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Police: US officer faked own death, may have fled country

Houston Chronicle logo Houston Chronicle 30/04/2017 Brett Barrouquere
Coleman Martin © Austin Police Department Coleman Martin

An Austin Police officer who went missing after signing a suicide note may have faked his own death and fled the country, officials say.

Coleman Martin, 29, was under "emotional distress" when his wife called 911 on April 25 and reported that he was suicidal, Austin police say.

Investigators with the Amistad National Recreation Area told KTBC-TV that they recovered Martin's vehicle near the Amistad Reservoir on April 26.

Along with the keys, officers found Martin's wallet with no U.S. currency, a few personal items, and and an empty box for an inflatable raft. Martin's passport was not found within the vehicle.

A search didn't turn up Martin's remains, but investigators found an inflatable raft on shore a few miles from Martin's car.

During the investigation, detectives found that Martin's email account had been accessed about five hours after he sent the suicide note to his wife. The IP address which accessed the email account was in Mexico.

A woman in what investigators called a "close relationship" with Martin said she had evidence that Martin was alive and that the entire event was an effort to stage his own death.

In an email to the woman, detectives said, Martin described who he intentionally staged the scene with his vehicle by the Amistad Reservoir and rode a bike about 8 miles to a convenience store.

Surveillance footage from a gas station in Del Rio of Martin using the store clerk's cell phone to call a taxi.

Based on the new developments, Austin Police charged Martin with false alarm or report, a Class A Misdemeanor. Anyone with information about Martin's whereabouts may call the Austin Police Department at (512) 974-5250 or 911.

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