However, shortly after Rowcroft's arrival Simón Bolívar returned to Lima from the interior and the Spanish retreated to Castle of Real Felipe. Rowcroft decided to visit a friend in Callao and arranged for a safe pass through the royalist lines. On the return from his visit he handed in his safe pass but, as his coach left the outpost, it was struck by a hail of bullets. Rowcroft was killed and his daughter disappeared.
It is not known for sure whether it was the "royalists" or the "patriots" who were responsible but it is said that the royalist officer who gave him the safe pass had, unknown to Rowcroft, written a death sentence on it. What happened to his daughter is unknown.
At Markham College, the only house not named after a military figure is Rowcroft.