A 26-year-old gay man who had been missing for about two weeks was found dead inside his apartment in Northwest Washington on July 22.
Mark Gower, a native of Portland, Ore. who lived in D.C. for several years, was found after failing to show up for work at his day job at a cosmetics store and his night job as a dancer at the gay nightclub Secrets, friends and co-workers said.
A spokesperson for D.C. police said there were no outward signs of foul play or trauma on Gower’s body when police forced open his apartment door.
Police Lt. Nicholas Bruel said the homicide squad and the city Medical Examiner’s Office are investigating the matter as a death of unknown cause. He noted that although there was no immediate evidence of wounds or a violent act, authorities could not rule out a homicide until the completion of an autopsy and toxicological tests. Bruel said other possible causes could include accidental death or suicide.
“He was a very reliable guy and always called if he needed to change his schedule,” said Cliff Witt, the Secrets dancer manager.
Gower’s friend, Timothy White, said he was troubled that police rules governing missing person reports precluded him from immediately filing such a report. White noted that authorities told him that a relative usually must file such reports — but he had trouble tracking down Gower’s exact address and reaching the man’s family in Oregon.
Although it couldn’t be immediately determined how long Gower was dead inside his apartment, White said police indicated he could have died shortly after he was discovered missing, which was nearly two weeks before the body was found.