Early estimates top $50,000 in search for ‘missing’ N.C. woman in North Myrtle Beach

Early estimates top $50,000 spent by authorities in the search for a North Carolina woman falsely reported missing to avoid a court date, though the total cost is still being tallied by North Myrtle Beach officials.

Pat Dowling, spokesman for North Myrtle Beach, said the U.S. Coast Guard’s portion during the search for Amy Lynette Robinson cost $42,465.05. The largest portion of that sum was to fly the Air Station Savannah from the facility in Charleston - which cost $30,970.10.

North Myrtle Beach spent $8,192.88, according to preliminary numbers released Friday, which included a $190 hotel room for Paul Arrington on July 5 through the victims advocate program. The cost of 81 personnel involved in the search, including 59 lifeguards, is an estimated $4,102.57, Dowling said.

A charge for the two beach patrol trucks, seven patrol vehicles and two personal watercraft that was used is not yet determined.

Dowling said city officials are still collecting data and awaiting response from Horry County Fire Rescue and the S.C. Department of Natural Resources to determine a complete cost estimate. He said DNR provided a boat and three officers in the search.

Dowling said the city is not yet sure what route may be taken to recoup the cost of the search for Robinson, who also goes by Amy Arrington.

She was reported missing by her husband, Paul David Arrington, at 4:45 p.m. July 5 from the beach near Sea Mountain Highway, according to a police report released Monday.

Robinson, 42, is being held on $500,000 bond in a Mecklenburg County, N.C., jail on 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.

Police say she was erroneously reported missing July 5 to avoid a scheduled court appearance in North Carolina.

Paul Arrington, 45, was booked and released in North Myrtle Beach on Thursday on $5,500 bond. He is charged with criminal conspiracy and making a false complaint to a law enforcement officer in connection with telling authorities July 5 that he thought his wife had drowned.

North Myrtle Beach police have a warrant for Robinson charging her with criminal conspiracy, but it is unclear when she may return to the city to face the charge.

According to the North Myrtle Beach police report, 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.

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.