Man arrested in Tift Co. after faking drowning death in Louisiana to avoid child sex charges, sheriff says

Authorities from several states were involved in the investigation.
Published: Sep. 18, 2023 at 6:42 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

TIFT COUNTY, Ga. (WALB) - A kayaker authorities say faked his death while in Louisiana was taken into custody in Tift County, Georgia Sunday morning.

Melvin Emde, 41, of Talihina, Oklahoma, was originally reported missing on Aug. 7 by his son. He was initially thought to have gone overboard while kayaking in the Mississippi River in Hahnville, Louisiana, according to Louisiana authorities.

The day after he was reported missing, authorities say they found that Emde had criminal charges of indecent liberties with a child and statutory rape of a child by an adult out of North Carolina and was due in court.

As Louisiana and North Carolina authorities continued contact, North Carolina detectives discovered that Emde was wearing an ankle monitor.

An investigation also revealed that he bought two prepaid phones the day that he reportedly drowned.

Several agencies, including the U.S. Marshals Service, tried to track the phones in Oklahoma until it was discovered that phones were no longer being used.

On Sunday, Sept. 17, a Georgia State Highway Patrol officer tried to stop a motorcyclist for not having a license plate when the driver fled, crashed and was later arrested and identified as Emde after giving a fake name, per Louisiana authorities.

Greg Champagne, the sheriff of the parish where Emde reportedly drowned was quoted as saying, “Now it’s time for Mr. Emde to face the music for his charges in North Carolina.”

Melvin Emde was arrested after Sheriff Greg Champagne says he faked his own drowning to evade...
Melvin Emde was arrested after Sheriff Greg Champagne says he faked his own drowning to evade pending child rape charges.(SCPSO)