Hostage in Yell Co. standoff recounts what suspect told her inside surrounded home

Haley McHam, the woman held hostage in Thursday's Yell County standoff with police, says her ex-boyfriend allegedly snapped after she broke up with him. (Photo: KATV)

Haley McHam said her mother and daughter would pay the ultimate sacrifice for her - both allegedly shot dead by McHam's ex-boyfriend - a man McHam's family tried to get her away from.

McHam's mother Rita Miller and daughter, Ciera Miller, had finally convinced McHam to move out of her boyfriend James "Jamie" Bowden's home. Instead of going home to Bowden on Wednesday, McHam would stay with her daughter at her mother's home on Gum Springs Road outside the community of Chickalah. But McHam said her breaking off their relationship was what apparently set Bowden off.

"He came in there and he told me it was my fault," said McHam, fighting back tears. "That if I had just come home, that they would still be alive."

Bowden first came to the house early Thursday morning, according to McHam, getting into an altercation with her and her daughter Ciera. When Bowden hit both McHam and her daughter, that's when McHam called 911.

Lt. Kevin Mainhart would respond to the Miller residence, later spotting Bowden on Highway 27. Mainhart would initiate a traffic stop, taze Bowden, but Bowden grabbed Mainhart's gun and shot him. During the hour's long standoff, McHam said Bowden would tell her about the traffic stop - telling her that Mainhart begged Bowden not to kill him.

"He asked not to die," said McHam. "He didn't want to die - didn't want to leave his family - and Jamie shot him anyway."

There were moments McHam was certain she was going to die. During most of the five-hour standoff, McHam said she hid under a desk worried she would either be shot by Bowden or caught in police crossfire. McHam said she was telling Bowden "everything he wanted to hear," hoping something would click with him and he would let her go.

"I want every woman that stays in these abusive relationships to get out today, right now," said McHam. "You never expect this to happen."

Despite knowing what happened on Thursday wasn't her fault, McHam still has a hard time not taking on some of the blame.

"If I would have went home my family would be alive, they wouldn't be dead," cried McHam.

McHam said she wants to see justice and eventually wants to see Bowden receive the death penalty.

Bowden is set to make his first appearance before a judge on Monday in a Dardanelle courtroom.

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