Arkansas police have released body camera video of a last known sighting of Katie Ferguson, a Cody woman who has been missing for two months.
Ferguson’s boyfriend Adam Aviles Jr., 26, is in jail on a separate crime and is a suspect in her murder, but police agencies have not announced a discovery of either Ferguson or her body.
It was about 11 a.m. on Oct. 5 in Trumann, Arkansas, when a Trumann Police Department officer approached a black SUV with its passenger-side door open, according to a bodycam video Aaron Benzick, of investigative nonprofit Solve the Case, sent to Cowboy State Daily on Saturday.
Benzick got the video via a public records request and also provided an email from the Trumann Police Department confirming the department released the video.
What Does The Video Show?
“How you guys doin’?” asks a police officer with an Arkansas accent in the body cam video. “What you guys up to?”
Rain drizzles, fleeting across the body cam view and dripping onto the SUV.
The body cam video shows the officer approaching a dark-colored Dodge Durango and walking to the passenger side. The camera captures a clear view of Katie Ferguson, in a red T-shirt, her legs crossed casually, as she sorts through snacks and folds baby garments in the car’s passenger seat. She smiles in mild surprise at the officer’s approach.
A baby coos in the back seat. A toddler clambers in the front-seat area between her parents.
“Trying to clean up and head over to Jonesburough, how you doing?” answers Aviles Jr., who sits in the driver’s seat, shadowy in the day’s weak light.
“I was just seein’ the door open and it looked suspicious, so I had to come check it out,” says the officer.
Ferguson smiles again. “Yeah, we’re headin’ out,” she says, adding that the family is on its way back to Wyoming.
“Do you guys have a ID or anything?” asks the officer.
“Yeah —“ Ferguson begins, still folding baby garments.
“Is Arkansas an ID state?” asks Aviles.
The Conversation Continues
The officer doesn’t answer that question in the video. The Immigrant Legal Resource Center lists Arkansas as a state where officers can stop people to ask for their identification in public areas or on others’ property. People may be charged with loitering if they don’t provide an identity, says ILRC.org.
“I just need to verify you,” says the officer.
“I don’t think we’ve done nothing – I don’t think we’re breaking the law,” says Aviles. “Unless we got a call called on us, I don’t think we’ve done nothin’ wrong.”
“Well, it is a suspicious vehicle in a parking lot,” says the officer. “I was drivin’ right here and I seen you guys.”
“So no one called in. ‘K,” says Aviles.
The officer asks Ferguson for her ID. She sorts through some of the items in the vehicle, saying she didn’t have her wallet just then.
The officer asks her name.
“Katheryn – Ferguson,” she answers.
The baby’s crying intensifies.
“Calm down,” says Aviles to the child.
‘We’re Trying To Get Back To Wyoming’
Ferguson, who appears fatigued throughout the encounter, yawns.
“We would have been at a hotel but Priceline took a bunch of our money,” Ferguson says.
The officer asks how long they’ve been in Trumann.
Just one night, says Ferguson.
“You guys just passin’ through?” asks the officer.
“Yeah, we’re trying to get back to Wyoming,” says Aviles.
Ferguson explains that she was with her family in Alabama because she and Aviles had “separated for a while.” Then they came back together.
“So, he came down to see me. And we decided to just get back together and take care of the girls,” Ferguson adds.
“I don’t want to be here, at all,” she says with a smile, through a yawn.
“All right,” says the officer, and walks promptly away.
Never Made It Back
That was the last time anyone saw Ferguson, who never arrived back in Cody with Alives and their two young children.
Investigators later found Aviles’ Durango abandoned in Park County, Wyoming, on Nov. 4 smelling of putrefied blood and with a bullet hole in the door, an evidentiary affidavit says.
The front passenger seat was missing. There were multiple Clorox wipes inside the vehicle, and a Glock pistol magazine loaded to capacity near the vehicle’s center console, the document alleges.
While law enforcement was processing the Durango, Aviles walked up to them carrying a gas canister. He said he was there to fill the vehicle up because it had run out of gas, the affidavit says.
Aviles was arrested, and later charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm, and his defense attorney has since in court documents confirmed he’s a murder suspect.
Aviles and Ferguson’s two daughters made it back to Cody with their father when he first returned in October.
Clair McFarland can be reached at Clair@CowboyStateDaily.com.