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Victim’s parents call McCowan conviction ‘small piece of justice’

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Updated: April 1, 2013 7:36AM



VALPARAISO — During a news conference about Tuesday’s murder conviction of 20-year-old Dustin McCowan, the Porter County Sheriff’s Department said his father, a Crown Point police officer, is also under investigation.

Detective Cmdr. Jeff Biggs said Wednesday morning the department has been investigating Elliot McCowan. Chief deputy prosecutor Matt Frost said this could lead to aiding-after-the-fact charges based on information from six months ago and testimony details during trial.

Sheriff’s police have no others under investigation, Biggs said.

John Vouga, who represented Dustin McCowan with Nick Barnes, didn’t know of any charges.

“It’s the first time I’ve heard of it, but I’m certainly not going to tell the Porter County Sheriff how to do their job,” Vouga said. “If they want to file trumped-up charges against him, it’ll be my honor to defend him.”

The rest of the news conference reviewed the 17 months of investigation and the more than three weeks of trial for the murder of 19-year-old Amanda Bach.

Officials and Bach’s parents thanked all those involved, including those who helped with the search in Union Township for her body in September 2011 and who gave tips to police and comfort to the family.

For the Bach family, McCowan’s conviction and his scheduled March 28 sentencing leave mixed emotions.

“This is a bittersweet victory. Although there is justice, there are no winners,” Sandra Bach, Amanda’s mother, said. “Amanda did not deserve to be killed by a sick, jealous coward.”

Paraphrasing what the defense team said about the murder, “it would take a sociopath to commit this crime. That would be Dustin McCowan,” she said.

Amanda’s father, Bill Bach, said he kept strong “through my faith and through Amanda. Amanda needed some justice. This really isn’t justice, but it is a small piece of justice. He won’t be out killing another girl,” Bill Bach said.

The family is considering establishment of a scholarship at Portage High School in their daughter’s name.

Biggs thanked the FBI, Valparaiso Police and Lake County Sheriff’s Department for their help in the investigation.

Although the defense argued that police targeted McCowan, “The focus was Amanda Bach,” Biggs said.

He said there was no need to get everyone’s fingerprints and DNA because “the only person whose alibi didn’t check out was Dustin McCowan’s.”

This was not his first brush with the law.

In December 2010, he was one of the seniors who broke into Wheeler High School and vandalized it as a senior prank. The school handled the discipline internally.

Biggs also said although there was an incident outside the Porter County Courthouse after the verdict Tuesday night, no arrests were made.

A McCowan supporter allegedly drove by and shouted at a group of Bach supporters that the real murderer wasn’t found. A squad car chased down the car.



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