[Latest Update] Murder in Benton reported by Mono County Sheriff – Suspect Arrested

FEB. 25,2021 UPDATE #2: The victim has been identified as Elizabeth Ann Copeland, age 58, from Benton, Calif.

Elizabeth Ann Copeland, age 58, from Benton, Calif.

Sierra Wave was contacted by Catherine Johnson, an aunt of Ms. Copeland, asking for more information on her niece’s murder. She shared that she was so tired of reading posts on Facebook and Ms. Copeland’s mother (her sister Roberta) “…was just being overwhelmed by all of it.”  As were her sons.

Johnson, who is familiar with this area (she was born here!), described her niece Elizabeth this way: “She didn’t meet a stranger, kind to everyone.  She made necklaces and earrings, jewelry out of old glass and stones etc. she found in the mountains and desert.  Yard art, and hanging mobiles; That kind of things.   Hippie type, free spirit, old soul, kind hearted.”

Sierra Wave offered advice as to whom Ms. Johnson might contact for more information thanks to suggestions from the Mono County Sheriff’s Office, which was greatly appreciated.

Several readers and listeners asked if there was a photograph of Ms. Copeland that could be shared. In our small communities, we often know each other or recognize each other from seeing each other at local stores and events. So, we sent several photos to the aunt and she felt the photograph posted to the left was the one that reminded her most of her niece from Copeland’s Facebook page.

Given the close nature of our small communities, it always comes as a shock when someone that we know is tragically lost or killed. It is also disturbing in that it reminds us of our own mortality and frailties. But it is also refreshing to see the reactions from most of our Sierra Wave readers and listeners, who invariably offer kind thoughts, memories, and sympathy to the family and friends of the deceased.

Sierra Wave will post Ms. Copeland’s obituary as soon as we receive it. Rest in Peace, Elizabeth.

FEB. 21, 2021 UPDATE: William Ralph Wilson, Jr., age 65, arrested for Murder in Benton, Calif.


Press Release: Man arrested for murder in Benton, Calif.

[Original Post] On February 19, 2021, at 9:33 p.m., Mono County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) Dispatch received a call regarding a Domestic Violence in the Benton area. MCSO deputies and California Highway Patrol (CHP) Bishop officers quickly responded to the residence, where they found evidence of forced entry and a struggle. However, no one was inside the residence or on the property.

After an extensive search of the surrounding area, law enforcement located the male suspect’s vehicle at a residence in Hammil Valley. The female victim was located in the vehicle, clearly deceased. The suspect barricaded himself in a motorhome on the property.

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.

Entry was made into the motorhome by the SED Tactical Team, where they located the suspect attempting to conceal himself. The suspect was arrested without incident and is now in custody in the Mono County Jail.

The names of the victim and the suspect will not be released until the victim’s next of kin have
been notified. This is an open and active investigation. Additional details will be released as
they become available, provided the investigation will not be compromised.

, , , ,

7 Responses to [Latest Update] Murder in Benton reported by Mono County Sheriff – Suspect Arrested

  1. sugarmags April 26, 2021 at 8:14 am #

    what’s the scoop on Cory Spurlock who is shown as an inmate in Inyo County Jail from a transfer from Mono County on murder charges? 4/21/21. Can we gat an article regarding his alleged crime? thanks

    • Charles James April 26, 2021 at 7:49 pm #

      Sierra Wave will look into this further. Sometimes it can get very difficult to find information as the defendant–often on advice of their attorney-is not talking, and the district attorney’s office isn’t always very forthcoming with information, despite intense public interest.

  2. Stoopidisstoopiddoes February 26, 2021 at 3:24 pm #

    I’m just Gunna say it since no one else has….if the suspect was brown, he would have already been tried and convicted by the media. Don’t get me wrong, It is nice to see the public show some empathy given the little bit of information that has been shared with the public. After all, the fact that someone has been arrested as a suspect does not mean they are guilty. But the difference between how the public responds is just so obvious and undeniable. In fact, the manner in which Law enforcement responds to a call varies depending on if the call for service is on or off the reservation. On another note, I would like to know what the suspect has previously been to prison for? Not that it relevant, but I am curious. Also, does anyone happen to know why LE was called out to Benton earlier that day? Around 2:30-3ish?

    • Tinner February 27, 2021 at 8:44 pm #

      Stoopidisstoopiddoes, “it is nice to see the public show some empathy…”? Clearly you’re not.
      A woman was found dead and presumed to have been murdered and all you can think about is skin color and racism.
      Where’s your heart, man?
      It sure does sound like you just accused a lot of the local “media…public…law enforcement” of being racist.
      Maybe YOU are the racist, man.
      Stoopidisstoopiddoes, you said it, nobody else, and you didn’t even spell it correctly.

      • Stoopidisstoopiddoes February 28, 2021 at 3:28 pm #

        Tinner, the entire situation is indeed tragic. As I said earlier, and I I will say it again….it is nice to see the public show some empathy for a change. It is also nice to read a news article without having to also read so many hateful and condescending comments as usual. I apologize if my comment offended you or anyone else. I was only stating what I have personally witnessed and experienced in the past when it comes to tragedies similar in nature. My bad. I should know by now, that nothing will ever change, but I can still hope. My heart goes out to all of the people involved and their loved ones. My heart also goes out to each and everyone who has had and will continue to experience violence, inequality, racism, and all other forms of injustice throughout their lives. It sounds to me like Law enforcement responded appropriately in this matter, I just wish they responded in the same manner when they are called to the reservation. If that makes me a stupid, heartless, racist with no empathy so be it.

  3. Dee February 21, 2021 at 1:23 pm #

    Ralph William Wilson arrested for murder in Hammil Valley. In Mono County jail

  4. Tinner February 21, 2021 at 1:13 pm #

    Dang, horrible.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.