PENDLETON — A man police considered a “person of interest” in a December 2020 shooting that left one woman dead was found deceased in the Umatilla County Jail, according to the Umatilla County Sheriff's Office.

David Lee Bowles, 43, was found dead in his cell on Saturday, Jan. 9. Bowles was in the jail on charges of first-degree manslaughter and felon in possession of a weapon. Oregon State Police previously reported he had turned himself in to the Morrow County Sheriff's Office on Thursday, Jan. 7, after the office named him as a "person of interest" in the shooting death of his wife, Marlen Bowles, in Heppner on Dec. 15.

According to a news release from the Umatilla County Sheriff's Office, in the early morning hours of Jan. 9, jail staff were making their morning rounds when they discovered Bowles deceased in his bed.

"At this time, there is no apparent evidence of foul play," the release stated.

It said the sheriff's office is conducting an investigation into the cause of death.

Bowles had been wanted in connection to a homicide investigation that occurred on Dec. 15, 2020. Bowles is the husband of the victim, Marlen Bowles, who was shot in Heppner, and then Life Flighted to Oregon Health & Science University in Portland in critical condition, where she later died with her family at her bedside.

Morrow County District Attorney Justin Nelson said while the criminal case will not go forward now that the defendant has died, law enforcement will continue to talk to people and attempt to learn more about what happened on Dec. 15. He said Bowles did not make any statements to law enforcement when he was taken into custody, but may have been willing to later after speaking with an attorney, so it was regrettable that information that may have been able to provide some closure is now lost. He also said he feels for Bowles' family, particularly David and Marlen's children, as they deal with an additional loss that leaves more questions behind.

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