Police: Doctor may have called himself a widower before wife’s death

Posted at 5:05 PM, May 9, 2024

OLMSTEAD COUNTY, Minn. (Court TV) — A Minnesota doctor accused of fatally poisoning his wife may have identified as a widower in conversations with other women before she died, according to newly unsealed court documents.

booking photo of Dr. Connor Fitzgerald Bowman

Dr. Connor Bowman is charged with first-degree murder in the death of his wife, who was poisoned. (Rochester Police Department via Scripps News)

The allegation appears in a search warrant application for records from Connor Bowman’s account on the dating site, Bumble. The application includes allegations of suspicious conversations with other women and potentially incriminating internet activity before and after the death of Bowman’s wife, Betty Bowman, in August 2023.

Connor Bowman, a former Mayo Clinic pharmaceutical resident, was arrested in October and later indicted on first- and second-degree murder charges. Betty Bowman — a Mayo Clinic pharmacist — died on August 20, 2023, four days after she was hospitalized for what she told friends might be food poisoning. An autopsy determined Betty died of poisoning from colchicine, a drug used to treat gout, even though she was never prescribed colchicine or diagnosed with gout.

Internet searches for “colchicine” and evidence of the purchase of colchicine were found on a computer Connor used, the affidavit states. Two days before Betty died, a Google search was performed on Connor’s cell phone for “is widow gender neutral,” Rochester Police Det. Alex Kendrick said in a search warrant application filed under seal on May 6. Other evidence found on the computer included:

  • A Google search for “police track package delivery
  • A Google search for “delete Amazon data police
  • A Google search for “police search history
  • A visit to an article titled “Internet browsing history: Can it be used in court?”

The detective sought access to records from Connor’s Bumble account, alleging that Connor’s activity on the dating application — combined with the Google search and witness interviews — indicated “Connor was identifying himself as a widower even before Betty died.”

The affidavit does not specify the circumstances under which Connor allegedly called himself a widower before Betty’s death. But a witness allegedly told the detective Connor’s profile said he was a widower when she spoke to him on September 5, 2023.

The woman said Connor told her his wife died earlier in the summer when, in fact, only two and half weeks had passed, according to the affidavit. Connor also said listeria poisoning may have caused Betty’s death. When the woman asked Connor how he felt about flirting, Connor allegedly told her, “he was ok being with a new person, that he knew what he wanted in life, and that Betty would have wanted him to move on to be happy,” the affidavit states. Connor also explained he and Betty were “ENM,” or “ethically non‐monogamous,” in their relationship.

Another female witness allegedly told the detective she thought it was “strange” that Connor was on Bumble so soon after Betty’s death, matching with him on August 29, 2023, according to the affidavit. She also thought it was strange that he brought up the large life insurance payout he received and used to pay off his student loan debt. Another female witness also said Connor allegedly lied to her about the circumstances of Betty’s death, saying Betty died a year prior while on comfort care due to a morphine overdose.

Betty’s friends told investigators the couple’s relationship was strained, and she was planning to divorce Connor amid concerns he was concealing debt from her and developing an “emotional connection” with a woman he was seeing.

Friends also told investigators that Betty texted them about becoming ill after Connor gave her a drink. One of those people was a man Betty was seeing, one of her “extramarital romantic interests,” according to the affidavit.

The man told investigators Betty canceled plans to spend time with him on August 16 because she was sick after Connor “surprised” her with an alcoholic beverage the night before. The man said he became suspicious “because Connor and Betty were having severe relationship issues, but Connor had decided to make her a drink, which was out of character for him.”

Another witness who visited Connor’s house three days after Betty died said photos of Betty had been taken down, and another woman was with Connor, the affidavit states.