ALBANY, Ga. (KPEL News) - A man wanted for the statutory rape of a child in North Carolina faked his own death in a "kayaking accident" in Louisiana before being arrested in Georgia.

The well-traveled fugitive, Melvin Phillip Emde (41), was reported missing on August 7, after a kayaking accident. The accident was reported by his son after he allegedly went overboard and drowned during an excursion in the Mississippi River in Hahnville, Louisiana.

Get our free mobile app

"The St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office has search efforts underway to locate Melvin Phillip Emde, a forty-one-year-old white male from Talihina, OK," the St. Charles Parish Sheriff's Office posted on Facebook at the time. "Melvin Emde was reported missing by a family member after he was observed going overboard while kayaking in the Mississippi River near Matis Road in Hahnville, LA just after midnight on August 7, 2023."

“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,” said Sheriff Greg Champagne in a recent post.

Emde was wearing an ankle monitor as a condition of bail, according to the Sheriff's Office. "Through investigation," the office said in a news release, "detectives learned earlier on the day of the reported drowning, Emde visited Walmart in Boutte and purchased two prepaid phones."

Over a month later, Emde was arrested fleeing from the scene of a motorcycle crash in south Georgia.

On Sunday, September 17, the Georgia State Highway Patrol officer attempted to stop a motorcycle for not having a license plate, according to the St. Charles Parish Sheriff's Office. The motorcyclist fled from the Highway Patrol, but ultimately crashed.

Although he attempted to flee on foot, he was taken into custody in Georgia. The driver, Emde, gave Georgia law enforcement a false name, but a fingerprint check revealed his identity. He was sent to the Dougherty County Jail in Albany, Georgia, where he is being held until he is transferred to Brunswick County, North Carolina, for trial.

“Now it’s time for Mr. Emde to face the music for his charges in North Carolina," Champagne said in his statement earlier this week.

Emde has a court appearance scheduled for October 3, according to court records.

Get our free mobile app

There are no plans to extradite Emde to Louisiana, and there are currently no pending charges for faking his death in the state.

The Top 8 Spots for Boudin in Acadiana