Local News

Judge Denies Bond For Texas Mother Accused Of Killing Son

Posted October 5, 2005

— A young Texas mother accused of killing her own son was denied bond Wednesday after the Durham prosecutor in the case against her expressed concerns that she was a major flight-risk.

Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson agreed with prosecutor Mitch Gerrell and denied Amber Dowen, 20, of Riverside, Texas, bond. Dowen and her husband, Richard Dowen, 32 are accused of starving her 4-year-old son, Randy, to death.

Last month, authorities arrested the Texas couple after Richard Dowen flagged down Deputy R.T. Tonietta along Interstate 40 in Durham to ask for directions to a hospital. When Tonietta looked in the back of Dowen's tractor-trailer, he saw Amber Dowen holding her son, who had been wrapped in a towel.

The boy, who police said had bruises and marks on his chest, died the next day at Duke University Medical Center, weighing between 12 and 19 pounds.

Investigators said they believe the abuse had lasted for several months. Photos of the child show his eyes and cheeks were sunken and his ribs and most of his bones were protruding.

But Amber Dowen's attorney, Michael Driver, said in court Wednesday that the whole picture of what really happened and who was responsible was still unclear.

"We don't know who played what role in what happened here," Driver said.

Although he would not explain why, Driver repeatedly reminded the judge that Amber Dowen was just 20 years old and that her husband was 32 years old.

"He is certainly 12 years older than she is," Driver said. "And he's not Randy's biological father."

The couple does have together a 15-month-old daughter, who is now in custody with Durham County Social Services. Photos of her show a seemingly happy and apparently well-fed little girl.

Gerrell told the judge, however, that he also had some concerns about the daughter as well.

Prosecutors said they are considering the death penalty and may announce their decision in the next couple of weeks.

Richard Dowen is also in jail without bond.

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