Feds charge Schrenker in plane crash
Chattahoochee, Fla - Federal authorities have charged an Indiana money manager with faking a distress call from the air and intentionally wrecking his plane.
U.S. Marshals spokesman Scott Wilson said the charges were filed against 38-year-old Marcus Schrenker Wednesday afternoon. He says Schrenker is expected to appear in a Florida court later this week.
Schrenker may also face fines for causing the Coast Guard to launch a search to save his life when it wasn't necessary. Schrenker was resting in a heavily guarded hospital room Wednesday.
Authorities tracked Schrenker to a campground in north Florida Tuesday night after a three-day run. They suspect he parachuted from his small plane in Alabama, then left it on autopilot to crash in Florida as part of a bid to stage his death amid mounting personal and professional problems.
Schrenker is currently being treated at a Florida hospital after being found in a tent suffering from self-inflicted wounds. A federal agent said Schrenker had lost a lot of blood and had said the word "die," which the agent took to mean that Schrenker was saying he wanted to die.
"We had a plan of how we were going to effect the arrest. But as we approached the campsite we were able to see inside the tent and noticed a large amount of blood on the outside of the tent and on articles of clothing, sleeping bag-type things. Then we did notice he was also in the tent and had some blood on his arms. At that time we administered first aid to him," said Frank Chiumento, US Marshal Service.
Investigators say they found a piece of paper where Schrenker had written a script of what to say when he radioed in his distress call.
Sunday night plane crash
The saga started Sunday night, when military jets intercepted the plane after authorities received a distress call that claimed Schrenker's windshield had blown in. The plane later crashed in a north Florida bayou after traveling 200 miles on autopilot, authorities said.
Schrenker's body was nowhere to be found in the wreckage, and authorities suspect he parachuted out of the plane in Alabama, where he had stashed a red motorcycle with saddlebags in a storage unit. By Monday, the motorcycle was gone and an owner at the unit said his clothes were left behind.
Schrenker, who already faces mounting debt, complaints that he unfairly cheated investors out of savings and a crumbling marriage, is looking at more trouble ahead. Authorities have said they may try to make him pay for the cost of the search and he also faces charges in Indiana that he acted as a financial manager with an expired license.
"We were happy to know that he is alive and safe ... but now we're going to make sure he's being held properly accountable for his actions," said Jeffrey Wehmueller, administrative chief deputy for Indiana's Hamilton County.