A man facing allegations of sex with a minor faked his kayaking death in Louisiana last month and led authorities on a traffic pursuit in Georgia before he crashed and was arrested over the weekend, authorities said.
Melvin Phillip Emde, 41, of Talihina, Oklahoma, was taken into custody Sunday after he led a Georgia State Highway Patrol officer on a pursuit and crashed the motorcycle he was riding, the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office said.
The office said in a statement that Emde was being tracked by authorities after he allegedly faked his drowning while kayaking in in the Mississippi River in Hahnville, Louisiana, on Aug. 7.
His son reported him missing, the office said.
Authorities were suspicious that Emde may have faked his death because he was due in court in Brunswick County, North Carolina, as part of a case in which he faced charges of indecent liberties with a child and statutory rape of a child, the sheriff's office said.
The suspect was wearing an ankle monitor, ordered as a condition of his release on bail, it said. It's unclear what happened to the monitor.
Authorities, including the U.S. Marshals Service, learned that Emde purchased two prepaid phones in Boutte, Louisiana, which they tracked to learn his location, it said.
However, Emde used one of the phones only very briefly and ultimately stopped using it altogether, the sheriff's office said.
About 3:30 a.m. Sunday, a man on a motorcycle without license plates fled from a highway patrol officer in Georgia only to crash, the office said.
The suspect tried to get away on foot but was apprehended in Tift County, Georgia, it said.
Though he gave a false name, authorities determined through fingerprinting the suspect was Emde, the sheriff's office said.
“Now it’s time for Mr. Emde to face the music for his charges in North Carolina,” St. Charles Parish Sheriff Greg Champagne said in the statement.
It was unclear where he was being held Tuesday night.
The Tift County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately respond to a request for more information.
It's not clear if Emde has obtained counsel in the North Carolina case. Officials at the state's Office of Indigent Services did not immediately respond to a request for comment.