Boyfriend Of Missing Cody Woman Remains A Suspect, Has New Gun Charge

The boyfriend of Katie Ferguson, who vanished while driving back to Wyoming with him from another state last fall, remains a suspect in her disappearance. And he now faces a new gun charge that could double his potential sentence to 30 years.

Clair McFarland

May 17, 20245 min read

Adam Aviles Jr., inset, and Katie Ferguson.
Adam Aviles Jr., inset, and Katie Ferguson. (Cowboy State Daily Staff)

The Cody man suspected of killing the mother of his children last autumn while driving her back to Wyoming to be with him is now facing a second federal gun-related charge — but no murder charges have been filed publicly in connection with the woman’s disappearance.

A Wyoming-based federal prosecutor charged Adam Aviles Jr., 27, last November with being a felon in possession of ammunition. That charge came a few days after Park County authorities found Aviles’ Dodge Durango in a rural area, splattered with “putrefied blood” and containing ammunition, according to court documents.

Aviles had been traveling in October with his on-and-off girlfriend Katie Ferguson, 33, and their shared children to Cody, Wyoming.

Ferguson had been in Alabama with her mother. But she and Aviles had decided to reunite after a prior breakup, according to a statement she made in a body camera video of one of the multiple police contacts that happened during the trip.

At some point, Ferguson was no longer in the vehicle.

Aviles arrived in Cody with his daughters and lived there for weeks without Ferguson.

Ferguson’s mother contacted the Cody Police Department to report her daughter missing Nov. 2, according to the evidentiary affidavit filed in the case in the U.S. District Court for Wyoming.  

The New Charge

The new charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm was not filed publicly in federal court as of midday Friday, but Aviles’ public defender David Weiss attested to it in a Friday filing.

The charge may add another 15 years (if Aviles committed it and did so knowingly) to the potential 15-year prison sentence Aviles already faces if convicted on the original count.

And Delay This

Weiss also asked for a postponement of Aviles’ upcoming deadlines to make motions requests.

In his various requests for delays on case deadlines and trial settings Weiss has told the court that Aviles is a homicide suspect in another jurisdiction, and that could impact how the gun case is handled.

But this time, Weiss referenced a new mountain of evidence against Aviles.

“A voluminous amount of additional discovery was provided to Defendant on May 10, which counsel needs additional time to fully review,” says Weiss’ Friday filing.

The defender may want to file motions to suppress evidence, he added.

Motions to suppress are calls for a court to keep some evidence out of the trial evidence pool, on the theory that the evidence was obtained in an unconstitutional way.

We’re In Talks

Weiss’s filing also alludes to ongoing negotiations toward a plea agreement. His filing indicates he and the prosecutor are having “discussions” about a revised plea agreement, but that these negotiations are contingent on Aviles not filing motions to suppress evidence.

If Weiss wants to file a suppression motion on Aviles’ behalf, he only has until Monday to do so. The attorney is asking the judge to reschedule that deadline for a later date.

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A Little History

Aviles and Ferguson left Alabama and at some point ended up in Arkansas, where a police officer confronted the family while they were parked in a parking lot, in the rain.

Ferguson explained that they were just trying to get home and had recently gotten back together.

“I don’t want to be here at all,” she says with a smile in the Oct. 5 body camera account of that visit.

A Texas State Patrol camera captured Aviles’ Durango four days later, Oct. 9, according to the case affidavit. This time, the camera showed a projectile hole in the passenger door concealed with tape.

Ferguson was not in the vehicle, and a clothing heap covered the front passenger seat, reportedly.

A Colorado State Patrol trooper contacted Aviles on Oct. 11, and Ferguson was not in the vehicle that time either, says the document.


Someone had reported Aviles’ Dodge Durango abandoned in Park County in early November, and emergency personnel converged on it out in a rural area.

A cadaver dog alerted near a tire track where the vehicle was sitting, the affidavit says. The other cadaver dog reportedly alerted by the front passenger door.

The front passenger seat was missing. Investigators found multiple Clorox wipes inside the vehicle and a Glock pistol magazine loaded to capacity near the vehicle’s center console, allegedly.

Park County Sheriff Darrell Steward saw a trash bag inside the Durango with what appeared to be a tan piece of the vehicle’s interior body molding protruding from it. The tan piece “appeared to have a dried streak of blood on it,” the affidavit says.

As deputies investigated, Aviles reportedly walked up to them carrying a gas can. He allegedly told them he was there to fill the Durango with gas because it had run out.

Sheriff’s Investigator Clayton Creel recovered three fired projectiles of .45-caliber bullets, one from inside the passenger side “B pillar” of the vehicle and two inside the front passenger door, the document says. He didn’t find the magazine’s corresponding pistol at that time.

A Felon Because …

Aviles is barred from owning firearms and ammunition because he was convicted of felony heroin possession in Park County in 2017. He remains in police custody, his court file indicates.

His firearms case is ongoing.

Correction - An earlier version of this story said Weiss asked to postpone Aviles' trial, not his motions deadlines.

Clair McFarland can be reached at

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Clair McFarland

Crime and Courts Reporter