Suspect In Disappearance Of Cody Woman Strikes Plea On Federal Gun Charge

The on-and-off-boyfriend and suspect in the disappearance of a Cody woman reached a plea deal Friday on a separate federal gun violation that could keep him in jail for years. The woman has been missing since Oct. 5.

Clair McFarland

June 18, 20243 min read

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

A Cody, Wyoming, man who’s a suspect in his girlfriend’s unsolved disappearance has reached a plea agreement on a separate a federal gun violation that could keep him in jail.

Adam Aviles Jr., 27, isn’t charged with homicide in the October disappearance of his on-and-off girlfriend Katie Ferguson, whom he was driving home to Cody from her mother’s house in Alabama last autumn.

While they left together, Ferguson never arrived back in Cody with Aviles.

But Aviles has been a homicide suspect in that case for months, according to court documents. When he was arrested in November on suspicion of being a felon in possession of ammunition, investigators reportedly had found blood and a bullet hole in Aviles’ Dodge Durango.

Cadaver dogs alerted on the vehicle as well, court documents say.

No public entity has made a public announcement of having found Ferguson, indicating she is still missing somewhere near Arkansas or Texas. Her last known sighting was in Trumann, Arkansas, on Oct. 5.

Ferguson’s mother Mona Hartling did not immediately respond Tuesday to a request for comment.

Confidential Agreement

A plea agreement was filed Friday in Aviles’ federal ammunition case, but the details of it hasn’t been made public.

He was indicted May 14 with one count of possessing ammunition as a felon and another of possessing a Glock .45-caliber handgun. Each charge carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.

It is unclear if Aviles will be entering guilty pleas (or variations of guilty pleas) to both charges, or to some other conglomeration of charges under the plea agreement, due to its private entry in the case.

A Little History

Ferguson’s mother contacted the Cody Police Department to report her daughter missing Nov. 2, according to an evidentiary complaint filed last year in the U.S. District Court for Wyoming under Aviles’ firearms case.

A police sergeant confronted Aviles, who had made it back to Cody with the couple’s children, but he reportedly said Ferguson wasn’t missing, she just didn’t want contact with her mother.

On Nov. 4, someone reported an abandoned 1999 Dodge Durango parked in the Oregon Basin of rural Park County. It was registered to Aviles.

While Park County Sheriff Darrell Steward and investigators searched the Durango, they smelled blood in the vehicle. They found the front passenger seat missing, a loaded Glock pistol magazine near the vehicle’s center console, and a trash bag containing a bloody piece of the vehicle’s interior, the affidavit alleges.

They also saw a “projectile hole,” covered with duct-tape in the front passenger door, reportedly.

While they searched, Aviles approached carrying a gas can, the document alleges. He reportedly said he was bringing it to supply the vehicle with gas.  

No Bullet Hole Back Then

A police camera in Trumann, Arkansas, captured an exchange between Ferguson, Aviles and an officer on Oct. 5. There was no bullet hole in the passenger-side door at that time.

But four days later, a Texas State Patrol camera captured the vehicle, which showed the duct tape on the door and Aviles in the vehicle with a clothing heap covering a passenger seat, says the affidavit, adding that Ferguson was not in the vehicle at that time.

Ferguson also wasn’t in the Durango on Oct. 11, when a Colorado State Patrol trooper spoke with Aviles, reportedly.

Clair McFarland can be reached at

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Clair McFarland

Crime and Courts Reporter