Nikki Bowman was 2-years old when her father, a Virginia state trooper was murdered in their home. He was stabbed at least 45 times by an unknown assailant in August of 1984. It was her father’s death that inspired her to enter the law enforcement field. She is an officer with the Manassas Police Department.

The younger Bowman said she sees the killer like a shadow, in a dream only understood years after a man entered her Manassas home and murdered her father, Trooper Johnny Bowman.

“In the dream, it’s pretty much like a black figure,” said Nikki Bowman in an interview. “My father opens the door, shadow comes in, and then they fall to the ground, and that’s it. Then I wake up.”

The killing was cold and vicious, the assailant(s) stabbed Bowman between 40 to 45 times before dawn on August 19, 1984. His wife, daughter and other relatives were inside their Manassas home when Bowman was awakened around 4:15 am by a knock at the door.

Trooper Johnny Bowman


His daughter has now spent years of her life reviewing old newspaper clips, accounts from investigations and her own memories. For her, there are elements of the morning that simply fail to make sense.

“I don’t know many law enforcement officers that would answer their door at that time of night, with no protection,” she said. “Especially if you’ve got a child in the home.”

The events from so many years ago keep Bowman at her best.

“Replaying what happened in ‘84, I don’t want to be the next Officer Bowman found deceased in their home,” she said. 

Investigators have tried to assess whether Bowman, a Marine Corps veteran, knew his killer. Now, 35 years later, there have been no arrests and no conclusions. Investigators have nothing more to go on today than they did in august of 1984.

Trooper Johnny Bowman


The FBI is investigating the case since the matter is classified as an officer death in the line of duty. The Bureau is now offering a $50,000 reward for any information leading to an arrest in the case.

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If the killer is still out there and was listening, what would Officer Nikki Bowman say to them?

“If you’re concerned what people may think of you coming forward after all these years, and admitting to having involvement in something of this nature, it can’t be any worse than what I’ve thought of you for the past 35 years,” Nikki Bowman said. “You’ve had 35 years to exist among society as a decent human being. And to me, that’s not a just consequence for someone how has ended the life of another.”

There are 60 fallen officers in VSP history. Trooper Johnny Bowman’s murder is the only unsolved death of a Virginia State Police trooper in the Commonwealth’s history. He is also the only trooper to be stabbed to death.  19 of the VSP officers killed were by gunfire. The most recent was in February of the year when Trooper Lucas Dowell was shot to death.

Dowell was a member of the Virginia State Police Tactical Team. The unit was assisting the Piedmont Regional Drug and Gang Task Force with executing the search warrant in Farmville Monday evening.

Dowell suffered series injuries from gunfire while serving the warrant. Officers returned fire, killing the lone gunman.

Dowell’s was transported to the hospital, but his wounds proved fatal as he passed away a short time later, according to Virginia State Police.

Dowell was a Chilhowie, Virginia native and since graduation, he has been assigned to the Virginia State Police Appomattox Division. His latest assignment was on patrol in Area 20, which includes the City of Lynchburg and Amherst and Campbell counties.

“This is an extremely difficult day for the State Police,” said Colonel Gary T. Settle.

He’s the Virginia State Police Superintendent.

“We are humbled by Lucas’ selfless sacrifice and grateful for his dedicated service to the Commonwealth. He will forever be remembered by his State Police Family for his great strength of character, tenacity, valor, loyalty and sense of humor.”

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