CENTENNIAL, Colo. (KDVR) — Rowan Dowell has been forced to quarantine at home for the last two weeks but not because of COVID-19. The 17-year-old has been afraid to leave his house after a series of racists Snapchat posts began circulating on June 2 with his name attached to them.
One includes a picture of Dowell with a post that reads, “I am the F—ing master race. “George Floyd deserve to die. He is a F—ing N—er!!!!! I will kill any N—er. Just F—ing pull up.”
Dowell told the FOX31 Problem Solvers one post “said, ‘My name is Rowan James Dowell and I go to Cherry Creek High School'” and then provided a link to Rowan’s real Snapchat account.
“It was terrible. Wondering, ‘Why me?’ Like, ‘What have I done?'” asked the soon-to-be high school senior.
Dowell said his phone began blowing up with direct messages from friends who realized someone was impersonating Dowell online.
Soon, deputies from the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office were at his house asking to search his phone. The school district asked to perform a threat assessment on him and sent out a press release to the media that read in part, “We were made aware of multiple social media posts that are explicitly racist and violent against the black community and that allegedly involve a Cherry Creek High School student.”
“I think my parents have taught me well enough to never be racist and I’ve always kind of lived by that because yes, I do believe all people are equal,” said Dowell.
Rowan’s mother Julie Dowell found about the racist posts when a woman she had never met before showed up at her house demanding answers.
“Her son, who is half black, had to read (the Snapchat posts). I can’t imagine how that felt for him. That’s awful,” Julie said.
The Dowells understand the anger but said they wish more people had noticed the imposter had a user account name of “J_Skywalkee” while Rowan’s true account is “rowanjwd.”
“The first couple of nights I stayed in a hotel because I was so scared,” Julie said.
Rowan’s father Nathan Dowell told the Problem Solvers his son hasn’t been able to work for two weeks because his employer, Home Depot, felt it would be best for Rowan to stay home.
“Rowan didn’t feel safe either because the messages that came to him were threatening on his life,” Nathan said.
Rowan had to undergo a “threat assessment” to ensure it is OK for him to return to school in the fall.
“It’s just upsetting when I have to do all this stuff when deep down I know I didn’t do any of it. I don’t deserve this,” said Rowan.
A week after the first series of racists posts, the same account posted a photo of a white male kneeling on the neck of another white male.
The identity of the two males is not known but it’s obvious neither is Rowan.
“Just trying to prove to everybody that I’m not that kind of person,” said Rowan.
Arapahoe County Sheriff deputies confirm they’ve interviewed Rowan and his parents and said, “the information they have provided is a significant part of the investigation.”
In addition, Thornton police tell the Problem Solvers they are investigating the same Snapchat account “j_skywalkee” for harassing a young person in Thornton.
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story used the wrong name for Rowan’s father. It has been corrected.