Perhaps we have all thought about how nice it would be to get out of debt or avoid a boring party by faking our own deaths, but, for obvious reasons, very few of us ever actually go through with it.
Well, these 7 people tried to fake their own deaths and actually almost got away with it:
1. John Darwin
In 2002, Darwin tried to outwit police not just once, but twice. The first time, Darwin actually faked his death quite successfully. He timed weather patterns and took his canoe out on a particularly rainy day. The police found his oar and his canoe and assumed Darwin had drowned in the rough water. Darwin’s debt was forgiven, his wife received a hefty insurance payout and Darwin went on living hidden in his own house for five years until he got sick of it and hatched another plan. One day he walked to a police station faking amnesia. That didn’t go over well and the whole scandal unfolded. Nice try, John.
2. Marcus Schrenker
In 2009, Schrenker thought faking an airplane crash and death was the best way to stay out of jail. On a flight course from Indiana to Florida, Schrenker called in a fake distress signal to air traffic controllers and jumped from the plane. He parachuted to an area where he left his hidden motorcycle and rode to Florida. There he hid in a campground for a few days until he was found and arrested. His plan may have worked if authorities actually believed he had died in the crash, but it was a very worthy effort, Marcus.
3. Bennie Wint
In 1989, Wint feigned drowning to avoid a supposed jail sentence. While on vacation in Florida with his fiance and daughter, he went for a swim and never came back. Wint’s body wasn’t found until when he was pulled over during a routine traffic stop 20 years later. When police couldn’t find any record of a William Sweet they took Wint in for questioning and he spilled the truth. Apparently, when Wint “drowned” he simply swam down the beach in knee-high water, got to shore and walked away. He hitchhiked to Alabama and made a new ife for himself with a new name, a new wife and a son. 20 years is a long time to lead a double life and Wint almost got away with it forever.
4. William Grothe
In 2009, Grothe staged his own murder and even claimed to be the murderer. One day, for no apparent reason, he abandoned his car in a Nashville park, left his belongings littered around the town and ran away. Later, he disguised his voice and called the police claiming to be his own killer, but the police weren’t fooled. They found him hiding in a motel in Montana a few weeks later. No one really knows why Grothe faked his own death, but his one-million dollar life insurance policy could have been the motivating factor. Too bad he never saw any of that money.
5. Harry Gordon
In 2000, Gordon faked a boat crash to escape involvement with the Russian mafia. He staged the boat so it appeared that he fell overboard, and then floated to shore in a rubber raft. He traveled to five different countries in five years, married another woman and went on a honeymoon. It was on his honeymoon that he ran into his brother who recognized him and turned him in. Gordon went to jail for 15 months where he wrote a best selling book about his experience and is now remarried to his second wife. I guess it didn’t turn out too bad for him.
6. Jenaro Jimenez Hernandez
In 2008 Hernandez was thought to have drowned at sea while spear fishing. Turns out he dumped his fishing gear, rode his bike 50 miles to the airport and ran away to South America. Hernandez lived in South America for 16 months before turning himself in and returning to his home in Spain. Police would have found him eventually, but it is probably a good thing Hernandez got bored and turned himself in.
7. Clay Daniels
In 2004 Daniels and his wife dug up the body of an elderly woman, dressed the body in Daniel’s tennis shoes and baseball cap, put the body in Daniel’s car and pushed it off a cliff. When the car didn’t catch fire like it was supposed to, Daniel’s climbed down the cliff and started a fire on the passenger seat of the car. They thought they had gotten away with it, but investigators were suspicious from the beginning and soon pieced the puzzle together. The couple is in jail now, so hopefully the experience was worth it for them.
These people prove the age old adage: think before you act. It would have served them all better to just accept the consequences of their actions, but to each his own. At least they made some pretty entertaining news stories while they were at it.