Anyone heard of a techno band called the Klash? Or did he just make that up too?
Friday, August 12, 2005
Family woes beset woman killed on 405
Friends say Irvine single mother Jessica Rowe was worried she would lose her children and boyfriend.
By JOHN McDONALD, GREG HARDESTY and JENNIFER MUIR
The Orange County Register
COSTA MESA – Upset about losing custody of her two young children, her mind fogged after a long night of drinking Moet champagne and Jack Daniel's whisky, Jessica Lynne Rowe quietly smoked.
The 25-year-old Irvine woman was sitting between her boyfriend and a 23-year-old male model from Hollywood they had met a few hours earlier at a trendy nightspot on the Sunset Strip.
Three of the man's friends joined them in the back of the Hummer limousine that Jessica's boyfriend rented as a belated birthday present for her.
Daylight was just an hour away as the black limo cruised down the San Diego (I-405) Freeway through Orange County early Wednesday, the bill approaching $3,000 on a credit card that did not belong to any of the occupants, police said.
Interviews Thursday with Jessica's boyfriend, Jerimiah Vincent, 23, of Irvine and a man sitting next to her in the back of the Hummer shed some light into what might have driven the single mother to leap out the limo window to her death around 5 a.m. at Fairview Road in Costa Mesa.
The grisly suicide triggered one of the worst freeway bottlenecks in recent Orange County memory, clogging early morning traffic all the way to Seal Beach.
"It doesn't make common sense," said Jessica's friend, Yvonne Boelzner. "How could she be in a car full of people and unroll the window and just jump out?
"It's just so out of character for her."
Jessica, who grew up in the Los Alamitos area, is the mother of Tyler, 5, and Kael, 1.
She met Vincent, who goes by the nickname "Bozzie," about a year ago when he was working at Wal-Mart.
On the day they took the limo ride, Jessica hadn't seen her children for 21/2 weeks, and during a bathroom stop at a motel on her way home she started crying, her boyfriend said.
"Baby, what's wrong?" Vincent said he asked her.
"I miss my kids," was her reply, he said.
Jessica was upset Vincent might leave her, too, he said.
"She said over and over again, 'I think you are going to leave me,'" he said Thursday.
Jessica's death happened so fast there was no chance of preventing it, said Vincent and the man sitting next to her when she leaped out.
He declined to give his name because police told him not to speak to the media.
"She was clearly upset about something and jumped out without warning before any of us could do anything," the man said. "She had been smoking a cigarette with the window down. Then she jumped."
Jessica was sitting on a corner sofa by an open window in the left rear of the limo, the man said.
Tom Wetzel, owner of the limo company, Exotic Limousine in Newport Beach, said it appeared Jessica used a plastic side pocket as a step to launch herself out of the car. It appears her weight broke the plastic.
Vincent recalled glancing at Jessica before she jumped.
"She told me she loved me," he said. "She smiled. I turned the other way for a minute, and then I heard my friends yelling.
"I looked around, and all I saw were her feet.
"I saw her body tumble onto the freeway. Me and (the limo driver, Brandon Bonda) ran down the freeway, and we ran into traffic. We tried to stop the traffic, but nobody would stop.
"Then I saw her. ... It was the last time I saw her, in the middle of the freeway."
Vincent, his short, dark hair spiked and dyed purple and wearing Playboy bunny earrings and an oversize rhinestone necklace, recalled tripping over his girlfriend's leg after nearly being hit by a car.
Costa Mesa police are investigating the death, calling it a suicide. Toxicological results from the Orange County Coroner's Office could take weeks.
Thursday, Vincent checked himself into an Anaheim hospital for psychiatric evaluation.
"I had a breakdown," he said. "All I could picture was her dismembered body."
He denied that he and Jessica had been arguing throughout the evening, an observation that Bonda made.
"She was crying on and off, but there was no argument," Vincent said. "She was upset over her kids. She missed them."
According to Vincent, Jessica lost custody of her children about a year ago. She had visitation rights to see the kids, who are in the care of foster parents.
Vincent said Jessica's children were taken from her in February because of her drug and alcohol problems. She went into a treatment center and was intent on getting back her children.
Officials at the Orange County Social Services Agency declined to comment.
"She was trying to be a good mom," said Boelzner, who described Jessica as a "beautiful girl, inside and out" who typically was bubbly, free-spirited and fun-loving.
Jessica feared a recent suicide attempt and a couple of missed appointments with a social worker would mean she would not be allowed to see her children again, Vincent said.
Boelzner confirmed her suicide attempt, sparked by a brief breakup with her boyfriend.
Shortly after that split, the two reunited in a Santa Ana mental hospital; Vincent said he had gotten drunk and driven the wrong way down a freeway because he couldn't live without Jessica.
Costa Mesa police Sgt. Marty Carver said that the investigation into Jessica's death has expanded into possible credit-card fraud.
Vincent said a roommate named Amy, the name Jessica used the night she died, had authorized Jessica to use her credit card.
"We're out the money for the fare, and we're being charged $1,000 by the city for towing the Hummer," Wetzel said.
On Thursday, the Irvine apartment where the Hummer went to pick up the couple for their night on the town was posted with an eviction notice.
Vincent said he's a musician in the German techno band Klash. Jessica was a "tagalong" who did graphics for the band, he said. They both have several tattoos and favor rock-star garb.
When they went partying Tuesday night at the trendy The Standard in Hollywood, they affected German accents, "pretending to be rock stars," Vincent said. He said Jessica and Klash members all speak German.
The music of a favorite German band, Rammstein, was blasting in the Hummer when the six young adults were heading to Orange County.
As it was getting dark Thursday, Vincent left the hospital, not sure where he was headed.
Going back to his Irvine apartment was no longer an option.
He walked to a cab, rolling a burgundy suitcase behind him.
"I loved her very much," he said. "She's always going to be a part of me, no matter what."
Man, I've heard "hitting bottom" stories that were pretty raw, but tripping over your girlfriend's severed leg in the middle of a freeway at 5 am is a topper.