Missing Pilot Who “Faked Death” Is in Custody

January 14, 2009

(ChattahBox) — Indiana financial manager and pilot Marcus Schrenker’s made for TV plan to fake his death to escape a load of trouble has failed. Shrenker, who went missing after crashing his plane in Florida has been arrested in Gadsden County. It is believed he bailed out of his small plane over Alabama, left it on auto pilot to crash in Florida, then faked his death. Shrenker apparently speed off on a motorcycle after parachuting from the plane to make his get away.

He then made an apparently false distress call, telling air traffic controllers that his windshield had imploded after his plane experienced turbulence. He also said he was bleeding profusely.

Military jets were sent to intercept the plane after Schrenker stopped reporting. Flying alongside the aircraft, which was apparently on autopilot, they noted the door was open and the cockpit empty.

The jets then followed Schrenker’s plane until it crashed in a bayou surrounded by homes. The wreckage showed no signs of blood or a blown windshield.

Police were able to find the missing pilot three days later after he sent an email to a family member from the KOA campground office. According to Lieutenant Jim Corder, Shrenker was arrested Tuesday night at the KOA Campground in Chattahoochee, Fla.  Schrenker apparently tried to commit suicide right before he was caught, and is at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital because of several slices on his wrist. Gadsden County sherriff’s say they will take Schrenker to jail or a federal holding cell Wednesday.

Schrenker had acquired great wealth through his investment advice, managing pension funds worth millions. But before the crash, Schrenker’s life was spiraling downward: His wife filed for divorce, and his financial management companies were under investigation. In the weeks before the crash, Schrenker had lost a $500,000 judgment against one of his companies when he missed a court hearing. Investigators examining his businesses for possible securities violations had recently searched his home and office. Clients of the Indiana financial manager say he had charged them exorbitant, unfair fees, costing some investors more than $250,000.

All that’s left now for Schrenker is to face the music for his alleged crimes and to cut a book deal that will likely air soon as a Lifetime movie.


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