Family not giving up on finding Avonmore man Copper
Editor's note: This is the fourth in a series of stories updating issues from the past year. The stories will appear daily, except Sunday, through the end of the year.
Al Copper III's family isn't giving up.
The 28-year-old Avonmore husband and father hasn't been seen since 4:10 a.m. June 6 when a convenience store camera captured his image.
His wife, Christie, said he left their house at 3:45 a.m. on his way to work.
Later that morning, Copper's blue Hyundai Elantra was found at a natural gas well road, but there hasn't been any sign of Copper despite a three-day search of the nearby Kiski River and rugged, wooded area as well as the tri-state.
“There's no indication that he's anywhere,” laments his mother, Linda Copper of Bell Township. “We still don't know anything more than the day he went missing.”
So what happened to him?
Either he left on his own, or something happened to him, Linda Copper said.
She said he didn't have a girlfriend, enemy or drug habit or even say he was unhappy with his wife and their now 8-month-old son, Emmett.
“Avonmore is small place” police Chief James Shaffer said. “If there had ever been arguing in the home, someone would know. There were never any such reports.”
Even so, the family has made many trips to parts of West Virginia and Ohio, where Al Copper worked previously, to put up fliers asking that anyone who has seen him to call.
In the year before he disappeared, Al Copper was working daily even though he had a head and knee injury from an accident at a former employer's. His teeth were infected. The family wonders if the infection invaded his brain or if the head injury caused him to be hospitalized.
Even though they have visited or talked with hospital officials in several states, federal health privacy laws are working against them.
Unless a patient agrees to be contacted, a hospital can't routinely give out information, Linda Copper said. The family has searched a wooded area near where his car was found.
“We have searched areas that weren't checked in June,” she said. “Family members even went into some of the caves at the bottom of the cliffs. Nothing.”
The family is also trying to sift through conflicting information that surfaced in June.
“What we still can't wrap our brains around is that someone spotted his car parked on the other side of the Avonmore Bridge at 5:45 a.m. that day,” she said. “But the car was found at the gas well road on the side of the hill above the railroad tracks. Who moved it?”
State police Trooper Robert Harr said police are checking tips and have contacted other departments in areas where Copper had previously worked.
Not all tips are useful. A tip on Facebook claiming that Al Copper was abducted was checked and ruled out, he said.
Some days are harder than others for the family to deal with the disappearance, Linda Copper.
“We prop each other up,” she said.
None is giving up the search.
“I can't quit,” Linda Copper said. “One way or another, we have to know where he is. We have to know for Emmett and Christie — if it takes the rest of my life.”
“We're never going to stop looking. There's no other alternative. We just can't believe that someone doesn't know something.
“Please — if you know something, call the police.”
Chuck Biedka is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4711 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Driver leaps from sliding truck just before it topples down hillside in Fawn
- Gunman sought in gas station robberies in Jefferson, Buffalo townships
- EPA urges further review of nuclear waste dump in Parks Township
- Parents alerted to luring attempt of fourth-grade girl in Springdale
- Winfield Township to try road treatment mix
- Radioactive radon permeates Western Pennsylvania homes
- Arnold woman severely injured in Allegheny Township wreck
- Plum’s 1st property tax hike since 2006 could reach 6.2%
- Residents opposed to drilling, Consol subsidiary make cases in Allegheny Township
- Winfield man is one of a few to attend all 49 Super Bowl games
- Tarentum service honors legacy of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.