The pregnant Detroit woman who was kidnapped, set on fire, and shot early Saturday morning has successfully given birth to a baby boy. The woman, who Detroit NBC affiliate WDIV has identified as 22-year-old LaTonya Bowman, was due to deliver in three weeks, but went into labor at about 4:30 p.m. Monday afternoon and gave birth late Tuesday morning at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak.
“She has to be one of the most courageous women I have ever encountered,” said Warren Police Deputy Commissioner Louis Galasso. “She had the will and instinct to live.”
The incident took place late Saturday night after Bowman and the baby’s father – whose name has not been released by authorities – went to a late night showing of Men in Black 3 at the Ford Drive-In Theater in Dearborn. The father had apparently been very upset about Bowman’s pregnancy, while Bowman hoped to restart their relationship.
Galasso also told the Detroit Free Press that the baby’s father admitted to the mother and to detectives that he did not want the child. “He certainly discussed not wanting to have the child, but he told his roommate to abandon the idea to harm the child,” Galasso said.
After she drove the father to his mother’s house on Sherman Ave. in Warren, where he also lives with his current girlfriend and an unidentified roommate, the two pulled into the garage. Before Bowman could fully step out of the car, the roommate bound her eyes, mouth, and hands with duct tape, and threw her into the backseat.
The roommate drove her to an area near the intersection of I-94 and I-75 on Detroit’s east side. Once there, she was doused with lighter fluid and set on fire – she would later tell authorities that the attacker told her “you know why this is happening.” When Bowman fell to the ground and attempted to put out the flames, she was shot once in the back.
Her attackers fled as she lay burning on the ground, apparently playing dead. “It sounds like she was still engulfed in flames when he shot her,” Galasso said. Bowman was able to put out the flames, free herself from the duct tape, and drive to a gas station a few miles away to call for help.
“Everything was bad, she was burned up,” said Mohamed Zokari, an employee at the Shell gas station on I-75 and 6 Mile where Bowman came for help and was assisted by one of his co-workers. “She was in a bad situation and he just looked out for her, gave her a T-shirt.”
Bowman’s mother arrived at the gas station and drove her to Beaumont Hospital. Bowman was being treated for burns to her face, torso, and back when she went into labor on Monday.
Watch the video as police recount the incident, their thoughts on LaTonya’s bravery and the suspected motive attheGrio.com.