Elizabeth’s Story

Elizabeth Ann Pfeifer Elizabeth Ann Pfeifer was last seen in the early morning hours of April 12, 1986. She left a party in Katy, Texas, with a man she didn’t know. Although she went to the party with several friends, she chose to leave with a stranger.

Hopgood’s Statement

Investigators have relied heavily upon James Wesley Hopgood’s statement. (Hopgood is the man she left the party with.) We are certain Hopgood took Elizabeth to his garage apartment on Telephone Road, in Southeast Houston. We know she spent time with Hopgood, partying and having sex. Hopgood alleges that sometime around 3 a.m. on April 12, he returned to Katy with my sister.

According to Hopgood, Elizabeth got out of Hopgood’s vehicle at a gas station on Mason Road. Hopgood said Elizabeth seemed familiar with another person at the gas station, a man driving a brown pickup truck. Elizabeth, Hopgood said, got into the brown pickup and left with the man.

Hopgood was interviewed in the early weeks after Elizabeth went missing, but because there was no evidence of a crime, only his statement was taken. I insisted that police search his vehicle and home, but police refused, stating “without evidence, there is no crime. Without a crime, we have no right to search Hopgood’s belongings.”

Police let a dangerous man run free, as you will see later in this story. It’s ironic how things play out, because had police investigated my sister’s case (probable homicide) properly in 1986, Hopgood wouldn’t have inflicted more violence upon innocent people.

The Problem

The problem with this account is twofold: Hopgood’s timeframes are incorrect when compared to those given by witnesses at the party, and Captain Dickerson says in 1986, the area on Mason Road was undeveloped and gas stations were not open that late. Elizabeth and her group of friends arrived at the party some time between midnight and 1 a.m., April 12, 1986. Elizabeth was seen leaving with Hopgood approximately an hour after the group arrived. If Hopgood indeed brought Elizabeth back to Katy from his apartment on Telephone Road in Houston, there is no way he and my sister could have made the journey to his apartment, had sex and did drugs, and then made the journey back by 3 a.m. Hopgood has been interviewed multiple times by the initial investigators and by Captain Dickerson. Hopgood either “doesn’t remember” or sticks with the initial statement he gave to police.

Hopgood’s in prison until 2035 for unrelated crimes. He is, however, a violent and dangerous man, and charged with four counts of aggravated sexual assault. Contrary to what was originally told to me by the first investigative group, Hopgood’s never taken a polygraph. In 2009, he refused investigators’ requests to take one.

My Feelings

It doesn’t add up. I know, in my heart of hearts, what happened. I feel that Hopgood murdered my sister, but I have no proof. Because I have no proof, and because the investigators have no proof, someone got away with murder.

I also do not want my sister’s lifestyle or family issues to cloud this case. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter whether Elizabeth was drunk, stoned or sober when she left with James Hopgood. What matters is a crime was committed. Every woman deserves to come home – and I feel certain my sister wanted to come home. She relied upon the goodness of a stranger, and that person took advantage of my sister. Her body was probably dumped somewhere, like a piece of garbage.

No one deserves that fate – no one.

Conclusion

It’s frustrating, for all parties, when law enforcement cannot solve a case. Without the cooperation of our witnesses and a suspect, we cannot close this case. I appreciate the information given by the witnesses that have come forward. When I receive news about my sister, it’s a breath of fresh air, even when the information is painful. You who are brave and forthcoming – thank you.

But we need more. My guess is that more people know what happened and more people know the truth. Please be proactive if you know anything about Elizabeth’s case — it goes without saying that I’d love to see the case close while my aging mother is still alive. We also need to know where Elizabeth’s body is – please help our family. Elizabeth deserves a proper burial, and my mother and I want to see the case resolved.

If you have any information on Elizabeth’s case, please contact me via email/telephone, or contact Gay Dickerson at the Katy Police Department (281-391-4848). All tips and leads are welcome.

