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Missing romance novelist tracked to Salt Lake City airport, then Hawaii after disappearing following arrest
February 17 2023, 08:00

The missing romance novelist who disappeared days after she allegedly fled from police while she was "in crisis" at the end of January has since been linked to Salt Lake City and Hawaii before she fell off the map, police and family have said.

Faleena Hopkins was last seen on Jan. 30 in Teton County, Wyoming, before she was tracked to several parts of the country. More than two seeks since she was reported missing, the search for her whereabouts – or confirmation of her safety – has expanded to include officials from several state and local agencies.

Hopkins was previously known for her steamy tomes and a prior attempt to trademark the word "cocky" in connection with her books about the "Cocker Brothers." But that changed when news broke that Hopkins had not been seen or heard from since Jan. 30.

The 52-year-old was reported missing after she had last been seen in the Jackson, Wyoming, area.


Lt. Russ Ruschill of the Jackson Police Department told Fox News Digital that "a member of her family" reported her missing and "There is some concern by her family members that she’s in danger."

Jackson Police detectives used video cameras to track Hopkins to the Jackson Airport, where she boarded an evening flight to Utah's Salt Lake City International Airport on Jan. 30, Ruschill said. At some point before leaving Jackson, Hopkins allegedly purchased a new cellphone, which came with a new number. 

Investigators notified local police, who then confirmed she had arrived at the airport. 

Two weeks later, investigators pinged Hopkins’ new cellphone to the Hawaiian island of Kauai on Feb. 14, Ruschill told Fox News Digital on Thursday. Hawaiian authorities are now involved with the search.

Ruschill noted that police are currently grappling with "a two-week window" during which they don’t know Hopkins’ movements.

Ruschill noted that police cannot confirm that Hopkins is with the cellphone but said the device was turned off after investigators tried to leave a message.

"I’d say it is reasonable whomever has Ms. Hopkins (sic) phone did not want to speak to us," he said. "We can’t say it is Ms. Hopkins, but it is her phone."


Hopkins, whom police said is originally from the Seattle area, is described as being about 5-foot-7 and 135 pounds. The blonde-haired, green-eyed author has tattoos, including "Follow All Instincts" on her right wrist, a hummingbird on her right ankle, a lion’s head on her left shoulder and an infinity sign on her left wrist, police said. 

Authorities are asking anyone with information related to her whereabouts to call the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation at 307-777-7181 or the Jackson Police Department at 307-733-1430.

Just three days before she disappeared, Hopkins was arrested after she allegedly fled from officers who were approaching her vehicle, which was parked in a remote section of Grand Teton National Park. 

According to the National Park Service, Hopkins was initially issued a ticket for driving a "non-oversnow vehicle on an oversnow route" after her car got stuck and needed to be removed with the help of a snowplow. 

She and the police parted ways, but officers tried to stop her shortly thereafter when she was parked "in the highway at Jackson Lake Junction, inside Grand Teton National Park," officials said.

"The officer initiated his patrol vehicle lights, and the woman fled in her vehicle. She began to drive at a high rate of speed" of over 75 mph and up to 90 mph, officials said.

She allegedly drove 24 miles before pulling over after authorities unleashed spike strips along the roadway to puncture her tires.


Court records show Hopkins was charged with fleeing or attempting to elude police officers, stopping or parking upon the roadway, operating a vehicle in excess of the posted speed limit, failing to comply with a traffic control device and operating a vehicle without due care.

She was representing herself in the case and was due to appear in court via Zoom on Feb. 28.

But a woman who identifies herself as Hopkins’ sister wrote on Facebook that Hopkins was alone and did not realize the man approaching her – who was driving a truck – was a law enforcement officer. She later learned he was a park ranger.

"EVERYONE WHO KNOWS FALEENA knows that the idea of her running from the police is ludicrous," the woman, who goes by the name Shann Maureen, wrote. "At the time, she was already in crisis mode and she did NOT recognize this person as law enforcement."

The woman went on to write that her sister decided to drive until she found a public area where she felt safe.

"Upon exiting the park, there were two (clearly marked) police cruisers and she pulled over," she went on. "She was not running FROM them… she was running TO them."

The woman added: "I hope this info serves to help you all make a bit more sense of this story. Everything we know about who Faleena is just doesn’t jive with the idea of her running from police. She has no criminal record, zero history of any type of substance abuse, no DUI’s, no abuse of alcohol, etc."

Hokpins' sister did not respond to Fox News Digital's message seeking comment.

One of the most recent photographs of Hopkins, if not the latest image of her, shows the woman leaving the local detention center on Jan. 30, police said.

In the image, captured from town of Jackson surveillance cameras, shows Hopkins wearing a hat, a sweater and long pants and holding what appears to be a piece of paper as she walks along the sidewalk outside the building.

Ruschill told Fox News Digital the department was providing regular updates to Hopkins’ family as the search for Hopkins remains "active."

To voluntarily go missing is not a crime in itself, he explained, but "the person being a voluntary missing adult who may be in a vulnerable condition is something we would pay attention to." 


"We started this because of the information we had from her family that she may be in distress and because it was very – apparently very unlike her to get into a pursuit with law enforcement in the manner that she did," he went on. "And it's not normal."

Ruschill added, "We want law enforcement to locate her. We want her family to locate her and make sure that she’s safe."