Texas police officer faked his death and fled to Mexico

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Police in Texas believe that Coleman Martin, an officer with the Austin Police Department, staged his death and is alive in Mexico, officials said Friday.

The 29-year-old is now facing a Class A misdemeanor charge of "false report," according to a police department statement.

And to add intrigue to the bizarre story, a woman with whom the married man had a close relationship, is also part of the investigation.

According to Friday's statement from the Austin Police Department, "evidence was uncovered to lead investigators to believe that the missing officer took means to stage his own death. It is believed at this time he is not deceased and has fled to Mexico."

When Martin initially went missing, police described him as an officer in "emotional distress," based on interview with his wife.

According to a police affidavit released Friday, Martin's wife called police on Tuesday, April 25, and reported that he was suicidal. She told officers that he left their residence around 10 a.m., saying he needed time "clear his head." Then around 10:15 a.m., she said, he texted her a photo of a handwritten note that said he was going to commit suicide and drown himself in a lake near the Mexican border.

Police discovered that that Martin withdrew $300 from the couple's joint bank account around 11 a.m. that morning and purchased gas 15 minutes later. He then bought a raft at a sporting goods store in Austin, got $50 cash back then got food at a Wendy's at 3:50 p.m. A transaction showed that he also purchased rope and concrete clocks from a Home Depot store, according to the affidavit.

Martin and his vehicle were then entered into the state and national computer databases for law enforcement to be on the lookout for him. The Texas Department of Public Safety said Martin was stopped by a trooper near Uvalde, Texas, around 6 p.m. and that he told the trooper he was heading to Mexico for a vacation.

Around 7 a.m. on April 26, law enforcement with the Amistad National Recreation Area reported that Martin's vehicle was found near the lake, according to the affidavit. A "suicide note," the same one Martin texted to his wife was found on the seat of his vehicle.

A raft was found on the shore a few miles from where Martin's vehicle was parked. Police also found remnants of a concrete block and scrapes on the raft that indicated that a block had been pushed over the side. Investigators then searched the lake for Martin's body.

Investigators soon discovered that Martin had a close relationship with a woman other than his wife. On April 27, they interviewed the woman and she gave evidence that Martin was indeed alive and the entire incident was an attempt to fake his death. In fact, the woman showed investigators an email that Martin sent her after the alleged suicide.

ABC News' Benjamin Stein contributed to this report.

Related Topics