Laura Cowan, the former wife of polygamist Mansa Musa Muhummed, will speak out tonight on TV One’s crime documentary Justice By Any Means. Many will remember the story of Laura Cowan, who came forward after being sexually assaulted, brutally beaten, and forced to live in squalor with over 12 children in a filthy garage in California in the 1990s. She was saved after slipping a note to a postal worker.
Considered one of the worst child abuse cases in California history, 46-year-old Mansa Musa Muhummed (aka Richard Boddie) was finally brought to justice and sentenced to time in prison. On the Justice By Any Means episode titled “Laura Cowan: Against Their Will,” Laura will recount her horrifying tale. Crime analysts and a journalist will also give details in the case.
Justice By Any Means: “Laura Cowan — Against Their Will”
- A single mother finally has the guts to escape a religious polygamous cult.
Aguanga, California: A House of Polygamous Horrors on Justice By Any Means
Laura Cowan’s story was revealed in April of 1999 after police arrived at an Aguanga home in California, where multiple children and wives were found living in deplorable conditions. However, the story was deeper than what police could see on the surface, Justice By Any Means will report.
The story included a tale of starvation, torture, and sexual abuse of the wives and the children. According to Laura Cowan, the second wife of Mansa Musa Muhummed, she was raped, beaten, and forced to live in a dirty garage, where she was locked inside with multiple children. Laura had lived inside of the garage for more than six months.
When Laura first met Mansa Musa, he was kind and charming. She jumped at the chance to live with him since she was having a hard time in life. But just after moving in, everything changed, according to a report by the Los Angeles Times.
“He was born Richard Boddie Jr. near Norfolk, Va. After converting to Islam, he dubbed himself Mansa Musa Muhummed. He home-schooled his children and required his wife and daughters to wear veils.
“At first Cowan thought he was a good father who employed unorthodox methods to create a disciplined, religious family. Soon he asked her to be his second wife.
“He began isolating her from her children. My son’s entire demeanor changed. He no longer smiled and just stared at his shoes.”
Newspapers recounting the crime say that police recovered between 12 to 19 children between the ages of 8 and 18 years of age.Laura Cowan was courageous and determined to figure out a way to save herself and the others.
As stated on Justice By Any Means, she was able to do that after going with Mansa Musa Muhummed to run errands. A stop at the local post office allowed her time to get a note to the postal worker. That worker contacted authorities, which led to the raid at what police called a house of horrors.
Since that time, Laura Cowan has been working as a domestic violence advocate with expertise in polygamous families and the Muslim religion.
A Different Side of the Story
Laura Cowan told her story on Dr. Phil. But the show turned out to be a lot different from what Justice By Any Means’ coverage might show tonight. On Dr. Phil, the children of one of the other wives came forward to confront Laura Cowan, who they claimed lied and pretended to be on their side but stated that she helped Mansa by telling him every time she saw the children sneaking food.
However, the children say they were left in the garage and starved. They say Mansa made them eat their own vomit and feces, not Laura, who they claim had access to a refrigerator and was allowed to come and go.
Laura Cowan denied their accusations.
To get her side of the story, watch Justice By Any Means tonight at 10/9 p.m. Central on TV One. For more stories, read the case of missing teen Dominique Allen who was featured on the show last week.
[Featured Image by TV One]