Crime & Courts

Wasilla man gets more than 13 years for kidnapping 2 girls in North Pole

Michael Dewayne Bowen Jr., 41, was sentenced Friday in Fairbanks federal court to more than 13 years for abducting two young girls in North Pole in August 2015.

U.S. District Court Judge Ralph Beistline imposed a sentence of 160 months in prison and lifetime supervised release. A plea agreement negotiated by both parties asked the judge to hand down a sentence of 10 years.

Bowen, a Wasilla resident, entered into the plea agreement back in July on a reduced count of enticement of a minor.

North Pole police officers responded to a home there on the evening of Aug. 1, 2015, for a report of two missing girls, ages 7 and 9.

The girls' mother told police her daughters were bicycling to the park on Santa Claus Lane and she tried to call the 9-year-old on a cellphone multiple times. After 45 minutes, the father started to search for the girls, according to the complaint.

Two and a half hours later, with an officer still present at the home, the girls returned with their bikes, officials said.

The FBI assisted in the investigation and an agent spotted Bowen driving in the community several days after the abduction.

During an initial interview with law enforcement, Bowen admitted to taking the girls, prosecutors said. Bowen said he thought the girls were too young to be out on their own and he wanted to scare the parents, said FBI assistant special agent in charge David Condo at the time of Bowen's arrest.

[Read more: Wasilla man charged with kidnapping 2 North Pole girls]

But the government's sentencing memorandum filed Monday says Bowen admitted to being sexually attracted to the girls when he saw them "and during the time he spent with them.

"That sexual attraction led him to entice the girls into his truck and to drive them around for two hours," the memo says.

The defendant initially told authorities the story about wanting to scare the parents, but he gave two additional interviews with law enforcement after that, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Audrey Renschen.

Bowen told authorities he wanted to touch the girls sexually but he did not. His sexual interest in children churned within him for many years but never manifested a threat to children until the night the girls disappeared, attorneys said.

"During the drive, when it became clear they were not going home, the girls were frightened for their lives and were crying. Bowen eventually returned the children to their neighborhood physically unharmed," the sentencing memo says.

Prosecutors commended Bowen for his admissions in court documents.

Despite his right to remain silent, prosecutors said, Bowen freely admitted to his conduct following his arrest, agreed to take psychological and polygraph tests and share them with the government, and exhibited a deep concern for children.

"Bowen appears to have fought his sexual urges toward children with a strong desire not to harm a child and will likely benefit from treatment," the sentencing memo says.

Citing his cooperation, his lack of criminal history and his military service in the U.S. Army, both parties urged the court to impose the decade-long prison sentence.

Bowen has already sought treatment while awaiting sentencing, according to the defense's sentencing memo.

Jerzy Shedlock

Jerzy Shedlock is a former reporter for Alaska Dispatch News. He left the ADN in 2017.