Search for Gastonia woman, who faked drowning, tops $50,000 - FOX Carolina 21

Search for Gastonia woman, who faked drowning, tops $50,000

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Authorities in North Myrtle Beach are still crunching the final numbers, but so far the search for Amy Arrington stands at more than $50,000.

Arrington's disappearance sparked a large-scale search after her husband, Paul David Arrington, reported her missing at the beach July 5th. Federal, state, and local agencies were involved in the search. 

The $50,000 tab includes $42,000 from the US Coast Guard and even a $200 hotel room used by Paul Arrington during the search.

The couple could be asked to reimburse all the funds.

Authorities now believe the Arringtons conspired to fake Amy's drowning to avoid her habitual felon trial in Charlotte.

Arrington, 42, turned herself into authorities in Charlotte Thursday. She's charged with three counts of identity theft, four counts of obtaining property by false pretense, forgery of instrument and uttering a forged instrument, according to court records.

She was booked in the Mecklenburg County Jail under the name Amy Robinson and placed under a $500,000 bond. If released, officials say she will be required to wear an electronic monitoring device and will not be allowed outside of Gaston County.

Her husband has been charged with filing a false police report.

According to police, Arrington's husband reported her missing to the lifeguard tower near Sea Mountain Highway just before 5 p.m. Saturday.

The police report states that Paul told police he was laying on the beach when Amy told him she was going into the water. He told her he would be there in a minute and watched her walk into the water about waist deep before he laid back down.

About 15 to 20 minutes later, Paul began to approach a woman on the beach who he thought was his wife. Paul then realized it was not her and reported her missing to a lifeguard, according to the report.

Paul told police that his wife was an average swimmer and had two alcoholic beverages throughout the day.

As emergency crews searched a popular beach along the Carolina coast for Arrington, a Mecklenburg County judge issued an order for her arrest.

She was scheduled to appear in court on Monday for a habitual felon trial and never showed. Arrington has charges for identity theft and forgery among other things. She already  has convictions for similar charges in Mecklenburg, Wake, Union and Gaston Counties.

On Wednesday morning, police in North Myrtle Beach said Arrington did not drown in the ocean and had faked the whole thing.

"It has been determined that she and her husband, Paul David Arrington, conspired for her to disappear to avoid having to show up in court in North Carolina to answer to charges filed against her in that state," police said.

Prosecutors in Charlotte said they didn't realize Arrington was missing until Monday morning. WBTV has learned that out-of-state witnesses were in court Monday morning ready to testify against Arrington.

During the five day search, investigators maintained that finding her safe and sound was their number one priority.

It wasn't the first time Arrington missed a court date.

Prosecutors tell WBTV her attorney provided an ER note when she failed to appear in court in May.

WBTV has also learned that Arrington has prior felony convictions. Her criminal record spans two decades in various counties.

Her most recent charges of identity theft and forgery still need to be handled in the court of law.

Monday evening, WBTV went to the Lowell address listed on Arrington's missing persons report. The man who lives in the home said he moved in five months ago, but that police came to their door on Saturday night.

"We went to the door and it was the Lowell police. And they were asking if Amy lived here. Any time police show up at 10:30 at night, it's always nerve racking," he said.

He said he had only met Arrington twice, but that her mail and probation officer still came to his address.

"It adds a little bit of intrigue, but you definitely don't want to police showing up at your door," he said.

WBTV reached out to Arrington's attorney, as well as her husband and have yet to hear back.

Copyright 2014 WBTV. All rights reserved.

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