Mom, brother of missing twins feared dead are going to trial
PITTSBURGH (AP) — The mother and brother of twins who’ve been missing for more than 10 years must stand trial on charges they’ve concealed the twins as police for the first time have acknowledged they believe the twins are dead.
“In my professional opinion, I believe they’ve met their demise,” Allegheny County Detective Michael Kuma testified Monday at a preliminary hearing for Patricia Fowler, of Penn Hills, just east of Pittsburgh.
Fowler, 47, is charged with concealing the whereabouts of Ivon and Inisha Fowler, a boy and girl who would be about 17 now, and with endangering their welfare, obstructing an investigation and making false statements to police. Her son, Datwon Fowler, 19, waived his hearing on related counts including conspiracy and criminal use of a cellphone, which he’s accused of using to text Penn Hills Detective Michael McGuire while claiming to be Ivon in August.
McGuire testified the Ivon in the cellphone text message claimed to be safe and sound. But GPS tracked the phone to the address where Datwon Fowler lived with his mother, not out of state, where the Fowlers say the twins are living. Datwon Fowler then acknowledged lying and pretending to be Ivon.
Kuma testified Datwon Fowler “just wanted everybody to leave the family alone.”
Datwon Fowler’s attorney, Richard McCague, said after the hearing that his client “has been very loyal to his mother,” but he declined to comment on the charges.
“The major concern here is where in the heck are these kids,” he added.
Patricia Fowler dodged that question and others as she hurried to a car driven by her public defender, Aaron Sontz, who also declined to comment.
She has told police the twins are living with friends or relatives in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia and has said she sold them years ago for $2,000 each to a woman she didn’t know in a deal brokered by a man she met in a bar, before acknowledging that’s a lie, authorities say.
Police became involved only after county Office of Children, Youth and Families caseworkers had officers help remove four other children from the Fowlers’ home for medical neglect in June, McGuire testified. About two weeks later, the agency called back and told police about Ivon and Inisha, who haven’t been seen since at least 2006.
Kuma said he believes the twins are dead because of things Datwon Fowler told investigators, including that they were sick before they disappeared.
The only documented abuse against Ivon or Inisha was burns Ivon suffered months before he was last seen. His mother wasn’t criminally charged and didn’t lose custody of him then.
Sontz, the mother’s public defender, argued the charges should be dismissed because she hasn’t concealed the children in relation to a custody or abuse case. Assistant District Attorney Lee Goldfarb argued the abuse was her failure to account for the children over several years.
“They are currently still being concealed or they are no longer with us,” Goldfarb said.
Police have been unable to find school records using the children’s names, birth dates and Social Security numbers.