Police in two Maryland counties are trying to figure out how a woman allegedly has been able to live with the frozen corpses of her children for at least a year without anyone knowing.
The children's remains, which police believe to be the two young daughters of Renee Bowman of Lusby, Md., were found last week stuffed in a freezer in the family's home. Police made the discovery after raiding the home in search of evidence relating to child abuse charges involving a third daughter, Calvert County Sheriff's Office Lt. Bobby Jones told ABCNews.com.
While the medical examiner's office has not formally identified the girls, Jones said they are believed to be Bowman's adopted daughters, born in 1997 and 1999.
Police are still piecing together a timeline for the family, but believe the two girls were killed in Montgomery County one to two years ago. Their frozen bodies may have been transported in a freezer when Bowman and her now 7-year-old daughter, also adopted, moved more than an hour away to Lusby in February.
"We believe they've been in the freezer the whole time," Jones said.
Montgomery County Police Lt. Paul Starks said police were interviewing people in the area to determine when the family lived in the town of Rockville and "also when the children were last seen alive."
She has not yet been charged with the murder of the children, Starks said, because police have not yet confirmed where exactly they were killed.
Bowman is being held without bond in Calvert County on child abuse charges, Jones said, while the Montgomery County authorities investigate.
The case was set in motion last week when Calvert County police officers were called to a home on Pawnee Lane after Bowman's 7-year-old knocked on the door of a neighbor after jumping out of her second-story bedroom window on nearby Buckskin Trail.
"When the officer got there, he saw she has some signs of what looked to be physical abuse and neglect," Jones said.
The girl showed police where she had jumped out the window, telling officers that she had been locked in her bedroom and left unattended. Bowman, Jones said, was charged with first-degree assault and child abuse, both felonies.
"She basically admitted that she had struck the child with a hard-heeled shoe," he said.
A search warrant was granted to look for further evidence, which led police to find the frozen bodies in a basement freezer Friday.
Jones said police in Calvert County never had a reason to question the welfare of Bowman or any children. The only contact police have made with her since she moved into town was a routine traffic stop.
Likewise, Child Protective Services in Montgomery County also never had reason to visit the home, Starks said.
A teenage neighbor said he lives about three houses away from Bowman's Buckskin Trail house, but never knew the woman or her 7-year-old.
"I've seen a car there a couple of times, but never people," he said.
The teen said the two-story tan house was blocked off with police-tape, and a crush of police and news vehicles made it nearly impossible to get a car down the street.
"It's, like, unusual it would happen around here," he said.