Cop killer was suspect in fiancee's disappearance

September 17, 2012 1:47:33 PM PDT
The man who killed a Montgomery County police officer before killing himself was the prime suspect in the disappearance of his fiancee in 1999.

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That man has been identified as 44-year-old Andrew Charles Thomas.

Sources told Action News that Thomas was the prime suspect in the disappearance of Maria Procopio, of South Philadelphia, who vanished in 1999 after leaving her job at QVC in West Chester. Thomas was Procopio's fiancee at the time.

Officer Bradley Fox, 34, succumbed to his injures after being shot in the head responding to a hit-and-run crash on Thursday evening, D.A. Risa Vetri Ferman said.

It all began around 5:16 p.m. when officers from the Plymouth Township Police Department were investigating a three-car crash at 1215 East Ridge Pike in the Conshohocken section of Plymouth Township.

At 5:42 PM, while conducting traffic control at the accident scene, Ferman said the officers saw a silver, 2006 Infiniti SUV speeding past stopped traffic in the wrong lane.

Investigators say Thomas had stolen that SUV and was the driver at the time.

Officer Fox, and backup, began to follow the SUV from Ridge Pike onto southbound Conshohocken Road, Ferman said. While traveling on Conshohocken Road, the Infiniti struck a white Chrysler 300 Sedan and fled the scene.

Ferman went on to say that, upon arrival at the location of the hit and run, officers were informed by another motorist that the striking vehicle drove onto Ernest Station Road.

Officer Fox followed the path of the striking vehicle, Ferman said, and found it abandoned on Ernest Station Road. Within minutes, Officer Fox and his K-9 partner Nick began a foot pursuit and radioed for backup. Officer Fox and his K-9 partner pursued the suspect into an industrial area alongside the Schuylkill River Trail.

According to the D.A., at some point after that, Thomas ambushed Officer Fox and his K-9 by firing four shots from a hidden, elevated position.

Responding officers found the body of Officer Fox on the grass between the Schuylkill River trail and the train tracks above the trail, with an apparent gunshot wound to the head.

Multiple officers began a search and soon found Thomas dead with two gunshot wounds to the chest. His death was ruled a suicide.

Meanwhile more information is being released about his connection to the disappearance of his 35-year-old fianc?e in 1999.

Procopio's body was never found but her car was later discovered in Bridgeport. Police believe Thomas was the man seen on surveillance video using Procopio's bank card shortly after her disappearance.

Thomas was never formally charged in the case.

As more details surface about the alleged cop-killer, Officer Fox's comrades are still trying to grasp the loss of one of their own.

"He was a patriot," said Sgt. Thomas Longo.

There was nothing but adoration for Fox, who survived two tours of duty in Iraq including an IED bombing.

"He makes it out of there and he comes here and no one expects it to happen. It's always in the back of your mind what could happen and it did," said Sgt. Longo.

Officer Fox was a family man who leaves behind a 5-month-old daughter and his wife who was expecting their second child.

Fox who would have turned 35 on Friday is the first Plymouth Township officer ever to be killed in the line of duty.

"It's the hardest thing I've had to do in over 25 years of police work said," said Sgt. Longo.

A fund has been set up for Officer Fox's family and donations can be made to : Fox Children's Fund C/O Continental Bank 661 W. Germantown Pike Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462


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