The New York Police Department has linked the 1989 decapitation murder of a pregnant Manhattan woman to Philip Ward, the father of two of the victim’s children, who currently is a guest of the state doing a life sentence for rape and murder convictions.
According to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, the victim, Veronica Bowen, was found naked and headless on the rooftop of Ward’s apartment building on Riverside Drive and West 148th Street on February 24, 1989.
“This particularly gruesome murder finally resulted in criminal
charges through the efforts of NYPD’s and my Office’s Cold Case Units,”
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance says. “Cold cases are not
forgotten cases, and hopefully, this will bring a small measure of
closure to the victim’s family after 23 years.”
Ward and Bowen met as teenagers while living together in a foster
home. The couple had two children together.
According to Vance, the couple’s relationship was marred by domestic
violence — Bowen eventually moved out of the Riverside Drive apartment
she shared with Ward and their children.
On February 9, 1989, Bowen was reported missing. Her headless body was found 15 days later. Her head was never recovered.
Authorities have suspected Ward in Bowen’s murder for years — about five
years after allegedly killing Bowen, Ward murdered his next girlfriend,
and has been at the Clinton Correctional Facility ever since his 1994
Ward has pleaded not guilty this morning to one count of second-degree murder.