Before a game, Tayvon Bowers has a lot on his mind. School, defenses, his girlfriend, but what keeps him focused is the drive to be even better than his father.
“I feel like I’m showing people that I’m the better passer out of us two,” Bowers says. “He ran a lot better probably, but I like passing more.”
One of the best passers in the state Tayvon is definitely leaving his mark. But make no mistake his Dad left his mark on him. As a quarterback for Steel-High David Boobie Bowers led the rollers to the class A quarter-final in 2000, Tayvon was just a baby watching with his mom as his Dad played the game.
“Tayvon was the little boy at the football field watching his Dad eating french fries” says Jennifer Wilkerson who was David’s girlfriend and the mother of their two children.
She also says David helped turn Tayvon into the quarterback he is today. But that guidance was cut short. David was found dead in the backseat of a car in March of 2010. Detective Jeff Corcoran was called to the scene that day he says the facts of the case don’t add up.
“It’s a puzzle with missing pieces and we cannot, even though we want to believe we know what the pieces look like to fit those missing spots. We don’t want to make a mistake and put the wrong pieces in and paint the wrong picture.”
Cororan says the pieces are David and his friend were out drinking. They stopped at a gas station on Union Deposit road. David went around back possibly to go to the bathroom. Eventually the friend drove around back, what happened next only that friend knows.
“In this case there’s really one way for the truth to reveal itself and that’s for that person to come to the table and tell that story of what really happened” says Corcoran.
Corcoran says the friend asked for help loading a passed out Bowers into the back of his car. He drove to another friend’s apartment and left him in the car over night. The next morning he discovered he was dead and called for help. Police interviewed Bowers’ friend but he was not charged with a crime.
The death was ruled a homicide, the autopsy revealed a crushed liver from what could have been a car’s impact but with limited surveillance footage and no other eye witness the pain of an unsolved case still ripples through three generations of family.
“It’s not going to ever go away It’s always going to be that gap or that moment when you see Tayvon he’s doing these things, Jordan’s going to be following… they don’t have that” says Wilkerson. But she also knows it’s that absence that makes Tayvon stronger. Tayvon isn’t afraid to admit it still hurts.
“It really hurts sometimes to not have a father I wish sometimes I could look up at my Dad up in the stands and stuff like that, that’s why I do go hard every time I play because I know that’s what he would want and I know he’s up there watching.”
Tayvon’s grandmother, Renee Drayton-Bowers still has hope that her son’s case can be solved.
“You know there’s a reason for everything but I’m glad that my son had a son that I can look back and say he is just like my son.”
Just a junior at Bishop McDevitt Tayvon has one thing he wants to do differently than his father. He wants to play college football, a dream his father gave up to take care of him. Bishop McDevitt head coach Jeff Weachter says Bowers has already received interest from schools in the Big Ten and ACC and he expects more after the season.
It looks like Tayvon will have everything his father could have wanted for him and more.
If you have any information about David Bowers case please contact the Lower Paxton Police.