05/18/2024

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Connor and Betty Bowman poisoning

‘Is widow gender neutral’: Mayo Clinic doctor accused of poisoning wife said on dating app that he was widower before she died, police say

Dr. Connor Bowman, inset, is accused of fatally poisoning his wife Betty Bowman at their home in Minnesota on Aug. 16, 2023. (Betty Bowman: GoFundMe; Connor Bowman: Rochester Police Department.)

The Mayo Clinic doctor who authorities say killed his wife last summer after he spiked her smoothie with gout medicine did not wait long to jump on a dating app following the death, cops in Minnesota say they recently learned. In fact, he allegedly identified as a widower and did a Google search for “is widow gender neutral” even before she died.

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    Dr. Connor Bowman was charged last summer with second-degree murder in the death of Betty Jo Bowman, but a grand jury indicted him for first-degree murder in January. His wife died at a hospital on Aug. 20 following a four-day stay for what doctors initially thought was food poisoning. Her condition “deteriorated rapidly” from the time of her admission and she began to experience cardiac issues, fluid in her lungs, and organ failure. She was considered a healthy person before her hospital admission, making her death suspicious, investigators said.

    Cops grew even more leery of the doctor after friends said Betty Bowman was seeking a divorce and he was in hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. Friends also noted that as a pharmacy resident who also worked in poison control, he would have the knowledge to poison his wife if he wanted. The Southeast Minnesota Medical Examiner determined her cause of death to be toxic effects of colchicine and the manner of death to be homicide.

    Investigators claim that Connor Bowman used his Mayo Clinic email address to buy the the drug colchicine — the drug used to treat gout — that they believe he used to poison his wife. He tried to blame her for buying the drug that killed her, saying she “fraudulently” bought the drug under his name, authorities said.

    Detectives recently obtained information from a warrant on his phone which showed he was on the dating app Bumble by Aug. 29, just nine after his wife’s death. He identified himself as a widower and began chatting with a woman. The woman allegedly told cops she thought it was strange that he brought up the fact that he obtained a nearly $500,000 payout from his wife’s death.

    Connor Bowman talked to another woman who asked if it was OK to be flirting with someone and he said it was fine and that his deceased wife would want him to move on and be happy, according to the warrant. He said his wife had died of “listeria poisoning,” a foodborne bacterial illness, “earlier in the summer,” the warrant said. The doctor allegedly told another woman his wife died of a morphine overdose about a year prior.

    Cops also obtained his Google searches from his phone which included looking for “is widow gender neutral” on Aug. 18, two days before his wife’s death.

    As Law&Crime previously reported, Connor Bowman suggested to others and in his wife’s obituary that she suffered from hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis, or “HLH,” which is a rare illness where certain blood cells build up and damage organs. But investigators learned she had no previous symptoms of HLH.

    The day after she died, the medical examiner’s office alerted the Rochester Police Department about a suspicious death. The office had prevented a cremation from taking place due to the unusual circumstances, according to documents.

    Connor Bowman had asked the medical examiner’s office that his wife should be “cremated immediately” because her death was natural, authorities said. But according to the medical examiner, they received a call from a woman who knew the Bowmans who said the couple was having marital issues and “talking about a divorce following infidelity and a deteriorating relationship,” a probable cause arrest affidavit said.

    Defendant Bowman emailed death investigators at the medical examiner’s office asking if toxicology reports that were being completed were more “thorough” than what would typically be done at a hospital, the affidavit said. He also asked for a list of what would be tested.

    Connor Bowman had attended pharmacy school and worked in poison control in Kansas and was currently in medical school. A spokesperson from the Mayo Clinic said in a statement to Law&Crime that his residency at the hospital had just finished in October.

    “We are aware of the recent arrest of a former Mayo Clinic resident on charges unrelated to his Mayo Clinic responsibilities,” the statement said. The hospital would not comment further.

    Betty Bowman had recently told others that her husband was in debt so they kept separate bank accounts. Connor Bowman told a friend he was going to receive a $500,000 life insurance policy as a result of his wife’s death. Investigators found a check for nearly $500,000 from an insurance company in the Bowman home.

    In Rochester Police Department applications for search warrants previously reviewed by Law&Crime, friends of the couple depict a marriage on the rocks because of financial troubles and infidelity. Though the Bowmans were in an “open relationship,” the couple agreed they would not become emotionally attached to their other partners. However, Connor Bowman became infatuated with his new girlfriend, friends told detectives. Betty Bowman allegedly confronted her husband about the woman and suggested they start divorce proceedings. One friend said she went to see Connor Bowman at his home three days after the death to find the girlfriend there with him and his wife’s photos taken down, the warrant said.

    Another pal said she was visiting with Betty Bowman 10 days before her death when she gave her a smoothie her husband had made for her in a Lilo & Stich cup. It “tasted very bad,” and the friend thought it was strange Connor Bowman had made a smoothie for his wife because he “never made anything for anybody,” according to the warrant.

    “[The friend] said jokingly at the time that Connor must be trying to poison her, but didn’t think much of it at the time. Betty even joked that she had considered it at the time and said she didn’t think that would happen but decided to not drink the smoothie anyway and threw it out,” the warrant said. The friend became suspicious when Betty Bowman suddenly became ill and died.

    The doctor also was not acting like a grieving husband typically would in the days following his wife’s death, the friends said. He seemed “stoic and calm,” even going out for drinks where he “appeared to be happy or at least indifferent” about his wife’s death two days after the fact.

    One of Betty Bowman’s boyfriends told detectives that Betty Bowman, on Aug. 14, told him she “had a few days off work and was looking to spend some time with him.” The two saw each other the next day and texted later that night while she was drinking with her husband at home.

    On Aug. 16, she told him she was so sick she could not sleep at all. She said she thought it may have been an alcoholic drink that she had that caused her illness because it was mixed in a large smoothie. She went to the hospital a short time later.

    Bowman remains at the Olmstead County Jail awaiting trial. His next court date is scheduled for June 11.

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    The post ‘Is widow gender neutral’: Mayo Clinic doctor accused of poisoning wife said on dating app that he was widower before she died, police say first appeared on Law & Crime.