Murder suspect re-arrested

An Odessa man indicted last August on a murder charge was re-arrested Wednesday on a warrant issued when authorities said he was caught hiking in Big Bend National Park.

According to court records, Craig Vaughn Bowers, 36, shot and killed Mauricio Islas on April 24, 2022 and was indicted four months later. He was released from the Ector County jail after posting bond and told he could travel no more than 150 miles outside of the county and only for his job.

Court documents indicate Bowers was stopped at the border checkpoint south of Marathon by the U.S. Border Patrol on July 9. He told agents he was hiking in Big Bend National Park.

Bowers is now being held without bond.

According to an Ector County Sheriff’s Office report, deputies received a call April 24, 2022, about a shooting in the 12000 block of West 16th Street. When they arrived, they found Islas mortally wounded.

During the subsequent investigation, investigators learned Islas had driven his vehicle through a fence on Tim Tam Circle and ended up in a pasture. According to the report, Islas called his cousin and asked for help and Craig Vaughn Bowers Jr. called 911 after arriving home and finding the fence damaged and Islas’ vehicle in his pasture.

According to the report, Bowers retrieved a handgun from his glove box and waited for deputies to arrive. In the meantime, Islas walked over to Bowers and the two began fighting.

During the fight, three of Islas’ relatives arrived and two of them tried to pull Bowers off of Islas, who was on the ground, according to the report.

A cousin of Islas told investigators that after they’d pulled Bowers off of Islas, he saw Bowers “pull a gun from his waistband and then heard a loud bang,” the report stated. He saw Islas had been shot and he and another cousin fought with Bowers and “retrieved the gun from him.”

Bowers admitted to having a gun, but denied pulling the trigger, the report stated.