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Remains of missing Virginia boy, 5, identified as police pursue new charges

Police in Virginia say they expect to file new criminal charges against the mother of a 5-year-old boy who disappeared 20 years ago after his skeletal remains – found in a trash can last year – were positively identified by using forensic genome sequencing. 

Logan Nathaniel Bowman was reported missing in Grayson County in January 2003. As the search for the boy dragged on, authorities charged his mother, Cynthia Davis, and her then-boyfriend, Dennis Schermerhorn, in his disappearance, according to WSLS.

Davis was convicted on second-degree murder charges in 2003, per Grayson County Circuit Court records, but the boy’s body was never found. Murder charges against Schermerhorn were dismissed in 2004 due to a lack of evidence, WSLS reported.

In September last year, a child’s skeletal remains, which had been in the area “for an extended period of time,” were recovered in a wooded area of Galax, Virginia, the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post.

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A man from out of town reportedly found the remains after buying the property, per WSLS. Carroll County Sheriff Kevin Kemp told the outlet that the long-missing boy came to mind at the time of the gruesome discovery.

“It was a day where I first thought, ‘What if these could be the remains of Logan Bowman?’” Kemp said. 

Last week, the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office announced that Othram Inc. identified the remains as Logan’s by using forensic genome sequencing. 

“This is still an ongoing investigation with new charges anticipated,” the department wrote.

“I want people to know that we don’t give up. And you may not know every little thing going on, it may be quiet for a little while, but this is proof that just because you don’t hear something every single week, it doesn’t mean there’s not work being done,” Kemp told WSLS of the announcement.

“We’ll do everything we can to press whatever charges need to be pressed,” he said.

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Kemp said he wasn’t surprised when Othram shared their findings.

“These are very rare circumstances that do not happen very often, so we understand the importance and the rarity of this circumstance,” Kemp said of the state of the remains. “So to say I’m not in shock with the outcome, I think would be understating it a little bit.”

Logan was last seen at his home on Jan. 2, 2003, according to the Doe Network.

Davis called the police to report a kidnapping on Jan. 26, telling the dispatcher that her son had gotten hurt by her boyfriend and that Schermerhorn had held her hostage.

The woman also told authorities that the 5-year-old ran a bath for himself while she was asleep and “got burned pretty bad” by hot water, but Schermerhorn wouldn’t let her take the boy to a doctor.

When she woke up on Jan. 7 and the boy was nowhere to be found, Davis said, Schermerhorn told her that he had taken him to his registered nurse mother.

Then, Davis told Grayson County Sheriff’s deputies, the boyfriend held her hostage for two weeks and hit her with a flashlight.

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Margaret Brandow, Schermerhorn’s mother, reportedly told deputies that she had last seen the child on Jan. 8 at her home in Galax. 

Meanwhile, Schermerhorn told police that the night Logan was allegedly burned, Davis took off with the boy in his car and that was the last time he ever saw the 5-year-old, per the Doe Network.

Alvin Bowman, the boy’s father, told deputies he last saw the boy on Christmas 2002 – although he was supposed to have joint custody of the child – and reported the boy missing on Jan. 27 after weeks of trying to get the boy from his mother for weekend visitation, according to the Doe Network.

Logan’s kindergarten teacher had reached out to the Department of Social Services on Nov. 19, 2002, with concerns that Logan was being abused.

Although Davis was initially sentenced to 30 years on the murder charge after entering a guilty plea in February 2003, she served 15 years behind bars and another 15 years of supervised probation, per online Virginia court records. Two 10-year sentences on two charges of child neglect were dropped in a plea deal, per court records.

Schermerhorn was sentenced to two years in prison on child neglect and assault and battery charges after a 2004 jury trial, according to court records, and served 13 months in a Virginia jail and one year on probation.

He was also sentenced to 30 days behind bars that year on a petit larceny conviction, court records show. It is unclear whether the incident was related to the child’s disappearance.

Fox News Digital could not reach attorneys listed for Schermerhorn or Davis in court records.

 

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