Update: Kyle Rigdon was charged with murder in connection to the death of Kayla Bowling on June 8, 2022, according to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.
If you are in immediate danger from domestic violence, call 9-1-1. For anonymous, confidential help, 24/7, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY).
Kayla Bowling was an easy-going, young mother who enjoyed life and loved her family.
“She didn’t have a mean bone in her body and would help anybody who needed it,” said the woman’s father, Robert Bowling.
The 29-year-old woman died from injuries suffered in a hit-and-run crash. Her ex-boyfriend struck her with a vehicle while she was riding her bike, according to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.
The crash occurred in the 3000 block of South Rural Street on the southeast side of Indianapolis on June 1. Investigators arrested 27-year-old Kyle Rigdon on Friday in connection with the crash, according to police.
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“There was a little relief after they arrested him, but we are destroyed,” Robert Bowling said. “We are absolutely destroyed. She was my baby, my only daughter.”
Kayla Bowling and Rigdon dated on and off for about 6 months before she broke up with him about a month before the fatal crash, according to her family.
The woman’s parents told investigators she had been stalked and harassed by Rigdon. Kayla Bowling was terrified of Rigdon as he seemed to always know where she was, according to a probable cause affidavit for Rigdon’s arrest.
Just two days before the hit-and-run crash, Rigdon showed up at the woman’s parents’ house with a butcher knife and slashed her tires, Robert Bowling told investigators.
Rigdon continued to drive by the home, call Kayla Bowling and knocked on her window the following day. He also messaged the woman’s mother through Facebook, according to investigators.
“Mrs. Bowling found Rigdon to be controlling and was aware of domestic issues and physical fights they were having,” the probable cause affidavit for Rigdon’s arrest reads. “Kayla had recently broken up with Rigdon and had confided in Mrs. Bowling that she believed that Rigdon was going to kill her.”
A neighbor heard the crash and found Kayla Bowling on the ground suffering from trauma. Kayla Bowling was able to give the neighbor the license plate number of the vehicle that struck her, which assisted in the investigation, according to police.
“The people who think they own somebody are the ones who need the help,” Robert Bowling. “They are the problem.”
In Indianapolis and across the US, there has been a spike in reports of domestic violence, coinciding with the onset on the coronavirus pandemic.
From 2019 to 2020, the number of domestic violence cases assigned to Indianapolis Metropolitan Police detectives nearly doubled — jumping from 2,601 to 5,016, according to data from the department. In 2021, detectives were assigned 5,524 such cases.
In April, Danyette Smith, director of Domestic Violence Programming with Indianapolis’ Office of Public Health and Safety, said a shooting in which a woman and her father were killed was likely the result of domestic violence.
One in four women and one in seven men aged 18 and older in the US have been the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime, according to the National Domestic Violence Hotline. Women ages 18 to 34 generally experience the highest rates of intimate partner violence in the US, according to the hotline.
Just two days after Kayla Bowling was struck and killed by a vehicle, a woman struck and killed a man in the parking lot of a bar on Indianapolis’ northeast side in a domestic dispute. The woman told a witness the man was her boyfriend and that he was cheating on her, according to police.
From the scene of the shooting in April, Smith spoke of several resources in Indianapolis for the victims of domestic violence, including The Julian Center, Silent No More and Beacon of Hope Crisis Center.
The Julian Center has a 24-hour crisis line that can be reached at 317-920-9320. Silent No More can be reached by calling 317-728-6733 or texting 317-728-6733.
The Beacon of Hope Crisis Center line can be reached by calling 317-731-6140.
Contact Jake Allen at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Jake_Allen19,