sheriff car

OKANOGAN – A man wanted on a murder charge in the death of his sister-in-law was arrested Jan. 6 in downtown Okanogan.

Joseph Nathanael Bowers, 28, was taken to the Okanogan County Jail, said Sheriff Tony Hawley.

The sheriff’s office received a report at 11:49 a.m. of a man swinging an ax near the Okanogan Chevron on South Second Avenue. The female caller said she last saw him walking toward the Okanogan School District bus garage on South Fist Avenue.

Deputy Eric Orr arrived three minutes later and recognized the man as Bowers, for whom an arrest warrant was issued Dec. 22, 2020. Orr contacted Bowers and arrested him without incident at 11:54 a.m., after other deputies and the Omak Police Department arrived to assist, Hawley said.

Bowers was re-charged Dec. 8 with first-degree murder in the death of Angela Marie Bowers, 38, in June 2019. He was initially charged Nov. 27, 2019, with first-degree murder in Angela Bowers’ death.

Her body was found in the trunk of a burning vehicle in Aeneas Valley on June 3. 2019. Charging was delayed until November 2019 while DNA evidence was tested to determine the identity of the person in the trunk.

Joseph Bowers’ brother, Lance Robert Bowers, 38, also is charged in the death.

The charge against Joseph Bowers was dismissed March 2, 2020, without prejudice, meaning it could be refiled. Okanogan County Prosecuting Attorney Arian Noma said the two were on different trial tracks because charges against the two men were filed at different times.

On Dec. 21, 2020, amended charges were filed against Lance Bowers. He is charged with first-degree murder, first-degree reckless burning, theft of a firearm, first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm, possession of a stolen firearm and two counts of first-degree assault with a firearm or deadly weapon.

Lance Bowers faced charges of assault and other crimes before his wife’s body was found in the burned remains of his vehicle. The murder charge was filed later, and the court subsequently allowed the cases to be joined.

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