Comments

  1. I think your comment about your sister’s lifestyle was profound. The victim’s history should not determine her access to justice. Justice is blind for a reason.
    Bailey recently posted..Chuck It Balls

    • Thanks, Bailey. There are some, including the initial investigative force, who felt that Elizabeth was a nuisance. It’s funny how people want to sensationalize a case, and completely miss the facts! It was perfectly clear to me, in 1986, that all avenues were not properly investigated. Very, very frustrating, and I (obviously) was fighting a battle I could never win. All in the name of helping my sister – and putting away a dangerous person where he could not hurt anyone else. Too much, too late and many others have suffered because of a shoddy police investigation (initially).

      Losing my sister is one of the most painful experiences in my life; knowing that Hopgood went on to destroy others’ lives, too, is incomprehensible.

      I express my sympathy to others who have been negatively affected by Hopgood. I forgive you, James – completely. Just tell me where my sister’s remains are. Let us bury Elizabeth and put this case to rest.

  2. You are so right. It does not matter how your sister lived her life, what matters is that it was her life and if it was taken from her then someone should pay for it.
    Regardless of drug use or anything else, she is still someones sister, daughter or friend. She deserves justice.
    Carrie recently posted..Meals For Lazy Evenings

    • Thank you, Carrie. 🙂 My family and I appreciate your support and kind words on Elizabeth’s behalf. We have to speak for her, so her voice is NOT lost. She was very much loved by everyone who knew her. Doesn’t matter about her addictions/habits. We LOVE her!! 🙂

      • all yall shut the f**** up about this shit u will never find out what happend the man is locked up so leave him the FUCK alone

        • Never say never – we’ve got an extremely hard-working investigative team on my sister’s case.

          Have to ask, whoever you are: What pushed your buttons about Elizabeth’s story? 🙂 This seems to really get to you.

          Hopgood is in prison, yes. However, he has a release date in the future, and could possibly be paroled in approximately ten years. Do you want him around your children? As it stands, he’s the prime (and only) suspect in this case, and the (probable) killer of my sister. Elizabeth did not deserve what happened when she asked to go home…he should have taken her home instead of taking her life.

          Very interesting comment – and thanks for popping in.

  3. Laura, I pray your family and Elizabeth can finally receive the peace that you deserve. These cases are all too common. Our system has got to find a way to get these people off of our streets forever. I understand the complications with evidence in cases like yours, but all too often these cycles of violence continue for far too many years, and with far too many victims until they eventually happen again.
    Angie recently posted..40 Businesses You Can Start From Home

    • I’m all for our rights – but come on, deal with what’s in front on you. Take action now, rather than years down the road. As I told Cpt Dickerson: the police take an oath and have an obligation to investigate crimes. Now that I know the full truth, it’s even more troubling how many people were affected by Hopgood. For many years, I thought it was only my sister. I feel for his other victims, his family – my heart and prayers go out to them, too. We’re in this together – this man touched so many lives, and committed crimes we cannot forget. I’ve got a blog post scheduled – you will be surprised at what I’ve remembered as the facts of my sister’s case unfolded.

  4. I so hope you find all the answers to your questions very soon. I have been thinking of you and your sister and family a lot since I started reading your blog. I couldn’t imagine not knowing what happened. As I told you before, I lost my brother when he was 22 and I was 12 but we all know what happened to him and who did it even if she has been walking free ever since.
    Clarissa recently posted..Hubby is a Genius-Definite Mood Booster!

    • I’ve been thinking about you, too. I’m so sorry about your brother, Clarissa. He was young, just like my sister. It’s such a shame. My thoughts and prayers and good wishes are coming your way. This is something you never get over. The pain’s always there – how a person can take another person’s life is beyond me. You can find peace and move on, but it still hurts.

  5. Wow. Just…wow.
    I’m sending good thoughts for peace and light. Here’s hoping you bust through the lousy system and find a resolution.

    • Thanks, Tori. I’m still peeved at the initial investigative team for not doing their jobs – but Captain Dickerson’s made up for so much. She works tirelessly on Elizabeth’s behalf, and my family appreciates everything the The City of Katy Police Department is doing to resolve this unsolved, SENSELESS case of homicide.

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