On Sept. 11, 1980, 25 year old Kathleen Doyle went missing. Her husband, who worked as a Navy Pilot, spent decades finding the culprit. He traveled to Norfolk, wrote to the newspaper, talked to detectives and prosecutors and City Council members. As the decades passed, he met with one police chief and then the next. After he retired from the Navy, he spent the rest of his life trying to help solve Kathleen O’Brien Doyle’s murder. In November 2020, 39 years after her de*ath, police finally solved the case.

A man has pleaded guilty to mur*dering the wife of a Navy pilot nearly 40 years ago.

71-year-old Dennis Lee Bowman pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree mu*rder, one count of rape, and one count of burglary. 

25-year-old Kathleen Doyle was found d*ead in her Norfolk home on Sept. 11, 1980. She was the daughter of a naval officer and the wife of a U.S. Navy pilot who was on deployment at the time of her mu*rder.

Bowman was arrested last year in Allegan County, Michigan, where he had been living. 

At hearing, Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Philip G. Evans II spoke of how Kathleen’s father spent the rest of his life in regular communication with detectives to help ensure his daughter’s killer was identified and found. 

Her father passed away in 2016, so Evans said he was reading “on his behalf, in his honor, and in her memory” words Kathleen’s father previously wrote while remembering her:

“Though her pictures are all around me – on my desk and on the wall – I find it hard to describe Kathleen. My descriptive powers are simply inadequate to portray all her special qualities,” Evans read.

After Bowman pleaded guilty, he was sentenced to life in prison on both the mu*rder and ra*pe charges, and 20 years for burglary.

Bowman is also accused of murd*ering his adoptive daughter in Michigan in 1989, and is awaiting extradition now that the Virginia case has concluded. Aundria Bowman was 14 years old when she disappeared from the family’s home in March of 1989.

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