Real Name: David Freeman
Aliases: Ben Freeman
Wanted For: Murder
Missing Since: November 14, 1994
Details: David Freeman, a self-styled preacher, was an employee on Timothy Good's Pennsylvania dairy farm, hired in 1987. At the time, he was going by the name "Ben". A teenager named Gene Kennedy also lived on the farm at the time. Within months, Freeman and his wife Eliza had moved into the main house with Tim and Gene.
Tim was estranged from his family and apparently turned to Freeman for spiritual guidance. Soon, however, Freeman apparently began acting as if he owned the farm. Gene claimed that he would often be locked out of the main house. In one instance, Freeman tried to attack Gene when he tried to enter the house. Tim intervened, reminding him that Gene also lived there and was allowed to go into the house.
Within a year of Freeman's arrival, Tim stopped dairy farming and told neighbors that he sold the farm for $1 million. Tim later bought a much smaller dairy farm in West Virginia. Although Gene decided to stay in Pennsylvania, Freeman and his family moved with Tim to West Virginia. Oddly, Freeman was now calling himself "Dave". Within months, it appeared to neighbors that Freeman was taking control of the farm. It seemed as though he was the boss and Tim was the employee.
Freeman exploited Tim's religion and beliefs to make him a prisoner in the basement of his home while he and his family lived upstairs and spent all of his money. He soon had complete control over Tim's life. While Time lived in a small, dilapidated basement room, upstairs, the residence was lavishly furnished. There was a hot tub, three large-screen TVs, and a wet bar.
Their neighbors noticed that Tim was appearing less frequently outside of his home. Eventually, both him and Freeman dropped from sight. Over a year later in October of 1994, one of the neighbors noticed a taxi cab driving towards Tim's farm; Freeman and his family were inside. A tree had fallen along the road, preventing the cab from reaching the farmhouse. Some of the neighbors talked to Freeman, asking him about Tim's whereabouts. He claimed that he did not know where Tim was. Another neighbor later gave Freeman and his family a ride to Washington, D.C. He dropped them off at a service station along the beltway. This was the last time Freeman was seen.
A few weeks later, a chance intruder to the house found Good's decomposing remains in the house and no trace of Freeman a year after he was last seen. The intruder contacted the authorities; on November 14, 1994, they found his remains in the basement. Forensics would reveal that Good had been strangled and left behind after possibly confronting Freeman. Sealed air vents suggested that the Freemans were living upstairs for months after the murder. It is believed that the family left after they ran out of Tim's money.
Freeman's diaries described how he had manipulated Tim, allowing him and his family to live upstairs while Tim was forced into the basement. The diaries also described how Freeman controlled Tim's work schedule, eating arrangements, and overall life. Investigators believe that Freeman was trying to retrieve the diaries on the day that he was last seen. On February 15, 1996, Dave Freeman was officially charged with Tim's murder.
Disturbingly, authorities suspect that Freeman has committed additional murders in the past. Among the victims may have been two of his own children from a previous marriage.
Extra Notes: This segment ran for the first time on May 17, 1996.
Results: Captured. A caller provided a tip identifying Dave Freeman as William David Cooper, an auto mechanic. The caller noted that Cooper had actually ripped him off in some sort of a mechanic deal; he also gave information about Cooper's location. Law enforcement tracked him down to a house in Sterling, Virginia; they made the arrest on May 18, 1996, after he exited the house. Investigators now believe that his real name is Winston George Jelks. He pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and was sentenced to ten years in prison. He has since been released.