A former police chief in North Carolina apparently thought that he would be better off if authorities thought he was dead, but his plans were foiled and he ended up being found despite his best attempts to evade the law, according to law enforcement.
William Anthony Spivey was the police chief in the Columbus County town of Chadbourn.
He was initially arrested in April 2021 and faced 73 charges including “31 felony counts alter, steal, or destroy evidence,” “31 felony counts embezzlement by public official,” “4 felony counts trafficking opiates by possession,” “4 felony counts trafficking opiates/opioids by transportation,” “2 counts obtaining controlled substance by prescription misrepresentation” and “1 count obtaining controlled substance by fraud,” according to the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation.
He bonded out, according to WECT-TV in Wilmington, and this year he tried a different tack to erasing his past that did not involve showing up to court, authorities say.
On Feb. 21 he was reported missing after supposedly going fishing. Authorities found his car parked at a boat landing and found his boat in the Lumber River, but there was no sign of Spivey. Suicide rumors circulated.
Even divers couldn’t find him — but that’s because he wasn’t dead in the water, he was hiding out in an apartment in Loris, South Carolina.
Columbus County Sheriff’s Office investigators soon determined that the scene at the river had been staged.
“Deputies arrived on the scene, along with Sheriff’s Office Investigators and Special Operations Units, including the Man Tracking and Dive Units,” the sheriff’s office shared on Facebook.
“As the Sheriff’s Office began to search the area, investigators spoke to Spivey’s friends and family who were at the scene. Investigators began collecting evidence. Family members described the incident as a possible suicide.”
“Handwritten letters were collected at the scene, along with the boat, that also contained a .22 caliber rifle with a discharged round still in the rifle,” the sheriff’s office said. “All evidence was collected by Crime Scene Investigators and processed.
“Investigators quickly concluded that the evidence collected did not support a suicide scenario. However, with Spivey still missing, dive crews searched waters, and tracking teams searched the wooded areas for Spivey.”
On Wednesday, after Spivey failed to appear at court, warrants were issued for his arrest. For three days the search continued — until a tip came in about a potential sighting at the apartment complex in Loris.
When the Columbus County Sheriff’s Office and Horry County Patrol officers and detectives showed up on Thursday, Spivey bolted, they said — but authorities found him in the wooded area behind the apartments and arrested him.
“William Anthony Spivey currently has 40 outstanding warrants for Failure to Appear,” the sheriff’s office concluded its post. “Each warrant has a bond of $25,000.00 for a total bond of $1 million dollars.”