An Austin, Texas police officer is accused of concocting an elaborate scheme to stage his death so he could flee to Mexico.
Coleman Martin’s plan unraveled when he told a woman about the faked suicide, police allege.
Now the married cop is facing a criminal charge; police did not believe the suicide scene, and they believed he was alive in Mexico, although he hasn’t been seen since, reports ABC 13. Martin has now been arrested at the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport:
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Martin’s Wife Called Police to Report the Officer Was Suicidal, Reports Say
The entire saga started to come to light when Martin’s wife dialed 911 and reported her husband was suicidal, according to The Houston Chronicle.
Police started searching for Martin after that call, and his wife “told police that family issues had fueled her husband’s depression,” reports The Dallas Morning News.
According to ABC 13, a police affidavit provides details of the bizarre saga. Martin’s wife “told officers that he left their residence around 10 a.m., saying he needed time ‘clear his head.’ Then around 10:15 a.m., she said, he texted her a photo of a handwritten note that said he was going to commit suicide and drown himself in a lake near the Mexican border,” reports ABC 13.
KXAN-TV reports that Martin “sent his wife a text message containing a photo of a handwritten note saying he was going to commit suicide and drown himself in a lake near the border of Mexico. In addition to the photo, Martin left a card at their house saying he needed some time to himself.”
2. Martin’s Email Account Was Accessed From a Mexican IP Address
Someone accessed Martin’s email account using an IP address that traces to Mexico about five hours after his wife’s 911 call, reports The Houston Chronicle.
Austin police said in a statement: “Evidence was uncovered to lead investigators to believe that the missing officer took means to stage his own death. It is believed at this time he is not deceased and has fled to Mexico.”
On his way south, Martin was stopped by a state trooper who “asked where he was headed. Martin told the trooper he was on his way to Mexico for a vacation. There was luggage in the pickup and no outward sign he was ‘in crisis,'” reports The Dallas Morning News.
The Austin Police Association wrote on Facebook that Martin should turn himself in.
“This is a very sad situation and I hope Officer Martin will turn himself in and face the charge against him. I also wish the best for his family and friends who have been hurt by Cole’s actions,” the Facebook statement said.
3. Martin Is Accused of Staging an Elaborate Death Scene at a Reservoir
Authorities accuse Martin of staging his death by creating an elaborate narrative that he had committed suicide. The Chronicle reports that his car was discovered near the Amistad Reservoir on April 26.
The Dallas Morning News reports that Martin purchased “a raft, concrete blocks and a rope” with a cash card.
The newspaper reports that authorities allege Martin wanted to make it look like he committed suicide. A suicide note was found on the seat of his pickup, with “the raft was found on the lake shore a few miles away,” reports the Morning News.
“Scrawled on the side of the raft was Martin’s name, his date of birth and supposed ‘date of death,’ April 25, 2017. Pieces of a cinder block were also in the raft, along with scrapes suggesting that a block had been pushed over the side. There was also a cross drawn in the mud using a stick,” the Dallas Morning News reported.
4. A Woman With Whom Martin Was Allegedly Close Told Police She Believed He Was Still Alive
Another woman complicates the strange saga even more.
According to KXAN-TV, Martin “had a close relationship with a female who was not his wife, detectives learned. At around 4:15 p.m. Thursday, she told police that Martin was alive and the entire disappearance was his attempt to stage his own death. She said Martin sent her an email stating his plan for a staged death had been successful.”
In the email, authorities allege, according to KXAN, “Martin described how he had intentionally staged the scene with his vehicle at Lake Amistad and then rode a bicycle for eight miles to a convenience store. He then threw his bicycle in a dumpster behind the store and took a taxi to a border crossing.”
5. Martin Has Been Hit With a Criminal Charge but Hasn’t Been Seen Since
Martin’s now accused of a crime.
The 29-year-old cop “is now facing a Class A misdemeanor charge of ‘false report,'” reports ABC 13.
A half dozen agencies had joined in a massive search for Martin before the faked death angle emerged, and the police association apologized that their time was wasted, reports KXAN-TV.
Fellow officers believe Martin tried to “scam” the system and are angry at him, according to the television station.