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Demographic Information

Names: Ray Copeland and Faye Della Copeland

Ages: 72 (Ray); 65 (Faye)

Genders: Male and Female

Ethnicity: Caucasian

Family History: Ray Copeland was born in Oklahoma. He was able to obtain a

fourth grade education before dropping out of school. During his twenties, he

adopted a lifestyle which consisted of thievery and robberies. Faye was from

Arkansas. She had a fairly normal childhood. The couple met in 1940, and were

married within six months. Within the first two years of getting married, Ray and

Faye Copeland had two sons which they named Everett and Billy Ray. They moved

to California in 1944. They also had three more children while they lived in

California: Betty Lou, Alvia and William Wayne. It is said that they committed

several horse thefts during the time they resided in California. After suspicions rose

concerning the robberies, Ray moved the family to Arkansas. (Miller, 1993).

Within one month of moving to Arkansas, Ray was arrested for stealing

cattle. He spent one year in jail for the crime. Upon his release, he moved his family

to Rocky Comfort, Missouri. In 1951, he was once again arrested for cattle theft. In

1953, Ray and Faye moved their family to Illinois. He continued to be arrested for

thievery until he decided to take a different approach.

Date of Birth: 1914 (Ray Copeland) 1921 (Faye Copeland)

Date of Death: 1993 (Ray Copeland) December 30, 2003 (Faye Copeland)
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Type of Killings: In 1967, Ray and Faye Copeland bought a 40-acre farm in

Mooresville, Missouri. By the early 1970's, Ray had begun using drifters to conduct

his swindles. He would instruct the drifters to attend auctions and purchase cattle

using bad checks. Since he was not signing the checks, he could not be convicted

for fraud. Because drifters are difficult to track down, authorities were unable to

charge them with a crime or extract the information they needed to charge

Copeland (Miller, 1993).

Ray continued to revise his method of using drifters to purchase cattle with

bad checks. On August 20, 1989, a fifty-seven year old man named Jack McCormick

contacted the authorities and informed them that Ray Copeland attempted to

murder him. He declared that he had become aware of Copeland's illegal dealings;

and had seen human bones on the farm. Detectives in Missouri were aware the

previous crimes of which Ray had been convicted. This prompted the detectives to

move quickly. Within two months, they had enough evidence to obtain a search

warrant. After searching the farm for a week, they found the bodies of three men in

a local barn that was used by Ray. The bodies were later identified as those of John

Freeman, 27-years-old, killed in December of 1988; Jimmie Dale Harvey, 27-years-

old, killed in October of 1988 and Paul Jason Cowart, killed in May of 1989. All three

victims had suffered the same fate. One week after the first discovery, a body was

found beneath another barn. This one was that of Wayne Warner, age unknown,

killed in November of 1986. Another victim was found in a well, Dennis Murphy, 27-

years-old, killed in October of 1986 (Miller, 1993).

Number of Victims: Five confirmed, but as many as twelve.


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Works Cited
Miller, T. (1993). The Copeland Killings. New York, NY: Windsor Publishing Corp.