Oct. 20, 2006 — -- New Orleans is still reeling from news this week that a bartender reportedly strangled his girlfriend, dismembered her body, and cooked some of the body parts on his stove before jumping to his death.
Now, it turns out, he was an Iraq war hero.
That's just one of the tragic ironies and mysteries of the suspected murder-suicide that has shaken residents of Crescent City.
Police said the mystery began on Tuesday when the body of Zachary Bowen, 28, was found on top of a parking garage.
A suicide note in his right, front pocket led cops to a grisly crime scene at his apartment in the French Quarter.
According to news reports, two pots were sitting on the stove, one containing a woman's head and another holding her hands and feet. Police believe the body parts belong to Bowen's girlfriend, Addie Hall.
In the oven, detectives reportedly found turkey-basting trays containing legs and arms sprinkled with seasoning.
A Los Angeles native, Bowen moved to New Orleans in the mid-'90s, and enlisted in the Army in May 2000.
He served in Kosovo and Iraq as a military policeman, earning several medals including the NATO medal and the Presidential Unit Citation, which is awarded to military units that have performed a heroic act in the face of an armed enemy.
After his discharge, Bowen returned to New Orleans, where he was hired at several bars because of his good looks, charming manners, and long blond hair.
But he seemed haunted by his past, writing in the suicide letter that he had 28 cigarette burns on his body to mark his failures in "school, jobs, military, marriage, parenthood, morals, love" for each year of his existence.
A fellow bartender told the New Orleans Times-Picayune that after downing rounds of Miller High Life and Jameson's Irish Whiskey, Bowen would grow depressed when talking about his military service, indicating that there was an overseas incident involving a child that haunted him