Parkersburg Police Crack a 1965 Unsolved Murder

By: Denise Alex
By: Denise Alex

It was one of the most infamous and most investigated unsolved murders in the mid-Ohio Valley, and justice may soon be catching up.

Parkersburg police say the trail is once again hot in a 1965 shooting remembered by many as the BBF murder.

March 19, 1965. It was 2 a.m. Eighteen-year-old Garry Cowdery, an assistant manager at the Burger Boy Food-O-Rama, was closing up shop and preparing to make a bank deposit.

With more than $700 in hand, he was shot execution style and robbed.

This Tuesday, nearly 40 years later, Parkersburg police feel confident they have their suspect.

A special grand jury convenes this week to hear evidence in the case.

"I distinguish between solved and prosecuted. This one just wasn't prosecuted. It was solved in the 60s as far as I'm concerned," says Parkersburg Police Chief Bob Newell.

Six months ago Chief Newell assigned two investigators full-time to this investigation.

Leads ran rampant from New Mexico to Chicago to Columbus, Ohio.

Investigators then and now wouldn't let the case die.

"The fact that an 18-year-old boy was brutally murdered is something that is priority. That family lost a valuable member and still grieves to this day over it," says Ginny Conley Wood County Prosecutor.

The murder happened at 7th and Ann Streets in Parkersburg. The location is now home to a group of medical buildings. Many throughout the mid-Ohio valley will always remember the site as the scene of the 1965 BBF murder.

"I've looked at dozens, I mean dozens of cases I think that everything was done as far as investigating the situation," says David Morehead.

Morehead is the author of, "Death is No Stranger."

One of the Parkersburg writer's chapters in his book is dedicated to this unsolved murder.

The Cowdery family would like to see a closing chapter to this murder mystery.

Conley says an indictment against the as-yet unidentified murder suspect could come this August.

Under West Virginia law there is no statute of limitations for murder.


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