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Murder victim's family worries Battle Creek city leaders aren't hearing their concerns

Joseph Bowser.JPG
Joseph Bowser, who was 22 when he was shot and killed, was a three-sport athlete at Battle Creek High School. (WWMT/Contributed)

The family of a Battle Creek man killed earlier this year feel city leadership doesn't care about their concerns over solving the case.

Bishop Tino Smith is growing frustrated as he worries for the family of 22-year-old Joseph Bowser.

Bowser was gunned down outside of an apartment complex in Battle Creek in March. No one has been arrested for his murder to date.

Smith said he and the Bowser family are not pleased with the city’s response following a June Battle Creek City Commission meeting where he and several members of the Bowser family voiced their concerns about their case during public comment.

"We made some demands and we haven't heard from anyone,” Smith said. “No letter, no resolutions... nothing."

He said they have heard from Battle Creek Ward 2 City Commissioner Lynn Ward-Gray, but they were hoping for a bigger response from the city.

They demanded the city consider partnering with community organizations to raise additional reward money for clues leading to arrests and convictions. They also demanded the city consider increasing the police department’s funding to allow for better resources for investigating violent crimes and additional anonymous outlets for people who want to report tips, but fear retaliation.

Another demand was to create a website that lists all the city’s unsolved homicides with details on which investigators are working the case and the statuses of each case.

Smith said neither his church nor the Bowsers have heard from either Battle Creek City Manager Rebecca Fleury or Battle Creek Police Chief Jim Blocker in regards to the demands.

"We want to know what are they doing with the different requests that we made,” Smith said.

Ward-Gray said the city is taking the Bowsers and Smith seriously. She said the Can I Get a Witness town hall sessions are aimed at educating people about how to be a good witness and why it's so important to come forward with information.

“I wanted to do my part and try to get that conversation going,” Ward-Gray said.

Blocker said his investigators need the community to offer tips that will lead to Joseph Bowser’s killer(s).

"The responsibility can't lie solely on the police department,” Blocker said.

Smith said the Can I Get a Witness town hall meetings offer no real solutions and place blame on the community, rather than pressure police to solve the case. He also says the meetings don’t cover any of the demands he and the Bowser family made.

Ward-Gray and Blocker maintain the only way the a homicide can be solved is if people who know something say something.