Friday, January 07, 2005

Warrant info sheds light on death case

Warrant info sheds light on death case: Tempe police released search warrants Thursday in the death and disappearance investigation of Loretta Bowersock, making public for the first time reasons why investigators suspect her companion Taw Benderly. "Very early on, inconsistencies in his story seemed to multiply," said Sgt. Dan Masters, department spokesman. Bowersock, a 69-year-old Tempe woman, has been missing since Dec. 14. Benderly, the only person being investigated, hanged himself Dec. 23. advertisement The 29-page packet shows a dirt-covered pick and shovel were in the minivan Benderly said he drove to Tucson with Bowersock. Police also found passports and suitcases. Several travel bags contained Benderly's clothing, while one held Bowersock's. A black purse containing Bowersock's driver's license, credit cards and checkbook was wrapped in a towel in a second minivan inside the couple's garage. This seems to contradict Benderly's report that Bowersock was last seen at a Tucson mall, Masters said. "If she had planned to go to Tucson for a shopping trip and be overnight, you would think her purse would have been with her," he said. Investigators are narrowing their search for Bowersock's body to the Pinal County desert because receipts show Benderly purchased gas about 9 a.m. in Tempe, and refilled again in Casa Grande. He also bought a hat. "It's highly probable he drove off the interstate somewhere in the vicinity of Casa Grande and either dumped her body or buried it somewhere in the desert," Masters said.

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