Ex-police chief from North Carolina thought to have drowned arrested in Horry County, South Carolina
Former top cop ‘tried to fake his own death to avoid 88 felony charges for stealing guns, drugs and money from evidence room’
Former Chadbourn, North Carolina, police chief William Spivey, 36, was arrested in South Carolina after allegedly trying to fake his own death
Spivey faces 88 felony charges for allegedly embezzling money, destroying evidence and stealing drugs and guns from evidence room
Spivey, due in court on Monday, missed hearing – he was reported missing after failing to return from a fishing trip
His boat was found abandoned on Lumber River with a suicide note and a discharged round next to a rifle, inside
Three days later, police acting on a tip went to his aunt’s home in Loris, South Carolina, but he fled into the woods
The search team ultimately arrested the fugitive after he was found hiding underwater in a creek
Spivey has 40 outstanding warrants for failure to appear with a total bound amount of $1million
He’s held at the Horry County Jail awaiting extradition back to North Carolina
A fugitive former North Carolina police chief who faces nearly 90 felony charges stemming from thefts of guns and cash from an evidence room as well as drug trafficking, has been found hiding underwater in a creek after authorities say he tried to fake his own death while free on bond.
William Spivey, 36, who formerly headed the Chadbourn Police Department, was apprehended on Thursday near Loris, South Carolina – just four days after he failed to return from a fishing trip on the Lumber river in North Carolina and was reported missing.
Spivey, who is accused of embezzlement of state property, destroying evidence, obstruction of justice, and trafficking in opium, among a number of other things, was scheduled to appear in court this week but failed to appear as scheduled.
Instead, on the day Spivey was due to appear in court, police found his boat abandoned on the Lumber River in South Carolina.
Authorities found his boat abandoned on the river and retrieved a suicide note that he had purportedly wrote. A .22 caliber rifle with a discharged round was located inside the vessel. However, investigators quickly came to the conclusion that the evidence they recovered ‘did not support a suicide scenario,’ according to the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office.
Three days later, the Horry County Police Department received a tip, indicating that Spivey was hiding out at his aunt’s apartment outside of Loris in South Carolina.
When officers closed in on the fugitive, police say the former chief fled into nearby woods, where he was ultimately found hiding in a creek.
Spivey tried to flee but was caught and arrested after a physical struggle just before 1 a.m. on Thursday.
Spivey’s aunt, Brenda Rowele, told WECT that she did not know her nephew had skipped a court appearance and was on the lam.
She claimed that Spivey called her last Sunday, saying he was having marital problems and was suicidal. Rowele said she urged her nephew not to kill himself and invited him to stay in her home for a couple of nights.
Defending her nephew, Rowele suggested he was being set up by Columbus County law enforcement: ‘I was told different stories, but I do know and I will state to the fact that he is not no drug addict like they say he is. Columbus County cops is doing him wrong,’ Rowele told the station.
During his time as Chadbourn’s top cop, Spivey allegedly stole money, drugs and five firearms from the evidence room, and embezzled $8,000 from a family.
In April 2021, Spivey was relieved of duty following a misconduct investigation by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations.
In June, Spivey was accused of embezzling $8,000 meant for a family who lost a son to leukemia.
Spivey was relieved of duty in the spring of 2021 following a misconduct investigation by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations.
He was ultimately indicted on 88 felony charges, accusing him of stealing thousands of dollars in cash, various drugs and five firearms from the Chadbourn Police Department’s evidence room, which he then allegedly sold to friends and family
After spending two months in jail, Spivey was released after posting $500,000 bond.
Last month, Spivey was re-arrested for allegedly stealing catalytic converters from an auto repair shop in Tabor City, where he was employed as a mechanic.
The District Attorney’s Office sought to keep Spivey jailed pending trial, arguing that he poses a threat to the community, but, yet again, he was released.
Spivey was due back in court earlier this month but failed to appear, claiming that he had COVID.
The hearing was rescheduled for Monday but Spivey again, did not appear in court. His attorney told a judge that his client was missing and may have committed suicide.
After Spivey’s boat was found on the Lumber River, dive crews scoured the waters but did not find his body. K-9 dogs and sonar equipment were used to try and locate the fugitive.
‘As investigators collected video from surveillance systems and conducted interviews, it became even more apparent that the scene on the river was staged,’ officials stated.
Following his dramatic arrest near Loris on Thursday, Spivey, who has 40 outstanding warrants for failure to appear with a total bound amount of $1million, was sent to the Horry County Jail to await extradition back to North Carolina.