
Bowers’ family is holding the 5th Annual David ‘Boobie’ Bowers Scholarship Fund Party on April 11 at 6 p.m. It will be held at Club 320 on North Front Street.