Missing Since: December 13, 1986 from Rancho, California
Classification: Non-Family Abduction
Date Of Birth: May 13, 1979
Age: 7 years old
Height and Weight: 4'6, 60 pounds
Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian female. Blonde hair, blue eyes. Cooper's upper front teeth were missing at the time of her 1986 disappearance.
Clothing/Jewelry Description: A white leotard, a lavender dress, a white sweater and white leather dress shoes.
Details of Disappearance
Cooper was last seen walking to an arcade at Woodchuck RV Campground eleven miles east of in Temecula, California off Highway 79 South, on December 13, 1986. The campground was located near her family's residence in Rancho, California. She has never been heard from again.
Cooper was being supervised by a friend of her family, William James Bannister, at the time she disappeared. Bannister was employed as a truck driver from Colorado in 1986. He had offered to babysit her when she and her mother went to work at an Old Town Temecula thrift store that day.
Bannister was convicted of the attempted murder of a teenaged girl from Colorado after Cooper's disappearance. He was charged with Cooper's presumed homicide in 1995, nine years after she disappeared. Bannister was extradicted from Colorado to California for the trial. Investigators believed that he killed Cooper as part of a brutal sexual fantasy, then concealed her remains. His son testified that Bannister had confessed to killing Cooper in 1989. Bannister was convicted of her murder in 1998 and sentenced to life in prison without parole in early 1999. Cooper's body has never been located. She was a first-grade student at Cottonwood Elementary School in December 1986. Foul play is suspected in her disappearance due to the circumstances involved.
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Riverside County Sheriff's Department