He said in the interview that he was deeply in love with Rowe, and also still very much in love with his wife, Whitney Vincent, 22, who lives in Knoxville, Tenn., and Lisa Atkinson, 21, of Placentia, whom he enticed into a string of car dealership thefts and persuaded to use her job at a private mail center in Orange to wire him a $25,000 money order.County releases autopsy report on I-405 fatality.
By JOHN McDONALD and GREG HARDESTY
The Orange County Register
COSTA MESA – Jessica Rowe's death touched the lives of many - her family and friends, more than a dozen motorists who believe they hit her after she fell out of a limousine on a freeway in August, and the tens of thousands of motorists who were tied up in the morning rush- hour jam.
But just what caused the 25-year- old mother of two to fall out the window onto the San Diego (I-405) Freeway after a night of drinking champagne and whiskey remains a mystery.
An autopsy by the Orange County Coroner was unable to determine whether Rowe committed suicide or fell accidentally. The autopsy report, released this week, said she had a clinical history of depression.
The official cause of death was "multiple visceral and skeletal injuries" due to "blunt-force vehicular trauma."
Rowe, who grew up in Los Alamitos, fell as the black Hummer limousine was traveling southbound near Fairview Road at more than 60 mph. She was struck by several cars. The death scene extended a mile.
She had a blood-alcohol level of 0.28 percent - 3.5 times the legal limit for driving - when she died Aug. 10, but no drugs in her system, the autopsy report said.
Her boyfriend, Jeremy Vincent, 23, who was sitting in the back of the limo with her and four other people when she fell out of the vehicle at about 5 a.m., said he remains convinced Rowe committed suicide.
Vincent said he caught a glimpse of Rowe's feet leaving the window just an exit away from her home in Irvine. She had been sitting on a corner sofa by an open window in the left rear of the limo.
Jessica's sister, Erica, 22, continues to believe the death is suspicious, despite a suicide attempt by Jessica in the weeks before her death that caused Jessica to fear losing custody of her boys, Tyler, 5, and Kael, 11/2.
"She had a lot to live for," said Erica Rowe, whose theory of foul play has sparked an Internet discussion. "She knew how much I loved her, and she loved her kids.
"A girl sitting in the back of a limo with five other people doesn't climb out of a window alone with no one noticing."
The Costa Mesa police have closed their investigation and have ruled Rowe's death an accident, based on the lack of any statement by Jessica that she intended to take her own life, Sgt. Marty Carver said.
Supervising Deputy Coroner J. Crawford said there must be a "preponderance of evidence" for a death to be ruled a suicide, and in this case "there wasn't."
A SECOND RIDE
Rowe died after a night of partying in Hollywood - a belated birthday gift from Vincent.
Four people the couple had met hours earlier at the trendy nightspot The Standard on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles joined them in the back of the $200-an-hour limo as it headed to Orange County.
After the tragedy, the four Los Angeles residents told police that Rowe seemed depressed, but that they saw nothing unusual in the moments leading up to her death.
Three days after Rowe's death, Vincent rented a Hummer limousine and stocked it with champagne, beer and a half-dozen roses.
He was arrested the next day for giving the limo driver a bad credit card.
In a Sept. 29 jailhouse interview, Vincent said he wanted to die just like Rowe.
"I planned to commit suicide the way she went; I wanted to join Jessica," Vincent said at the Orange County Jail, where he remains on charges of stealing the services of the second rented limousine and violating parole on car-fraud charges.
"She asked me a long time ago if anything happened to her, 'Would you kill yourself and be with me? Do it Bonnie-and-Clyde style?'"
Vincent said he got distracted from his death wish by the badgering of the limousine driver over the unpaid portion of the fare.
There was another reason, he said, why he didn't jump out the window.
"I chickened out - I couldn't do it," Vincent said.
Vincent tried to hang himself shortly after his arrest Aug. 14.
Fullerton police reported finding him hanging in his cell with a bed sheet around his neck; Vincent, a self-described con artist and skinhead, was not badly injured.
He said in the interview that he was deeply in love with Rowe, and also still very much in love with his wife, Whitney Vincent, 22, who lives in Knoxville, Tenn., and Lisa Atkinson, 21, of Placentia, whom he enticed into a string of car dealership thefts and persuaded to use her job at a private mail center in Orange to wire him a $25,000 money order.
He called Whitney Vincent two weeks before Rowe's death to ask her to come and live with him in California. He told her he had a good job at a Hummer dealership.
"He is the biggest liar," Whitney Vincent said in a telephone interview from her mother's home in Knoxville. "I'm still married to him. We were together for about a year and a half. He up and left me, and he stole my mother's car."
Jessica Rowe's parents, who live in Washington state, recently were awarded custody of her sons, who were in foster care, according to Erica Rowe.
Erica Rowe said her parents received Jessica's autopsy report a couple of days ago, but they haven't shared the details with her.
On her personal Web site, Erica has posted several photos and comments about her older sister.
In the poem "Until We Meet Again," Erica writes:
Now Jess my love, go in peace
And forever feel no pain.
Erica Rowe still wants to know why Jessica fell out the window of the limousine.
She realizes she may never know.
"That's the worst thing," Erica Rowe said. "I'll spend the rest of my life not knowing."