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Wendy K. Owings
Wendy K. Owings
(b. 1974) Wendy Owings is a Monroe County woman who confessed to the abduction and murder of Jill Behrman. Owings has lengthy criminal history, which includes charges of robbery, burglary, theft, forgery, battery and child molestation.
Owings' Confession to the Murder of Jill Behrman
In an amazingly detailed confession to FBI Agent Gary Dunn on March 22, 2002, Owings claimed responsibility for the murder of Behrman along with two others. Also implicated by Owings were Uriah J. Clouse and Alisha T. Evans (Sowders). Clouse, Owings and Evans had been identified as suspects as early as June 2000, less than a month after the disappearance, based on comments they had each separately made to others regarding Behrman.
On March 22, 2002 Owings told Agent Dunn that she, Clouse and Evans were driving around the south side of Bloomington smoking crack cocaine and drinking beer. She claimed that Uriah took his eyes off the road to watch as Evans struggled to inject a cocaine and water concoction into the top of her hand, and they then heard a thump. Thinking they hit a dog, Owings stated that Clouse got out the truck to look, becoming agitated when he realized they hit a woman. Owings claimed Behrman was then wrapped in industrial plastic sheeting and secured with bungee cords, then she and her bicycle were placed in the bed of the pick up truck while they drove around looking for a place to hide her body. Owings stated they ultimately ended up at the north fork of Salt Creek, where they all three tooks turns stabbing Behrman and placed her body headfirst into the creek. Owings confession prompted a massive search effort which included draining the north fork of Salt Creek, just north of Lake Monroe. The Probable Cause Affidavit of Gary Dunn detailing Owing's vivid confession included the names of numerous Bloomington residents, and seemed to be corroborated extensively by what investigators already knew about the case, eyewitness statements and physcial evidence. Additionally, of the approximately 46 individuals named in the affidavit, 22 came forward and told investigators that one of the three (Clouse, Owings and Evans) had told them of their involvement and the cover-up. According to the affidavit Clouse told five people, Owings told four people and Evans told thirteen, and these people came forward individually with their information. These confessions to friends and acquaintances allegedly happened independent of each other.
The day following the confession, investigators began a search of Salt Creek, the location Owings said Behrman's body was placed. That search was cut short by flooding, and was resumed in July and August 2002 after flood waters subsided. During these searches a large sheet of industrial plastic was found, consistent to that mentioned by Owings. On September 9, 2002 a large portion of Salt Creek was drained in the search effort. That effort yielded another sheet of industrial plastic, a bungee cord and a knife, also consistent with items mentioned by Owings. The search of Salt Creek ended however, without the discovery of Behrman's remains. Agent Dunn compiled a Probable Cause Affidavit detailing the confession, the search, and the results of the the search and presented it to prosecutors, although charges were never filed. Owings, Clouse and Evans all were administered polygraph examinations, and when when asked if they had knowledge of Behrman's disappearence the results indicated that Owings was not showing deception when as she stated that she did. Evans and Clouse were found to be showing deception when they answered the same questions with negative answers. Owings later recanted her confession, and despite the physical evidence tying her, Clouse and Evans to the crime, then Monroe County Prosecutor Carl Salzmann declined to pursue charges against the three.
Behrman's remains were recovered in March 2003 in Morgan County by a hunter. Almost immediately after the discovery, Owings' confession was dismissed as complete fabrication, despite the statements of eyewitnesses who offered strong support to the confession, and despite physical evidence tying Owings, Clouse and Evans to the crime. Owings' recanted her confession, citing pressure from investigators. In April 2006 Ellettsville man John R. Myers II was targeted for the crime by investigators, and despite a lack of evidence or motive he was convicted in October 2006.
Wendy Owings currently resides with family members in Monroe County.