‘Missing’ Suspect Faked His Own Death To Escape Child-Sex Charges, Police Say

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Fiona McLoughlin Contributor
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Police arrested missing kayaker Melvin Emde in Tift County, Georgia, on Sunday after he allegedly tried to fake his death to avoid child-sex charges.

Emde’s son reported his father missing just past midnight on Aug. 7 after Emde allegedly went overboard and drowned while kayaking, according to a St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office news release.

Emde, 41, was kayaking in the Mississippi River near Hahnville, Louisiana, according to the news release.

Detectives learned the next day Emde had pending charges of Indecent Liberties with a Child and Statutory Rape of a Child in Brunswick County, North Carolina, and on that same day he was due in court, per the release.

“We immediately became quite suspicious that this may have been a faked accidental drowning and death in order for Mr. Emde to escape charges in Brunswick County, North Carolina. However, we could not publicly expose our suspicions for fear of tipping him off,” Sheriff Greg Champagne said. (RELATED: Woman Killed Lookalike In Effort To Fake Her Own Death, German Police Say).

A Georgia State Highway Patrol officer attempted to stop a motorcycle that didn’t have a license plate in Tift County on Sunday, Sept. 17 . After reportedly crashing, the driver attempted to flee on foot, but police took him into custody. The suspect attempted to give a false name, but fingerprints identified the man as Emde, per the release.

“Now it’s time for Mr. Emde to face the music for his charges in North Carolina,” Sheriff Champagne said.

It is reportedly likely Emde will be extradited to North Carolina. However, he will later return to Louisiana for pending felony charges, including filing a false report, according to USA Today.

Champagne says charges are likely to be filed against Emde’s son, according to the outlet.