Columbus police said Wednesday afternoon that 20-year-old Michael Bowles was taken into custody after being charged with murder. Click here for the latest updates.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The body of a 17-year-old missing since Sept. 20 was found on Tuesday night, law enforcement sources said.
A body found in northeast Columbus near Agler and Sunbury roads is that of Imperial Stewart, the sources told NBC4, with Columbus police saying Wednesday that it was awaiting confirmation of his identity from the Franklin County coroner. Members of Stewart’s family also confirmed that his body has been found.
Police remain on the lookout for Michael Bowles, 20, who has been charged with murder.
The discovery came the same day that five people who are charged in connection with Stewart’s disappearance appeared in court.
According to court documents, Stewart purchased a gun from Bowles. Stewart was then allegedly shot by him when a 16-year-old boy in the car attempted to rob Stewart of the gun.
Bowles’ brother, Mi’Quel, 18, and her mother, Tywisha Peterson, 40, were each charged with a felony obstruction of justice charge after being arrested Monday. Both received $500,000 bonds Tuesday. The two were also ordered to stay away from each other.
Stewart was last seen in the area of Cleveland Avenue and Huy Road in the North Linden neighborhood.
“Initially started as a suspected robbery, that is now a missing persons case. That missing person is a juvenile and at this point, we also suspect it’s a homicide,” the prosecutor said Tuesday morning before his body was found.
Three others — 39-year-old Genee Dumas, the 16-year-old, and a 17-year-old — have been arrested in the case. Dumas and the 16-year-old are charged with obstruction of official business, tampering with evidence and resisting arrest. The 17-year-old was charged with obstruction of justice.
According to court records, Mi’Quel Bowles was shot inside a Chrysler 300 while Stewart was being robbed. Michael then dropped Mi’Quel Bowles off at a relative’s home, court records state.
Mi’Quel Bowles allegedly denied being in the car or having any knowledge of Stewart’s disappearance, court records state. He also allegedly claimed to not know what happened to him or where it happened.
“We have witness and evidence that are contrary to that,” the prosecutor said.
The court records go on to say that Peterson and her son Michael allegedly met up at a home in east Columbus to discuss getting rid of the Chrysler. Police allegedly found the car burned out in Fairfield County.
Mi’Quel Bowles and Peterson are scheduled to have a preliminary hearing on Oct. 12.
During a Sept. 28 press conference, Commander Mark Denner of Columbus police confirmed investigators had found a black Chrysler that the pair had been seen in. Court records stated the car was found burned out in Fairfield County.
Stewart’s family also pleaded for help finding the teen during the press conference.
“He is well loved, he is a beautiful child,” said Ricole Rakes, Stewart’s aunt. “He’s supposed to graduate this year, he missed homecoming, we were all ready for all that, and he was taken away from us.”
Police are asking anyone with information on suspects to call 614-774-7825 or 614-461-8477.