Phillip Lloyd Ferguson takes own life after police confrontation
By Jennifer Jenks
A 62-year-old Harney County man died as a result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound last Wednesday, May 30, off Taylor Road about a quarter mile east of Highway 78 after fleeing from law enforcement officers as they contacted him regarding an investigation into a wanted fugitive out of Indiana.
According to a press release issued by the Oregon State Police (OSP) Phillip Lloyd Ferguson, known locally as Roy Vernon Cox, was confronted by Harney County Sheriff Dave Glerup and Sergeant Brian Needham, accompanied by a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) special agent, after the officers received a tip that a fugitive lived in the area. As the officers drove up a dirt road to a remote residence, they spotted a pickup driving in the opposite direction on a parallel dirt road separated by a fence. The officers knew Ferguson was armed when they saw a rifle hanging on a rack inside the pickup.
The vehicles stopped on opposite sides of the fence. The officers and Ferguson got out and briefly spoke to each other before the man got into the pickup to flee. Glerup and Needham, but not the FBI agent, fired at least one round each at the pickup as it fled the scene.
The officers drove upon the pickup that was stopped about a quarter mile away from the original contact spot. They found the man inside with a gunshot wound to his head and a rifle lying next to him on the pickup’s seat. Emergency medical responders were dispatched to the scene where Ferguson was pronounced deceased. An autopsy conducted June 1 by Oregon State Medical Examiner Dr. Karen Gunson confirmed the manner and cause of death was a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head by a small caliber firearm.
According to Special Agent Dave Crawford, supervisor of the Fort Wayne, Ind., office of the FBI, Ferguson was wanted for allegedly stealing $14.7 million in a commodities scam in Marion, Ind. There were 481 investors in the commodity pool, but Crawford could not confirm whether all 481 investors were victims of the scam. Their office had, however, identified more than 400 of them as victims.
Ferguson was featured on America’s Most Wanted three times in 2004 and 2005. Most of his victims, said the show’s website, were teachers, factory workers and farmers who couldn’t afford the lost money.
In June of 2000, the Commodities Futures Trading Commission began to investigate Ferguson and he fled the area.
Agents say Ferguson relocated to Golden, Colo., where he used the aliases William Allen Russell, Al Russell, Richard Gadius and Roy Vernon Cox.
In November of 2000, with authorities closing in on him again, Ferguson fled again, leaving his car, furniture and personal belongings behind. Authorities said that only $1 million of the money Ferguson was accused of stealing had been recovered.
According to a neighbor, Ferguson/Cox had lived on Taylor Road for about 10 years.