Kevin Cooper was born Richard Goodman on January 8, 1958 near Pittsburgh, PA. At the age of two months his mother placed him in an orphanage and at six months he was adopted by Melvin and Esther Cooper, who renamed him Kevin Cooper. As a child, Kevin Cooper was subject to physical abuse and ran away from home numerous times. As an adolescent he was sent to juvenile custody numerous times.
The following is a straightforward account of some of Cooper’s criminal history and movements leading up to the time that he was arrested for the Ryen/Hughes murders.
In 1982, Kevin Cooper was arrested in Pennsylvania for burglary and theft. In order to avoid a prison sentence, he pretended to be mentally incompetent. In August 1982, after being declared unfit to stand trial, he was sent to Mayview State Hospital, a medium security psychiatric facility near Pittsburgh. In October, he stole a drivers license belonging to fellow inmate David Trautman and escaped. After his escape, he was accused of the kidnap and rape of a 17 year old girl, allegations for which, however, he was never charged. Cooper made his way to California.
In April 1983, Cooper was arrested in Los Angeles for burglary. Giving the stolen driver’s license to the police, he was charged and pleaded guilty under the assumed identity of David Trautman.
In May 1983, Cooper, still under the identity of Trautman, Cooper was transferred from Los Angeles to the California Institution for Men in Chino, a state run prison facility.
On Thursday, June 2nd 1983 at 3:45PM, Kevin Cooper escaped from the CIM by walking through a hole in a fence. A prison staff lieutenant on his way to CIM spotted Cooper walking in his prisoner’s uniform on Edison Street, a half mile from the CIM. The officer tried to pursue but lost sight of Cooper. Minutes after his escape, CIM officials were informed of Cooper’s real identity and of the Pennsylvania warrant for his arrest.
A total of 25 personnel, consisting of prison guards, sheriff’s deputies, and Chino Police searched unsuccessfully for Cooper until 10PM that day. They quit, assuming Cooper had fled the area. No additional searches were conducted.
Having no knowledge of the surrounding area and no money, Cooper found his way to a vacant house in a residential area. He spent two days hiding in the house before hitchhiking to Mexico.
On Saturday, June 4th 1983, Abloro Knori also escaped from the CIM. He was the 13th escapee from CIM that year. Additionally, Michael Martinez, a 17 year old boy, escaped from Boys Republic, a juvenile facility a half mile from the Ryen house.
The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department did not notify the community of any of the escapes.
Late Saturday night, June 4th 1983, is the date and approximate time of the Chino Hills Murders.
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