‘If she wasn’t safe, no one is.’ Family of Buckhead stabbing victim grateful for arrest

Eleanor Bowles, 77, was killed Saturday in her Buckhead home, according to Atlanta police.

Credit: Family photo

Credit: Family photo

Eleanor Bowles, 77, was killed Saturday in her Buckhead home, according to Atlanta police.

The family of the 77-year-old grandmother stabbed to death in her Buckhead home is grateful an arrest was made within 48 hours of the crime.

But the family of Eleanor Bowles echoed the thoughts of city leaders who say the violent crime in Atlanta must be combatted.

Bowles was found dead late Saturday when one of her two sons arrived at her home to visit for the holidays. Late Monday, Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens said police had arrested a suspect. Antonio Marquavis Brown, 23, of Smyrna, was charged with murder, aggravated battery, possession of a knife during the commission of a felony, elder abuse, and hijacking a motor vehicle, according to police.

Brown, whose middle name is sometimes spelled Marquavius in court and jail records, has had previous run-ins with law enforcement, those records show.

Bowles’ loved ones say should have been safe in her home in a gated community less than 2 miles from the Governor’s Mansion. Now, the grieving family is hoping for change.

Antonio Brown, 23, is facing a murder charge in the stabbing death of 77-year-old Eleanor Bowles at her Buckhead home. Police have also accused him of several other crimes, including hijacking Bowles' vehicle.

Credit: Fulton County Sheriff's Office

icon to expand image

Credit: Fulton County Sheriff's Office

“The wheels of justice have begun to move for my mother,” Michael Bowles said in a statement released to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “This has been a nightmare for our family. My mom should have been safe in her home. If she wasn’t safe, no one is. I grew up in Atlanta, my wife was born here, and my brother and his family live here. We love this city, but we have all been disappointed at the horrific acts of crime that have plagued Atlanta for far too long.”

Known as Ellen, Bowles was remembered for her love of her family and friends, animals and gardening. Donations for a GoFundMe page created in her honor will benefit the Atlanta Humane Society, the family said. In addition to her two sons, Bowles is survived by two granddaughters.

Investigators have not released details about a possible motive, but said Bowles may have interrupted a thief attempting to steal her SUV. It was found abandoned in DeKalb County.

On Sunday, investigators released surveillance camera images of a person of interest and asked for the public’s help in identifying him. The following day, investigators had identified and located Brown in DeKalb, according to police.

“We are incredibly thankful to the government officials and active members of the community who have taken my mom’s story and are demanding change,” Michael Bowles said. “We will continue to fight for justice, and for the safety of our communities.”

Atlanta Police Deputy Chief Charles Hampton speaks during a press conference on Monday, December 12, 2022, in Atlanta.  CHRISTINA MATACOTTA FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION.

Credit: Christina Matacotta

icon to expand image

Credit: Christina Matacotta

The harrowing crime has prompted community leaders to speak out publicly, with city council members calling for the judicial system to crack down on repeat offenders and the juvenile court system.

“What do we need to change with the juvenile court system? What do we need to change with the cash bail system,” Mary Norwood, council member and Buckhead resident, said during a public safety committee meeting Monday. “It’s not just the horrific crime on Saturday, it is the culmination of all of this...We have got a broken judicial system and it’s unbelievable.

Juvenile records are not made public, and it is not known whether Brown had a record as a child or teenager. As an adult, Brown’s Fulton County arrest records go back to March 2019, when he was arrested on a shoplifting charge.

In January 2020, Brown was arrested on charges of carrying a concealed weapon, giving a false name and not having prescription drugs in an original container, court and jail records show. He was credited for serving 45 days in jail, ordered to complete 30 community service hours and was sentenced to 12 months on probation in February of that year, according to court records.

In August 2020, Brown was arrested on charges of simple assault and aggravated assault. The aggravated assault charge was later dropped and he was again credited for time served for the lesser charge of simple assault. Brown was released from jail on Sept. 2, 2021, records show.

On June 6, Brown was charged with disorderly conduct, according to an Atlanta police report.

“He began to yell and bang on the bathroom door, before grabbing the frying pan and hitting it against the walls,” the report states.

The city jail refused to take Brown, who had a cut on his face at the time, the police report states.

On Tuesday, Brown waived his first court appearance, according to the Fulton sheriff’s office.

Meanwhile, Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens pledged that Atlanta police will continue to find those responsible for the violence. He offered a stern warning to any would-be criminals late Monday announcing Brown’s arrest.

“Let me very clear to those who would want to do harm in our community, who would want to perpetrate these crimes,” Dickens said. “If you pull a gun or pull out a knife in our city to hurt, harm, or kill someone, you will be arrested and sent to jail. We will use all of the tools of the APD and our friends and our partners, every resource we have, to bring to justice criminals who act in this violent way.”

— Staff writer Wilborn P. Nobles III contributed to this article.