Why A Travelling Salesman In His 60s Faked His Death After Nearly 4 Decades Of A Happy Family Life

Alex Cooper and his wife Margaret had a regular life. The couple wed in 1952, and together, they shared five children. They raised their family in Cranbrook, British Columbia, and by all accounts, everything seemed ordinary. There were no big disagreements between the two and no major marital or financial issues. As reported by Medium, Alex worked as a sales agent, and it was common for him to leave for business trips. On April 3, 1987, however, Alex went on another work trip, but he never returned home.

The morning after Alex left, one of his children, Liela, was out with her husband in a town near the Cooper home when she spotted her father's car parked by a bridge. Liela went over to the vehicle to greet her father but there was no one in the car. She checked the surrounding areas and looked under the bridge to see if her father was fishing, but there was no sign of him. That was when she called her mother to find out where her father was.

The search for Alex Cooper

When Margaret talked to her daughter Liela, she told her that Alex left the day prior for a business trip, and she hadn't been in contact with him since then. She wasn't overly concerned about not being able to talk to her husband as she figured he was preoccupied with work. However, learning that his car was found abandoned alarmed her. Per Medium, she immediately called hospitals in the area to check whether her husband had been admitted, but he wasn't listed anywhere. She then decided that it was time to call the authorities.

Police went to the location where Alex's car was found. Inside, they found fishing gear and clothes. They inspected in and around the vehicle but didn't find evidence of foul play, per Criminally Listed. Search teams were sent to find the 65-year-old man, and his family grew increasingly concerned as he suffered from a heart ailment. His family thought that Alex may have had a medical emergency and fell into the water, or he may have been mugged as he had a habit of keeping plenty of cash with him that he kept bundled in his pocket at all times. Another possibility was that Alex simply left on his own accord. Still, it was highly unlikely as he didn't have family problems or financial issues that he could be running away from.

His disappearance was featured on Unsolved Mysteries

In May 1991, authorities were able to track Alex Cooper in Toronto, where they discovered he had been working as a phone solicitor and sold frozen beef. As reported by the North Bay Nugget, his landlady reported him missing after he didn't return from a trip for four days. Authorities inspected the room he was renting and found a photo of Cooper, but they never saw the man. The landlady later said that Cooper returned when the police were gone and left again that day.

Four years after Cooper disappeared, his case was featured on the show "Unsolved Mysteries." His family hoped that someone could identify him and point to his whereabouts. His daughter Liela was interviewed for the show and stated that she just wanted an explanation about why he decided to leave the family despite no apparent issues (via The Windsor Star). After the show aired, a man contacted authorities saying that he knew where Cooper was. According to Medium, authorities finally caught up to Cooper on January 10, 1992.

Why did Alex Cooper disappear?

When Alex Cooper was finally found, he revealed the reason for his disappearance. It wasn't because he no longer loved his family. In fact, while he was away, he felt homesick and wanted to contact his family but couldn't make himself do so. He left because he was running away from a past that his family was unaware of. As reported by The Province, Alex Cooper wasn't his real name. He was Albine Raesene Arseneault, and he allegedly stole money in Montreal in the 1940s. He fled, changed his name to Alex Cooper, and met and married his wife shortly after.

In 1987, Cooper attempted to get his pension but was asked to provide a birth certificate. He couldn't give one due to his fake name, and he figured that sooner or later, his secret would be revealed. Instead of telling his family the truth, he decided to disappear. Cooper said that being away from his family made him extremely sad, but he didn't have the courage to tell them that he wasn't who they thought he was. "I just couldn't tell my family I was not Alex Cooper, as stupid as it sounds," he told The Province. His wife Margaret said that Alex seemed like he was happy to be back with them and was regretful of the decision that he made.