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A Missing Kayaker in Georgia Was Found Alive. Now, He’s Accused of Faking His Death to Evade Rape Charges.

Missing Kayaker Accused of Faking Death to Avoid Rape Charges
Source: St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office; Unsplash

Man faked his own death to avoid rape charges in another state, police said.

Sep. 23 2023, Published 12:14 p.m. ET

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A kayaker reported missing has been located and arrested in Georgia and police believe he faked his own death in an attempt to evade rape charges pending in another state, according to authorities.

On Aug. 7, the son of 41-year-old Melvin Emde reported him missing after he allegedly went overboard and drowned while kayaking in the Mississippi River in Hahnville, Louisiana, according to the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office.

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The St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office learned the next day that Emde was supposed to be in court on the same day he was reported missing.

According to authorities, Emde had pending charges of indecent liberties with a child and statutory rape of a child by an adult in North Carolina.

Sheriff Greg Champagne said, “We immediately became quite suspicious that this may have been a faked accidental drowning and death in order for Mr. Emde to escape charges in Brunswick County, North Carolina. However, we could not publicly expose our suspicions for fear of tipping him off.”

During their investigation, officials learned Emde was wearing an ankle monitor and he visited a Walmart in Louisiana where he purchased two prepaid phones. Investigators worked with law enforcement in North Carolina and the U.S. Marshals Service to track the phones, authorities said.

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Around 3:30 a.m. on Sept. 17, a Georgia State Highway Patrol officer tried stopping a motorcycle for not having a license plate.

However, the motorcycle fled and ultimately crashed. The driver then attempted to flee on foot, but was taken into custody, officials said. The driver gave police the wrong name, but once fingerprinted they determined he was Melvin Emde.

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Champagne said, “Now it’s time for Mr. Emde to face the music for his charges in North Carolina.”

The investigation is ongoing and anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Joshua Deroche with the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office at (985) 783-6807, (985) 783-1135, or


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