Woman Vanishes During Cross-Country Trip with Ex-Partner and Children

CODY, Wyo. – A woman from Wyoming has gone missing while on a cross-country trip with her ex-boyfriend and their two young daughters. Katie Ferguson, 33, was last heard from in October, according to her family. The Park County Sheriff’s Office in Cody has arrested Adam Shane Aviles Jr., Ferguson’s former partner, on weapons-related charges and is investigating his potential involvement in her disappearance.

Authorities have revealed that Aviles had been spotted by law enforcement multiple times during their cross-country journey, but Ferguson was only seen with him once, on October 5. In subsequent encounters with Aviles’ vehicle, police allege that Ferguson was not present, and a gunshot was found on the car. Additionally, law enforcement reported discovering bloodstained clothes and detected the smell of “putrified blood” during one of these encounters.

In an interview with law enforcement, the couple’s 4-year-old daughter reportedly claimed that she witnessed her father “accidentally hurting” her mother. Ferguson’s mother, Mona Hartling, says that her daughter and Aviles had an on-again, off-again relationship that lasted eight tumultuous years. After spending several months in a shelter, Hartling moved the family to Alabama for a fresh start.

Upon Aviles’ return to Wyoming in October, Ferguson was nowhere to be found. Aviles allegedly informed Hartling that Ferguson had left him and the children.

The Park County Sheriff’s Office has been actively investigating Ferguson’s disappearance since they discovered that Aviles had abandoned his vehicle. They are working in conjunction with the ATF, the FBI, the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation, and the Cody Police Department to gain leads in the case. Meanwhile, a fundraiser has been initiated to support the family’s search efforts and provide a stable home for the children.

Aviles has pleaded not guilty to the weapons-related charges, and his attorney could not be reached for comment at this time.