Police chief recalls capture of Drury Inn murder suspect

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POPLAR BLUFF, MO (KTVI) - The suspect wanted in connection with the Wednesday morning murder of a St. Louis hotel clerk is captured some 200 miles away in southeast Missouri.

Reporter Melanie Moon was in Caruthersville Missouri where the suspect is being held tonight.

Early Wednesday morning 50-year-old Scott Knopfel was shot in the chest and head during a robbery at the Drury Inn on Hampton.

The police chief of Caruthersville helped capture the suspect, some 60 miles south of Poplar Bluff Missouri.

Police Chief Tony Jones said he got a call from a resident to come to his house Friday night. When he got there the TV was paused to a newscast showing surveillance video of the suspect.

Right away chief Jones said he knew who it was, Joe Bowens a long time Caruthersville resident.

The chief says Bowens has a long criminal history of robbery, drugs and weapons violations.

Chief Jones then contacted the St. Louis police department.

They went to the home of Bowens' mother, while there Bowens called and Chief Jones talked to him. Bowens told the chief was going to turn himself in, but Bowens never made it to Caruthersville and was arrested in Poplar Bluff.

Surveillance video shows Bowens at the Lady Luck Casino in Caruthersville Wednesday night, several hours before the hotel shooting in St. Louis.

Bowens was wearing the same brown leather jacket and Chicago Bulls baseball cap as  the suspect  in the hotel surveillance video.

GPS tracking on Bowens phone also indicated he had been in St. Louis.

Bowens is being held on unrelated charges and is expected to be transported to St. Louis sometime this week.

Chief Jones says his sources tell him Bowens has become a heavy user of heroin and meth.

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