Woman in house killed by apparent hunter's bullet


Mar 11, 2001
Reaction score
Hunter's stray bullet apparently penetrates house, kills woman.

By Rachel R. Basinger, Daily Courier (Connellsville, PA) .

Wednesday, November 28, 2001

MILL RUN - Meriel Bowser, 66, of 8 Bowser Lane off Hampton Loop Road in Springfield Township, was killed by a bullet that entered her house a little after 4 p.m. Tuesday.

According to Charlie May with the Pennsylvania Game Commission, the game commission and Pennsylvania state police are under a joint investigation to determine whether the shot was hunting-related, since it was just the second day of deer season.

"If this would have happened in the summertime we wouldn't even be involved," said May. "But right now it's deer season, and this is a heavily hunted area of Fayette County."

A 30-06 high-powered rifle was retrieved from a person that was hunting in the area at the time, but no name was released since authorities have yet to determine what type of bullet penetrated the house.

"At this point we'll take all the evidence that we have and wait for the autopsy to determine whether the bullet retrieved matches that of the gun," said May, who added that it's unlikely it's any type of criminal act.

According to a family member, Bowser, wife of Springfield Township Supervisor Don Bowser, was in her bedroom getting ready to pick up her grandson when the bullet entered the house.

Meriel Bowser's mother was also in the house at the time. The bullet entered through a bay window in the living room, just missing Bowser's mother, went through a lamp shade, a wall, a door and two sweaters before fatally wounding Bowser.

According to Fayette County Deputy Coroner Roger Victor, an entrance wound was not established and a time of death was unknown. But, according to May, the bullet appeared to enter at the crease of the left collarbone and neck and then pierced the jugular vein.

The required distance for hunting around any building is 150 yards, and if the bullet did come from the gun that was retrieved, the hunter was "well beyond the required distance," said May.

"The odds of this bullet traveling four to five-hundred yards and not hitting a tree and then going through a window, a wall and a door before killing someone is a million to one," he said.

"Although there are a million-and-a-half hunters in the state, hunting accidents themselves are rare, but an accident where someone in their house gets hit with a bullet is even rarer," said May.

"This is the first incident that I've had in the 22 years that I've been working in Fayette County where a bullet went into a house," he added.

Family and friends came and went with tears in their eyes.

"I can't believe this tragedy that's happened," said Pam Crider, a friend of the family. "It's just a big pain in everybody's heart. She was just an outstanding person in the community and church."

"I think everybody is just in such disbelief," she said. "I just think it's a dream that you should wake up from."

Beverly Morrison, another friend of the family, attended the Indian Creek Baptist Church with Bowser.

"Meriel was fun-loving. She loved to laugh and tease and she was very active in our church missionary group."

According to May, the investigation and the ballistics test could take up to six months, but the first step will be to find out whether the bullet from the body matches the type fired from the weapon retrieved.

Besides the state police and game commission, the Springfield Township Volunteer Fire Department and Fayette County deputy coroner responded to the incident.

Rachel R. Basinger can be reached at rsnyder2@tribweb.com.


Well-known member
Aug 8, 2001
Reaction score
WOW, how unfortunate. I wouldn't doubt if our state goes to a shotgun only type of thing, like most of Maryland, New York, and lot's of other states. Although Fayette county isn't quite as "mountainous" as our northern counties, it is still rural, with lots of farmland, and the Laurel Highlands (mountains) Just a freak accident!

Top Bottom