Escapee’s story has bad ending

Published 3:34 pm Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Well, the saga of the Indiana investment manager whose trail of escape from personal and financial problems went through central Alabama has come to an end.

For those that haven’t followed the story, Marcus Schrenker, 38, left his plane on autopilot to crash in Florida while he jumped out and made off on a motorcycle he had previously stashed in Harpersville. Schrenker’s staged plane crash was an attempt to evade responsibility for divorce, a state investigation of his business, and angry investors that accuse him of stealing potentially millions in savings they entrusted to him.

Schrenker was finally apprehended in a Florida campground Wednesday minutes after he had slashed his wrist in an apparent suicide attempt. Investigators said Schrenker had stockpiled supplies, along with the motorcycle, that led them to believe he planned to be on the run for some time. So, it isn’t clear yet why Schrenker decided to try to kill himself.

This story was interesting—and, at times, almost humorous—to follow because Schrenker picked Harpersville, just one county north of Clanton, as the site to begin the second part of his odyssey.

But after the state Schrenker was found in Wednesday, there’s nothing funny about his story. U.S. Marshals apprehended Schrenker while he was semi-conscious.

“Just as we were administering first aid to him we were giving him assurances that he would be OK, and he seemed to mutter some words that he was resistant to that,” Frank Chiumento, an assistant chief with the U.S. Marshals in Florida, said on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” “He muttered ‘die’ at one time as if he didn’t want the first aid that we were rendering to him.”

In addition to the problems he had before, Schrenker will now likely face charges of making a false distress call and for recklessly letting his plane crash, both federal offenses. And he will forever live with the infamy his ill-fated escape has produced.