Kansas City police are investigating whether a 53-year-old man shot to death in his Northland house Wednesday night died during a home-invasion robbery.
But Albert R. Bowman, known as Rusty, didn’t have any valuables in his home in the 5300 block of Northeast Munger Drive, which is between Interstate 35 and Northeast Vivion Road, relatives said.
Bowman and his wife had bought a home in Warsaw, Mo., and moved 90 percent of their belongings. They placed a for-sale sign in their yard about six months ago and planned to finish moving within a year, after Bowman retired from the city’s water department.
“There’s no reason for it,” said Andrew Taylor, Bowman’s brother-in-law and neighbor. “All they had in there was a couple of old chairs, nothing of value, just the essentials.”
The couple lived simply in a downstairs bedroom to keep the house ready to show to prospective buyers.
Bowman’s wife found his body about 10:35 p.m. Wednesday after returning from an errand to fetch him dessert. Police would not say if there were signs of forced entry or whether anything was stolen.
The fact that the killer struck while the wife was gone makes relatives wonder if someone had been watching the house and expected no one to be home. Neighbors didn’t hear gunshots or anything suspicious. Taylor’s dogs, which bark at any odd noises, remained silent.
The crime was atypical for the neighborhood, Taylor said.
“It’s quite a shock,” he said. “People are like, ‘Are you kidding? Rusty?’ ”
Bowman loved hunting and fishing and was known to help neighbors. When it snowed, he used his plow to clear the street so neighbors wouldn’t have to wait for city crews. He’d also clear snow from neighbors’ driveways, and in the summer, mow their grass if they needed help.
“I’ve seen him mow people’s yards just because their mower broke down,” Taylor said. “They didn’t even have to ask.”
The Bowmans have lived on the street for about 35 years, the last 15 in the house where he died. Taylor and his brother bought Bowman’s old house.
In recent months, the Bowmans have spent weekends at their Warsaw house. They were “really looking forward to moving there,” near many relatives, Taylor said.
But now, his widow is alone.
“She keeps saying, ‘What am I going to do without him,’” Taylor said.
“It’s just scary. I know in my heart that it’s a random thing and that’s the scariest part of all.”
Bowman leaves three adult daughters and several grandchildren.
Anyone with information should call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS (474-8477).
| Glenn E. Rice, firstname.lastname@example.org