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Mother of girl murdered in Columbia County is searching for clues

The Columbia County Sheriff's Office says 18-year-old Coyoete Turner was found burned in a field on September 3. John Bowen was named as person of interest Monday.

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Fla. — The mother of an 18-year-old girl found dead and her body partially is desperate to know what happened to her daughter. 

"Coyoete was a special woman. She loved everybody, she loved her family, and she wanted to have a beautiful life," the victim's mother Eleanor Houston said. 

The Columbia County Sheriff's Office says on September 3, the body of a female was discovered in a field in the area of SW Haltiwanger Road in Columbia County. The victim was identified as 18-year-old Coyoete Turner. Detectives say her body was partially burned. Her mother, Eleanor Houston, says she wants answers. 

"She didn't deserve what she got. Nobody like deserves something like that," Houston said. "People don't understand what you're going through, when you lose a child, much less to the way she died."

The Sheriff's Office says based on witness statements, evidence from the crime scene, and other investigative efforts, the person of interest is 47-year-old John Leonard Bowen. Bowen is a registered sex offender and according to the victim's mother, a family friend. 

"He wouldn't harm a child like that. You've got to have certain traits to do what you have done to my daughter, and he doesn't carry those traits," Houston said. 

Detectives are asking for anyone who has had contact with Bowen or may have seen him on Saturday night September 2nd through Sunday September 3rd to call police. Detectives say Bowen may have been driving a red Dodge Journey SUV. 

Bowen was arrested on September 7th on unrelated charges stemming from violations of his sex offender registration. The homicide investigation is still continuing.

"I want answers and I want the people to come forth," Houston said. 

Anyone who may have information is asked to contact Detective Truesdale at (386) 758-1375. You may also report information anonymously through Crime Stoppers of Columbia County by calling (386) 754-7099 or making a report online at www.columbiacrimestoppers.net.


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