VALPARAISO | The father of Dustin McCowan told jurors Thursday morning he discovered a .38-caliber, five-shot revolver missing from his then-Union Township home on the day his son's former girlfriend was found shot to death fewer than 300 yards from the house.
Joseph Elliott McCowan said he had the Smith & Wesson gun since 2005 or 2006 and had last seen the loaded weapon under a couch on Sept. 12, 2011, days before 19-year-old Amanda Bach was shot to death. Dustin McCowan is on trial, accused of murdering Bach.
An FBI firearm examiner testified Tuesday the bullet removed from Bach's body is of the "same design" as cartridges turned over by Joseph McCowan for the missing gun. But it also was stated the bullet could have been fired from a few different types and makes of guns in the .38-caliber family.
In response to questioning from the defense, Joseph McCowan said police would not have known about the missing gun had he not offered the information. He also said that while his son had access to the gun and knew how to shoot, 13 others also had access to the missing weapon.
He denied making any attempt to cover up his son's involvement in the case and confirmed the validity of work records showing he was on the job as a Crown Point police officer during and immediately following the Sept. 16, 2011, believed killing time. A neighbor of McCowan at the time testified she saw Joseph Elliott McCowan's police car at home on the night in question.
Earlier in the morning, Dustin McCowan's uncle Russell McCowan testified Dustin canceled a visit with him on the night he is accused of killing Bach.
Russell McCowan said Dustin McCowan confirmed the visit of Sept. 16, 2011, only to respond a few minutes later that his stomach hurt and he was going to bed.
The testimony comes just days after Dustin McCowan’s friend Jordan Walbright told jurors Dustin McCowan sent her repeated text messages between 1:36 and 4:07 a.m. the same day, saying he was on his way to her house. But he never showed up.
Dustin McCowan’s mother, Jamie Tome, told jurors Thursday morning she was concerned when she learned Bach’s body had been found near the Union Township home where her son had been living at the time with his father.
Tome testified she suggested McCowan return from his planned trip to Indiana University in Bloomington to help search for Bach. According to Tome, McCowan responded that he would have returned had he been the one who had driven to Bloomington.
Capt. Jeff Biggs, commander of the Porter County sheriff's Detective Bureau, has led the McCowan investigation. He testified late Thursday that more than 150 people were interviewed and yet evidence pointed to no one but McCowan.
The defense meticulously picked away at the investigation, arguing significant information had been ignored by police and much of the investigation was carried out after McCowan already was charged.
Biggs said a five-hour search of the McCowan home revealed nothing linking McCowan to the murder.