Rochester doctor accused of poisoning pharmacist wife; court documents cite debt, suspicious internet activity

Rochester doctor accused of poisoning pharmacist wife

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(ABC 6 News) – The Rochester Police Dept. believe an area doctor poisoned his wife in August of 2023.

According to RPD Capt. Casey Moilanen, police arrested 30-year-old Dr. Connor Fitzgerald Bowman Friday, Oct. 20, after a months-long investigation into his wife’s death.

Moilanen said Bowman’s wife, a 32-year-old pharmacist, went to the Mayo Clinic emergency room Aug. 16 with diarrhea and symptoms of severe dehydration.

She died Aug. 20 after her condition worsened.

Betty Jo Bowman’s obituary, posted on Macken Funeral Homes, cites a sudden-onset autoimmune and infectious illness as her cause of death.

Police received information that she may have been poisoned, and collected evidence that suggests Connor Bowman, a doctor and former poison control worker, may have given her a drug for an ailment she did not have, Moilanen said.

Mayo Clinic public relations made the following statement: “We are aware of the recent arrest of a former Mayo Clinic resident on charges unrelated to his Mayo Clinic responsibilities.  The resident’s training at Mayo Clinic ended earlier this month.

Connor Bowman was taken into custody after a traffic stop in the 1800 block of 2nd Street SW, Moilanen said.

According to charges filed today, Bowman faces a single charge of 2nd-degree murder — with intent, not premeditated.

Suspicions in Medical Examiner’s Office

According to court documents, the Southeast Minnesota Medical Examiner’s Office halted the cremation order for Betty Bowman after learning that her death may be suspicious.

The Medical Examiner’s Office had also noted that while Betty Bowman’s symptoms were similar to food poisoning, she did not respond to treatment and died after cardiac issues and eventual organ failure.

Connor Bowman allegedly told multiple people Betty Bowman died from Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis, or HLH, an extremely rare disease where a patient’s immune system attacks their organs. He also included a reference to it in Bowman’s obituary, according to court documents.

According to Betty Bowman’s medical records, she had not been diagnosed with HLH.

According to court documents, Connor Bowman also attempted to cancel an autopsy, and asked for a description and list of substances the Medical Examiner’s Office would test for in a toxicology report.

Tips to police

A woman had allegedly called the Medical Examiner’s office with concerns about the state of Betty and Connor’s marriage, saying they had discussed a divorce.

Another woman told Rochester police that the two kept separate bank accounts, since Connor Bowman had debt after attending pharmacy school, working in poison control in Kansas, then entering medical school, according to court documents.

The second woman told police that Bowman said he would get $500,000 in life insurance after Betty Bowman’s death, according to court documents.

A man also told police Betty Bowman had text him on Aug. 15, saying she was drinking with Connor — then the next morning, she told the man she was sick.

The man told police Betty believed a drink she’d received mixed into a smoothie had made her sick, according to court documents.

“Internet browsing history: can it be used in court?”

Rochester police received a report that Connor Bowman had used his Mayo Clinic credentials to access Betty Bowman’s patient account and electronic health record between Aug. 16 and 20, after Betty allegedly gave him permission to access her information.

Court records do not allege that Bowman changed any notes or information in Betty Bowman’s record, but allege that Bowman looked at her records from Aug. 23-21.

Rochester police seized Bowman’s electronic devices, including a University of Kansas HP laptop, according to court documents.

The university was notified that the device was seized, and on Sept. 29, a University of Kansas staffer contacted police to say Bowman told the university he was a suspect in Betty Bowman’s death, according to court documents.

According to court documents, Connor Bowman worked as a Poison Specialist and answered calls about poisons for the university. He had worked in that capacity Aug. 5, 6, and 10, according to court documents.

The University used Bowman’s internet search history to tell police Bowman was researching colchicine, which is used to treat gout, even though no one at the university had any queries about that drug, according to court documents.

According to Mayo Clinic, colchicine can cause severe stomach problems, and/or reduce the number of platelets in one’s blood, especially if taken with alcohol.

The University said Connor Bowman also searched things like “internet browsing history: can it be used in court?” “Police track package delivery”, and “delete amazon data police” on Aug. 5, according to court documents.

He also searched for sodium nitrate, a food preservative which court documents state “can limit oxygen transport though the body,” as well as vendors selling the product.

On Aug. 10, Bowman allegedly searched for “food v. industrial grade sodium nitrate,” then used an online journal court documents allege medical professionals use to assess the lethality of substances.

On the same day, Bowman allegedly used Betty Bowman’s weight to determine what an allegedly lethal dose would be for colchicine, then searched for the substance on GoodRx, according to court documents.

Court records allege that Bowman made hidden purchases online around the time he was searching for liquid colchicine.

Toxicology results

According to court documents, the Minnesota Department of Health found colchicine in Betty Bowman’s blood and urine.

The level of colchicine in her blood Aug. 17 was 29 ng/mL, according to court documents — which the Medical Examiner stated was a large amount, as the Aug. 17 sample was taken about 24 hours after Bowman started exhibiting symptoms, according to court documents.

The Medical Examiner’s Office determined that Betty Bowman’s cause of death was the toxic effects of colchicine, and the manner of death was homicide.

Bowman was arrested shortly thereafter.

According to court documents, law enforcement searched Connor Bowman’s residence Oct. 20 and located a receipt for a $450,000 bank deposit.

Betty Bowman’s friends and family have a GoFundMe set up to cover legal and memorial costs — it is available online at — “Remembering Betty Bowman.”

Bowman was arraigned Monday, Oct. 23. Olmsted County judge Lisa Hayne set his bail at $2,000,000 with conditions, including GPS monitoring, or $5,000,000 without conditions.

In Minnesota, charges of 1st-degree murder are determined by a grand jury–not a county attorney–usually some time after a county attorney’s office brings charges forward.

An individual must have caused the death of another person with premeditation and intent to kill, according to MN Statute 609.185.

The sentence is life in prison.

Connor Bowman is scheduled to appear in court again Nov. 1.