LULING, La. (TCD) — A man was arrested in Georgia after he allegedly pretended to die in a drowning accident on the Mississippi River in order to avoid charges in North Carolina.
On Aug. 7, 41-year-old Melvin Emde’s son reported him missing to the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office after the son reportedly saw Emde “going overboard and drowning while kayaking.” St. Charles Parish officials searched for Emde using a drone, cadaver dog, and other methods in the area where he supposedly got into the water.
One day after Emde was reported missing, officials learned he was charged in Brunswick County, North Carolina, with indecent liberties with a child and statutory rape of a child by an adult. He was due in court that day.
St. Charles Parish Sheriff Greg Champagne said investigators “immediately became quite suspicious that his may have been a faked accidental drowning and death in order for Mr. Emde to escape charges in Brunswick County, North Carolina.”
Champagne added officials did not make those suspicions public because it would tip Emde off.
The Sheriff’s Office said Emde was required to wear an ankle monitor as part of a bail agreement. The same day as the alleged boating incident, Emde reportedly bought two prepaid phones from a nearby Walmart. Investigators, including U.S. Marshals, managed to track the phones and said he used one of them intermittently. Then, he reportedly stopped using them altogether.
In the early hours of Sept. 17, a Georgia State Highway Patrol officer tried to conduct a traffic stop on a motorcycle without a license plate, but the driver fled and later crashed. The driver ran but was caught and taken into custody. The driver reportedly provided the officer with a fake name, but fingerprints proved it was actually Emde.
Champagne said in the statement, “Now it’s time for Mr. Emde to face the music for his charges in North Carolina.”