posttrib
CRISP 
Weather Updates

Expert says Amanda Bach’s body was moved

DustMcCowan

Dustin McCowan

storyidforme: 44723186
tmspicid: 6771376
fileheaderid: 3127953

Updated: February 15, 2013 9:31PM



VALPARAISO — It’s unlikely the body of Amanda Bach had always been where searchers found it, according to an expert for the defense team of Dustin McCowan, 20.

McCowan is accused of murdering 19-year-old Bach in the early morning hours of Sept. 16, 2011, and leaving her body among trees off the Canadian National tracks near his home.

Forensic entomology consultant Neal Haskell said during Friday’s testimony that it’s more probable her body was put there on Sept. 17, the day it was found, or late night Sept. 16.

On cross-examination, Haskell acknowledged the body could have been put there the morning of Sept. 16.

But based on his calculations of whether there was enough heat for blowfly eggs to develop, the eggs should have been hatching by the time of the autopsy on Sept. 19, 2011 in Indianapolis.

“We should’ve started seeing maggots at that time,” he said.

Haskell’s testimony contradicted the prosecution’s expert, forensic entomologist Dr. Ralph Williams, who was also Haskell’s mentor and who testified Wednesday.

Both agreed blowflies are dormant at night and require temperatures greater than 50 degrees F to function and have eggs develop.

Haskell said there were enough hours, especially if you include after the body was found, for some egg hatching.

He also said police should not have decided whether fly eggs found on the body were important, but an entomologist should decide.

Haskell was the first defense witness, although the prosecution’s case will continue Monday.

Porter County Superior Court Judge William Alexa allowed early testimony because Haskell isn’t available next week.

Three acquaintances of Bach and McCowan also testified Friday.

Jessica Guy said McCowan was at a party at her Bloomington apartment Sept. 17 when he got a phone call about Bach’s body being found.

Guy said he showed no emotion, and she later saw him waiting for a ride and with his hands rubbing over his face while he sat.

Bach’s friend Eric Rivera testified that once when texting Bach, McCowan took the phone and for an hour tried to pick a fight with Rivera, even though the two had never met.

David Elliot, a friend of Bach’s, said he was never entirely sure he’d seen Bach at the Portage Wal-Mart, as he put on Facebook during the search.

He was only 40 percent sure and never saw her directly from the front, he said.



© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit www.suntimesreprints.com. To order a reprint of this article, click here.