***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***
By Jake Nichols, Cowboy State Daily
A romance novelist who once successfully trademarked the word “cocky” is now a missing person, last seen in Jackson, Wyoming.
Faleena Hopkins, 52, led police on a high-speed chase through Grand Teton National Park late last month, ending when law enforcement employed spike strips to finally get her to stop.
She was arrested and booked on six charges, including suspicion of fleeing/attempting to elude police officers.
Hopkins spent the weekend in the Teton County Jail awaiting an initial appearance before Judge Kelly Rankin after her arrest Jan. 27.
On the morning of Jan. 30, Hopkins was released on a personal recognizance bond with instructions to appear on Feb. 28 for an arraignment.
She has not been heard from since.
“She walked out of that police station and vanished off the face of the earth,” said fellow author Suzan Tisdale, who has been in close contact with a family member of Hopkins’.
Hopkins reportedly left behind all her belongings —purse, wallet, even the vehicle she was driving at the time of the incident. Her profile was recently added to the state missing persons database.
Hopkins is the subject of a multi-jurisdiction investigation with cooperation between authorities in Wyoming, Washington, Utah and California. A blanket search warrant has been issued that allows investigators to ping her cellphone, look up bank records for debit/credit card transactions and other investigative measures.
An attempt to locate her cellphone shows the device was last in service on Jan. 28, according to investigators.
Hopkins’ sister, Shann Maureen, expressed surprise at learning Faleena would even be visiting Jackson Hole at the time of her arrest. As far as she knows, her sister has never been in Wyoming.
Also, she was expected at a birthday party for her nephew in California on Feb. 1.
Hopkins lives in Seattle, Washington, and her home was searched by authorities.
A receipt for her nephew’s birthday presents was reportedly found dated Jan. 25 at 4 p.m. Then 41 hours later, Hopkins’ red Kia Soul was being towed out of the snow from an unplowed visitor area just south of the south entrance to Yellowstone National Park.
After calling 911 at 9:52 am, Hopkins was pulled safely from her predicament at Flagg Ranch and cited for driving a wheeled vehicle on a path meant exclusively for snowmobiles, according to court records and National Park rangers.
An hour later, and 21 miles down the highway, Hopkins was approached by a Grand Teton National Park ranger after he spotted her vehicle parked in the middle of the road.
According to GTNP spokesperson Valerie Gohlke, Hopkins fled when the ranger turned on his emergency lights to stop and check on her. A chase ensued, reaching speeds up to 90 mph at one point.
Spike strips were employed 18 miles south at Glacier View turnout on U.S. Highway 191. Hopkins hit those and managed to continue another four miles before she pulled over near Moose Junction.
Gohlke would not comment on the state of Hopkins at the time of arrest. She directed all further inquiries to the Teton County Sheriff’s Office, which handled Hopkin’s transport to the county jail.
Hopkins achieved a degree of notoriety in 2018 when she successfully applied for a trademark on the word “cocky” as it appeared in titles of romance novels.
Hopkins’ series of self-published raunch-romance under the “Cocker Brothers” brand includes titles like “Cocky Roomie” and “Cocky Quarterback.”
The trademark, as well as threatened legal action, met with fierce blowback from the indie publishing community, which called it nothing short of trademark bullying, and #cockygate ran wild on social media.
Hopkins eventually surrendered the trademark registration after intense scrutiny.
During the height of her book publishing fame, Hopkins also wrote, directed and starred in the motion picture “Just One More Kiss,” which won Best Feature Film at Big Apple Film Festival in 2019.
The film was made on Hopkins’ dime — proceeds from the sale of her books — and played nationwide in a limited distribution deal with Lionsgate until the pandemic shut down theatres in 2020.
Hopkins also was a moderately successful standup comedian, working in Los Angeles in the late 1990s until about 2004, when she moved to NYC to pursue photography.
Eventually, Hopkins quit that business to concentrate on writing her romance novels.
Missing 15 Days
According to the family friend and fellow independent author Tisdale, the family had no indication anything was amiss in Hopkins’ life.
They have some theories as to what may have happened, but would not divulge those.
“This came out of nowhere. The family does not know what would set off this chain of events, and they are beside themselves with grief,” Tisdale stated on her latest Instagram post dated early Tuesday morning. “Speculation is some event took place, something bad had to have happened … Faleena is in crisis.
“She left her belongings, her wallet, her purse. Police have her car,” Tisdale added. “She stepped out the door of that police station and … poof!
Not exactly poof.
Jackson Police Department spokesperson Lt. Russ Ruschill said the trail did not go cold in Jackson. Ruschill confirmed to Cowboy State Daily investigators have surveillance footage of Hopkins boarding a flight at Jackson Hole Airport bound for Salt Lake City, Utah.
Utah authorities are looking into video evidence of Hopkins arriving at the Salt Lake City airport and where she might have gone from there.
Ruschill also confirmed Hopkins left her car with a local towing company and abandoned her dog at the local shelter in Jackson.
Ruschill also provided a photo he took of Hopkins as she walked outside his office at the police station. She can be seen in the photo carrying a stack of paperwork.
Hopkins has not contacted family members and most of her personal social media sites have been taken down. Tisdale says that was not done by anyone in the family.
An investigation into the disappearance of Faleena Marie Hopkins is being led by the Jackson Police Department (307-733-1430) and the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation (307-777-7181).
Hopkins is a white female, age 52. She is about 5 feet, 7 inches tall, weighs 135 pounds and has green eyes and strawberry blond hair.
She has an infinity sign tattooed on her left wrist and the phrase “Follow All Instincts” on her right wrist. The face of a lion is tattooed on her shoulder. She also has a tattoo of a hummingbird on her right ankle.
***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***