Chesterton Tribune

Dustin McCowan's dad says real killer of Amanda Bach is still out there; 10K reward offered

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A supporter of Amanda Bach’s accused killer, Dustin McCowan, is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person who—McCowan’s father told the Chesterton Tribune today—actually committed the murder.

The reward is good through March 18 and all information provided in the hope of claiming it must be submitted to the Porter County Sheriff’s Police, Elliott McCowan said.

“Somebody contacted me and said they were a supporter of Dustin, said they didn’t believe Dustin was a murderer, and wanted to offer a $10,000 reward,” Elliott McCowan told the Tribune.

In the spirit in which the offer was made, Elliott McCowan accepted it. “Any publicity we can get for Dustin is good,” he said.

There is a catch, however. His son’s supporter originally wanted to place a two-week window on the reward, “to put some pressure on these people” who might have information, Elliott McCowan said. “I got them to extend it by two weeks, to March 18.”

Elliott McCowan also wanted to arrange for Crime Stoppers or some other tip hotline to administer the reward but was unsuccessful, he said. “Unfortunately, persons with information must deal with the Porter County Sheriff’s Department.”

The PCSP may be reached at 477-3000.

Meanwhile, Elliott McCowan expressed disappointment at the speed with which his son became investigators’ chief—and apparently only—suspect in Bach’s murder. At the bond hearing in November, Dustin McCowan’s attorney, Bob Harper, made much the same point, when he suggested that investigators “jumped the gun” in focusing on his client in the hours after Bach’s disappearance in the early morning hours of Friday, Sept. 16, and the discovery of her body some 36 hours later, on Saturday, Sept. 17, about 300 yards from the McCowan home in Union Township.

Today Elliott McCowan cited an ongoing murder investigation in Dyersburg, Tenn., in which a woman named Karen Johnson Swift, 44, disappeared under circumstances which he suggests are similar to those in the Bach case. On Oct. 30, 2011—about a month after Bach’s body was found—Swift disappeared from her home in the middle of the night. Her vehicle, a 2004 Nissan Murano, was later found abandoned—with a flat tire—half a mile away from her residence. Swift’s body was found more than a month later, on Dec. 10, roughly three miles from her abandoned vehicle, in a weedy area off a road. Investigators are calling the case a homicide but have either not determined or not released the cause of death.

Besides Swift’s general physical similarity to Bach and the fact that in both cases the victims’ bodies were discovered off-road in brush some three miles from their abandoned vehicles—each disabled by a flat tire—Elliott McCowan noted that the two victims’ cell phones apparently have yet to be found.

PCSP Det. Com. Jeff Biggs—the lead investigator in the Bach case—for his part told the Tribune today that “a $10,000 reward is not necessary.”

“We’ve never closed our doors to anybody with information,” Biggs said. “We never stopped investigating. We never stopped interviewing people. If there was anything new that came out, we would definitely follow up on it.”

“All the information we received in this case, none of it points to anyone else but Dustin,” Biggs added.

Biggs also said that he is familiar with the Swift case in Dyersburg, Tenn. “Do I see any similarities in it to our case? No.”



Posted 2/7/2012