First convicted of hiding body, man charged three years later with murder
In late 2015, prosecutors only had enough evidence to charge, and ultimately convict, Joshua Dow of interference with a dead body.
But neither Minneapolis police nor the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office was satisfied and Monday, the 35-year-old Dow was charged with second-degree murder in the death of his girlfriend, Adelle Jensen.
“This is still a difficult case because no one has ever been able to find Ms. Jensen’s body,” Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said. “But thanks to the persistence of Minneapolis police homicide investigators and the unearthing of new evidence, we believe we can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Dow committed second-degree murder.”
Without the body, and without any witnesses to the shooting, it was difficult to disprove Dow’s story that she had shot herself.
“This charge represents the determination, commitment and tenacity of many dedicated officers and agencies,” said Minneapolis Police Sgt. Charles Green, who led the investigation. “We would like to thank the FBI Cellular Analysis Survey Team, the MPD homicide investigators, the crime lab and Violent Criminal Apprehension Team and the Minnesota Search and Rescue Dog Association for their relentless work over the last three years. This was truly a team effort and is a clear example of the great work that can be accomplished with this level of collaboration.”
The original criminal complaint from Nov. 30, 2015 was relatively brief and indicated that Jensen’s parents, along with Dow, went to a Minneapolis police station to report her missing. Dow told the officers that the last time he saw her was the early morning of Nov. 18 as she walked away from him after spending the evening at a downtown club.
Later, Dow’s brother told police that on Nov. 18, his brother pointed a gun at him and said he needed help because Jensen had shot herself in front of him in their home. Dow and his brother got rid of the bloody couch, painted the walls to cover blood splatters and took Jensen’s wrapped body to a warehouse where Dow had worked and stuffed it in a locker.
When police arrived at the warehouse, the body was gone. When they arrested Dow, he admitted to disposing of the body but would not say where and said Jensen had shot herself.
Dow pleaded guilty on Feb. 19, 2016 to first-degree sale of drugs and the gross misdemeanor charge of interference with a dead body. His sentences on both ran concurrently and the drug sentence was for 75 months. He is scheduled to be released from prison in February.
Freeman said there was no one dramatic piece of evidence that led to the murder charges. Instead, a combination of re-interviews of witnesses, additional digital forensic investigation and statements Dow has made to others over the past three years resulted in a more complete picture of what happened.
Dow and Jensen had a child together. The couple had recently separated but still did things together, according to the new complaint. On Nov. 17, 2015, Jensen rented a Chevrolet truck for Dow’s brother to use. Just before midnight, Jensen and the brothers went downtown together and about 2:30 a.m. Dow’s brother tried to convince her to come back to the home where the men lived in north Minneapolis. She refused.
Sometime after 5 a.m., Dow’s brother was awakened by a gunshot and Dow coming into his bedroom to say he had dropped a gun and it had fired. The brother went back to sleep and electronic location data on Dow’s phone indicated at 7:20 a.m. he was headed toward the warehouse where he used to work in the 2500 block of North Second Street, the complaint states.
Dow’s brother woke up at noon and found another friend, who is now dead, in the home. The two men loaded the couch into the friend’s van. Meanwhile, Jensen’s body was in the basement, wrapped in plastic similar to the type found at the warehouse, according to the complaint. The brothers later loaded the body into a box and taped it shut.
That day and into the evening, the couch was chopped up and the pieces were scattered at different locations, Dow’s brother got rid of the .38 cal. revolver that killed Jensen and the brothers moved the box with the body to the warehouse, according to the complaint.
On Nov. 19, Dow gave his first statement to the Carver County Sheriff’s Office as part of a missing person’s report filed by Jensen’s parents, telling deputies that he had not seen her since the early morning the day before. The brothers returned to the warehouse sometime on Nov. 20, and moved the body from its first location to another storage closet there. In the evening of Nov. 21, Dow made a second missing person report to Minneapolis Police with Jensen’s parents, according to the complaint.
At about 8:30 a.m. Nov.22, an employee entered the warehouse and saw Dow washing plastic sheeting. He told the employee he had been called in at 6 a.m. to clean up a sewage backup. At about 8:50 p.m., another witness saw Dow pushing a box from the warehouse loading dock into the Chevy pickup truck Jensen had rented days before and the box looked heavy, the complaint states.
Police would later learn that Dow had dismembered Jensen in another room of the warehouse. A review of Dow’s text messages from Nov. 11 to Nov. 22 indicated that he and Jensen had been fighting, it had turned physical and she said she would buy a plane ticket and leave town. He responded that he would take custody of their daughter and Jensen would never see the girl again, according to the complaint.
New Criminal Complaint (PDF)
2016 Criminal Complaint (PDF)