OAN’s Elizabeth Volberding
11:40 AM – Wednesday, September 20, 2023
Melvin Philip Emde, 41, from Talihina, Oklahoma, attempted to fake his own death in a phony “missing” kayaking incident after being accused of child rape in North Carolina.
The day that Emde went “missing,” he was scheduled to appear in court for charges related to “indecent liberties with a child and statutory rape of a child.”
Emde was first reported missing by his son on August 7th and officials were told that he drowned in the Mississippi River in Hahnville, Louisiana, during a kayaking and fishing trip. According to the report, he “went overboard and drowned around midnight.”
Therefore, the fraudulent accident prompted authorities to launch a search and rescue operation that lasted over the span of two days. The mission involved divers, sonar technology, and a rescue boat, however, authorities never discovered Emde’s body.
“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,” St Charles Parish Sheriff Greg Champagne said. “However, we could not publicly expose our suspicions for fear of tipping him off.”
“So, we just kind of left it as a missing person’s report, another person who just drowned in the river, and his body didn’t appear,” Champagne added. “It sounds like a pretty good concoction that they came up with, but like most of those, they don’t work.”
On Sunday, authorities finally located Emde while he was riding a motorcycle in Georgia. A local Highway Patrol officer had noticed that he was riding without a license plate at approximately 3:30 a.m., so he turned his siren on to pull him over.
In order to escape the officer who was trailing him, Emde then began speeding but eventually got into an accident and crashed. He fled the scene and then even attempted to run away on foot, however, authorities quickly captured him.
Emde provided police officers with a false name, according to Champagne, but fingerprint scans were able to later identify him.
After authorities learned the allegations against Emde, they reached out to detectives in the state who said that Emde had been wearing an ankle monitor while out on bail. The detectives also found that he had purchased two prepaid cell phones at a Walmart store in Boutte, Louisiana.
United States Marshals also assisted with tracking and locating the cell phones.
As a result, Emde now faces charges in Louisiana for wasting police officers’ time in addition to his previous child rape allegations in North Carolina.
“Basically, filing false reports, which we refer to as injuring public record in Louisiana…is a felony,” explained Champagne. “Obviously, he’s got more serious things to deal with. Now it’s time for Mr. Emde to face the music for his charges in North Carolina.”
Emde is likely to be extradited to North Carolina and will later return to Louisiana for pending felony charges regarding his child rape allegations, as well as attempts to file a false report by giving police the wrong name.
Ultimately, Champagne stated on Tuesday that it is probable that charges would also be brought against Emde’s son and added that the investigation is still underway.
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