The husband of a North Carolina woman, who was reported missing Saturday in North Myrtle Beach, is facing charges that he lied to police about her reported drowning in a plot for her to avoid going to court on forgery charges in their home state, authorities said.
Charges are pending against Paul David Arrington, 45, of Lowell, N.C., in filing a false police report about his wife’s disappearance from the beach in North Myrtle Beach, said Pat Dowling, city spokesman.
Officials determined that Amy Lynette Arrington, 42, did not drown in the ocean on Saturday, but she and Paul Arrington conspired for her to disappear to avoid a scheduled court appearance in North Carolina, Dowling said.
It was unclear how officers determined that Amy Arrington did not drown, and authorities have not said where she is.
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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 Coast Guard.
Arrington was slated to appear in a Mecklenburg County court on charges including identity theft and forgery.
Her 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.
According to a search of court records by The Charlotte Observer, Amy Arrington served more than two years in prison for identity theft and fraud. She was released in 2008.
Her mother-in-law, Shirley Arrington, told the Observer on Tuesday that 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.
Attempts to reach Paul Arrington this week were unsuccessful.
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 Amy Arrington 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 Amy Arrington’s criminal past and pending charges, Todd Arrington said, “I don’t think Paul really had a clue.”
Court records show Amy Arrington was previously married. The couple divorced in November.
Authorities also are compiling how much they spent in resources searching for Amy Arrington 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.
Amy Arrington 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.
In the North Myrtle Beach police report, Arrington’s husband 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’s husband said he told her 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’s husband 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 Amy Arrington 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 Paul Arrington and drove him around to search for his wife, according to the report. Other officers searched the water on watercraft for an undetermined amount of time.