BYNG, Okla. – A murder clue is left behind in the middle of the street after a disabled woman was killed and her house set on fire to cover up the crime.
“911. What’s the location of your emergency?”
“I need an ambulance or a fire truck…to my neighbor’s house.”
“We just looked in there, and it looks like somebody is laying in the bed, and the house in burnt up.”
When authorities showed up, they not only found Cindy Allen’s home burned, they also found the body of the 55-year-old disabled woman inside, and they believe her handicap may have been why she was targeted.
“It appeared the victim had been strangled and then the house set on fire to cover that crime,” said Pontotoc County Sheriff John Christian.
However, investigators didn’t have to look far from the house.
Although the fire may have been set to cover up evidence, there was something left in the road that literally pointed them right to the suspect.
“We noticed there were flip flops setting in the road like someone had just stepped out of them, and they were pointed in the direction of this residence,” Christian said.
That residence belonged to the mother of 26-year-old Charles Cooper.
He lived with her, and she even confirmed the flips flops belonged to her son.
“You could tell someone that morning had been wearing them and there was dew around the toe area of the flip flops,” Christian said. “So, someone had just recently stepped out of those.”
Evidence inside the home indicated whoever was inside wasn’t wearing any shoes.
Detectives had their suspect, and he was nowhere to be found.
The OSBI and the state fire marshal went to work at the scene.
“Knew the fire was suspicious because it appeared to be set in several different areas,” Christian said.
And, the US Marshal service went to work across the country and tracked down Cooper in the parking lot of a Billing, Montana McDonald’s.
“He was using the Wi-Fi to set up an account to receive money, funds to continue traveling,” Christian said.
Cooper was taken into custody on the spot.
He told authorities he got drunk and wanted to break into a house then hightailed it as far as he could get.
He knew his run would be short lived.
“He was just traveling cross country to see as much country as he could before he was arrested,” Christian said.
Cooper is being held in Billings, Montana jail.
He is facing a number of charges including first degree murder, first degree arson and first degree burglary.
If he waives extradition, the Pontotoc County sheriff will have to get a warrant signed by the governor to have him extradited back to Oklahoma.