Authorities Believe Missing Woman Once Considered In 'Extreme Danger' Is Aiding And Abetting Her Fugitive Boyfriend

Cody Matthews is wanted by police for the murder of William Ryan Ray, who was shot to death Sunday afternoon near a neighborhood subdivision pool. 

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Authorities who once believed a Georgia woman was in “extreme danger” after being kidnapped by her boyfriend now believe she may be “assisting” him on the run.

The Butts County Sheriff’s Office re-classified its position on 21-year-old Autumn Keara Finlay in a social media post Monday. Finlay is believed to be on the run with Cody Matthews, who is wanted for murder and aggravated assault.

“The investigation has revealed that Autumn Keara Finlay, W/F is believed to be assisting Cody Bryce Matthews,” the sheriff’s office said. “We do not believe Autumn is in danger, but instead assisting Cody Matthews to avoid apprehension.”

The pair are considered “armed and dangerous.”

Matthews is wanted in connection with the shooting death of 30-year-old William Ryan Ray, according to local outlet The Clayton News-Daily. Ray was killed Sunday afternoon near the Jackson Glenn subdivision pool area and tennis courts.

Several children playing nearby reported hearing the gunshots.

Autumn Keara Finlay Cody Bryce Matthews

Early Monday morning, the Butts County Sheriff’s Office released a photo of Matthews and announced he was wanted for murder. At the time, they said they believed Finlay was in “extreme danger and possibly being held against her will.”

Investigators now believe she may be aiding her boyfriend. Its not clear what led them to alter their position.

Finlay is currently wanted for aiding and abetting a fugitive. 

After the announcement, Finlay’s mother, Denise Taylor, penned an emotional message on Facebook saying she only wanted her daughter home safely.

“NOONE KNOWS WHAT CODY SAID OR DID TO AUTUMN ALL WE KNOW IS SHE IS GONE,” she wrote.

She also said she's worried that Finlay had not contacted her and said it was extremely unlike her daughter.

“She knows she can talk To me about anything and everything I may not agree or like what she says but we will work it out that has been instilled in them since they were little so I KNOW SOMETHING IS 100% wrong,” she wrote.

Taylor referred to Matthews as her daughter’s boyfriend.

“DO I AGREE WITH HER CHOICE OF BOYFRIEND ABSOLUTELY NOT BUT HOW MANY OF YOU PARENTS HAVENT AGREED WITH SOMEONE YOUR CHILD DATED OR BETTER YET HOW ABOUT WHEN YOU WERE YOUNGER AND YOUR PARENTS DIDNT LIKE SOMEONE YOU DATED they will do and choose who we want and that is something we can not control however my daughter was raised with values and morals and has a head on her shoulders she would never go without contacting us family rule we have now not heard from her for over 24 hrs and she is a great mom loves her boys they are her whole world and she never goes without speaking to them so those saying stuff about her and my grandbabies quit,” she said.

Ray’s aunt, Deana Ray Kimbrel, also took to Facebook to express the family’s grief about the loss of her nephew.

“Ryan leaves behind a 10-year-old son, Kyle,” she wrote. “Please be in prayer for our family.”

Anyone with information about Finlay and Matthews’ whereabouts is urged to contact authorities.

 A cash reward is being offered for information in the case, although the amount was not specified by the sheriff’s office.

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