Austin Bowlin photo.jpg

Austin Bowlin

GOSHEN — A Dunlap man allegedly shot and killed a man and then set a car on fire with the body inside it last year.

Austin Bowlin, 37, is charged with murder in a case filed Tuesday. He’s accused of killing Jeffrey Crapo of Elkhart in March 2020 based on information several witnesses gave to Michigan State Police during their investigation.

Some time on March 1, Bowlin was allegedly with Crapo and another person doing drugs at a hotel in Elkhart, and then went driving around in Crapo’s car. The other person fell asleep in the back of the car and then awoke to the sound of a gunshot. The person then witnessed Bowlin fire a gun at Crapo again, according to details in the probable cause affidavit in the case.

Bowlin then allegedly forced the witness, along with making multiple threats, to help move Crapo’s body to the car’s backseat, and then they drove to various places in Indiana and Michigan for at least two days. The witness was eventually released and escaped, according to the affidavit.

One of the stops, during the afternoon of March 1, involved Bowlin allegedly meeting two other witnesses near a golf course in Michigan. He allegedly tried to ditch a handgun with the other people, according to the affidavit.

A fourth witness later met Bowlin at a store in Michigan. He allegedly had the witness follow him to a road outside of Jackson, where he then allegedly doused Crapo’s car and set it on fire. As the witness drove Bowlin back to Indiana, he allegedly admitted he killed a person for being a “snitch,” and then threatened that witness as well, the affidavit shows.

Emergency crews responded to the car fire on March 4 and after extinguishing it, found Crapo’s body in the back seat, police said. An autopsy found Crapo was killed by multiple gunshot wounds to the head, the affidavit shows.

Investigators interviewed Bowlin as part of the case. He allegedly admitted he, Crapo and the other person went out after doing drugs at a hotel in Elkhart. He first allegedly told investigators Crapo had dropped him off and that was the last they saw each other. Bowlin then alleged the other person was the one who actually shot Crapo and then threatened him, the affidavit shows.

Bowlin also allegedly admitted he tried to use Crapo’s credit cards, as well as to setting the car on fire, according to the affidavit.

The case against Bowlin was filed Tuesday in Elkhart County Circuit Court since the crime occurred in the county, court information shows.

Aimee Ambrose can be reached at aimee.ambrose@goshennews.com or 574-533-2151, ext. 240316. Follow her on Twitter at @aambrose_TGN.

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