Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/01/13/fake_death_attempt/

Cash-strapped US businessman jumps from light aircraft

Unconvincing attempt to fake own death

By Lester Haines

Posted in Bootnotes, 13th January 2009 11:58 GMT

Authorities suspect a US businessman suffering financial woes is "alive and well" after an unconvincing attempt to fake his own death in a light aircraft crash.

Financial advisor Marcus Schrenker, 38, left Anderson, Indiana, on Sunday in a single-engined Piper en route for Florida, the BBC reports. Over Alabama, he radioed in a distress call claiming the aircraft's windscreen had "imploded" and that he was bleeding.

Two military aircraft were scrambled to assist, but found the plane "flying on autopilot, with its door open and no sign of the pilot". It subsequently crashed in a swamp near Milton, Florida, where investigators discovered "no signs of blood or a smashed windshield".

The local Santa Rosa County sheriff's office not unreasonably suggested Schrenker "appeared to have intentionally abandoned his plane".

Further evidence of the missing man's fate came when someone with "Mr Shrenker's identification apparently checked into a hotel in Alabama after the crash, telling police he had been in a canoeing accident, before being seen running away into some nearby woods".

Shrenker is seemingly as successful a financial advisor as he is a would-be corpse. The BBC notes his "financial management companies are reportedly under investigation and he owes $500,000 to an insurance company". ®

Bootnote

If it's any consolation to Shrenker, the "tragic death in Florida" ruse didn't work for Labour MP John Stonehouse either, as older readers will recall.