Photo: William Ralph Wilson
BENTON – The mystery behind a Domestic Violence phone call to Mono County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) Dispatch has been brought to light. It all started on February 19th at 9:33 PM, when a quick response from MCSO Deputies and California Highway Patrol (CHP) Bishop Officers arrived at an undisclosed Benton residence.
There, “they found evidence of forced entry and a struggle. However, no one was inside the residence or on the property,” said Sheriff Ingrid Braun. Law enforcement’s extensive search of the surrounding area revealed the male suspect’s vehicle at a residence in Hammil Valley.
The vehicle housed a dark discovery – the female victim, who was clearly deceased. “The suspect barricaded himself in a motorhome on the property,” said Sheriff Braun. “The Inyo/Mono Special Enforcement Detail (SED) responded, along with assistance from CHP-Bishop and their H-40 Helicopter, Inyo Sheriff’s Office, and Bishop Police Department. Mono County Paramedics and White Mountain Fire Medic 4 staged at a safe distance for any potential injuries.”
The SED Tactical Team made entry into the motorhome, finding the suspect making an unsuccessful attempt to conceal himself. An arrest without incident was made, along with a custody transport to Mono County Jail.
The open, active investigation required no release of names pending prior notification to the victim’s next of kin.
We now have an Update in the Benton Homicide Investigation – The identity of the victim has been released: Elizabeth Ann Copeland (58), from Benton. The name of the still-in-custody Homicide suspect, also from Benton, is William Ralph Wilson (65).
“Additional details will be released as they become available,” added Sheriff Braun, “provided the investigation will not be compromised.”