‘Missing’ North Carolina woman now held on $500,000 bond after jail surrender

The Charlotte ObserverJuly 10, 2014 

The North Carolina woman who was the target of a land and water search over the weekend is now being held on $500,000 bond in a Mecklenburg County, N.C., jail.

Amy Lynette Robinson, 42, who also goes by the name Amy Arrington, surrendered to police Wednesday night after failing to appear in court Monday in Charlotte on forgery and identity theft charges.

Robinson is facing charges of forgery of instrument, uttering forged instrument, four counts of obtain property under false pretense and three counts of identity theft, according to jail records. All the charges are felonies.

Her husband, Paul David Arrington, surrendered to North Myrtle Beach authorities about 4 p.m. Thursday, said North Myrtle Beach spokesman Pat Dowling.

He is charged with criminal conspiracy and making a false complaint to a law enforcement officer in connection with telling authorities Saturday that he thought she had drowned, Dowling said. Arrington is being held on $5,500 bond, but Dowling said he was expected to post bond and be released from jail late Thursday.

Authorities said he lied as part of a plot to help his wife avoid her scheduled court appearance in Mecklenburg County, Dowling said.

Authorities have not said how they determined that she did not drown, nor have they said where she was between the time she was reported missing and her surrender in Charlotte on Wednesday.

North Myrtle Beach police have also issued an arrest warrant for Robinson charging her with criminal conspiracy, but it is unclear when she may be returned to the city to face the charge.

Robinson also missed an N.C. court date in May, citing hospitalization. Her attorney, James Cyrus, asked the judge Thursday that a “reasonable bond be set given that she’s here.”

Superior Court Judge Yvonne Mims Evans set Robinson’s bond at $500,000 and said should she make bond, she must wear an electronic monitor.

“You are not to leave Gaston County,” Evans said.

Standing next to her attorney in a maroon jump suit, Robinson replied, “Yes ma’am.”

A trial date has not been set. Assistant District Attorney Erik Lindahl requested time to confer with witnesses who he said are coming from all over.

Robinson’s criminal record dates to 1992 with charges mostly in Union, Gaston and Mecklenburg counties in North Carolina. Among the charges: credit card theft; larceny; and financial card fraud.

Robinson served more than two years in prison for identity theft and fraud, according to public records. She was released in 2008.

Her mother-in-law, Shirley Arrington, told the Observer on Tuesday she was “floored” by the news reports. She saw her son, Paul, on Monday and said he is “still very upset.” Shirley Arrington could not be reached Wednesday, after news broke that the disappearance allegedly had been staged.

On Wednesday, officials were still calculating how much was spent on the search for her on the beach and in the water, which involved at least four agencies including North Myrtle Beach crews and the U.S. Coast Guard.

Speaking to The Charlotte Observer on Tuesday, Paul Arrington’s brother, Todd, said he hasn’t talked to his brother much in the last year. Todd Arrington said his brother and Robinson met through an online dating service.

“She came to my wedding, and I’ve met her a few times, hung out a little bit, but I really didn’t know anything about her,” Todd Arrington said.

Regarding Robinson’s criminal past and pending charges, Todd Arrington said, “I don’t think Paul really had a clue.”

Court records show Robinson was previously married. The couple divorced in November.

North Myrtle Beach authorities also are compiling how much they spent in resources searching for Robinson on Saturday and subsequent days, Dowling said.

“I am not sure at this time what route, if any, the city would have for recouping the expenditure,” Dowling said.

Robinson was reported missing by her husband at 4:45 p.m. Saturday from the beach near Sea Mountain Highway, according to a police report released Monday.

According to the North Myrtle Beach police report, Paul Arrington told a lifeguard that he was on the beach with her when she got up from their beach towel and tapped him on the leg and said she was going into the ocean. Arrington said he told his wife he would join her in the water in a minute, he watched her walk into waist deep water and then he turned over.

About 15-20 minutes later, Arrington said he got up and saw a woman in the water, who he thought was his wife, but it was not, according to the report. He said he then reported Robinson missing to the lifeguard.

Lifeguards broadcast a description of the woman over the radio channel and they began to search for her, according to the report. The lifeguards contacted police and they began a water search that included officers from Horry County, North Myrtle Beach, the state Department of Natural Resources and the Coast Guard.

Officers picked up Arrington and drove him around to search for his wife, according to the report. Other officers searched the water on watercraft.

Contact TONYA ROOT at 444-1723 or on Twitter @tonyaroot.

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