On 25 April 2017, the wife of Austin police officer 29-year-old Coleman Martin contacted the police reporting her husband missing and expressing her concerns that he was suicidal after she had received a message from him saying he was planning on taking his own life. His colleagues were deeply concerned for his welfare and a search began in the desperate hope they would not be too late.

When they began investigating his last known movements they discovered he had withdrawn hundreds of dollars from his bank account and purchased a raft, some rope, and some concrete blocks, only adding to their concern. The truth behind their colleague’s actions, however, turned out to be the opposite of what they were expecting.


Austin Police Officer Coleman Martin

Coleman Martin had left his home on 25 April, telling his wife he needs some space to ‘clear his head’ and sent her a photograph of a handwritten note later on in the day which said he intended to drown himself in a lake near the US-Mexico border, ABC News reports. He had been stopped in his car near Uvalde in Texas by a state trooper that evening telling him he was going on vacation. Martin did not appear to be distressed and there was no reason for the trooper to be concerned and he was let on his way.

When his vehicle was found abandoned on the morning of the 26 April near Lake Amistad, the suicide note he had sent his wife a picture of was in the car along with his wallet and the box for the inflatable raft he had purchased the previous day. The inflatable raft itself was found at the side of the lake with Martin’s date of birth, his wife’s initials and a date of death, 25 April 2017, scribbled on the side. There were also scrape marks on the ground suggesting the concrete blocks he had purchased may have been pushed over the side.

Lake Amistad in Texas

Lake Amistad in Texas

Just as police officers were losing hope, they were contacted by a woman, who has not been identified, telling them that she had received an email from Martin stating his plan to fake his own death had worked and he was in Mexico. He told her he had abandoned his car and rode a bike around 8 miles to a convenience store where he got a taxi to cross the US-Mexico border. Police were able to confirm Martin had called a taxi from the convenience store in Del Rio in Texas just before 11 pm on 25 April 2017.

Police also discovered Martin had purchased a tablet computer with Wi-Fi capability which seemed a strange item to buy if the intention was suicide. Police were able to trace the IP address that sent the unidentified women the email and confirm it was sent from Mexico. Coleman Martin was located alive and well at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and arrested on 3 May 2017 having just got off a flight from Columbia. Why Coleman Martin had gone to Columbia is currently unknown.

“He was trying to scam the system. His friends on the department and all of the officers are very disappointed with his actions.”

In Texas, making a false report or alarm is a Class A Misdemeanour offence which the Inquisitr reports Martin has now been charged with. Investigations are still ongoing but this is a charge which could result in prison time, leaving Coleman Martin in a difficult position being a serving police officer.

Officially termed ‘pseudocide’, faking your own death is not something many attempt to pull off. One of the most known cases who did, however, is that of British ‘Canoe Man’ John Darwin who in 2002 went out to sea in Hartlepool, England in his canoe and supposedly never returned. When his canoe washed up without him he was presumed dead with no body ever found despite extensive searches. His wife was widowed and his sons lost a father but the truth behind his disappearance was as shocking as it was unbelievable.

John Darwin and his wife Anne had planned for John to fake his own death by making it look like he had been lost at sea in a tragic canoe accident. For the five years John Darwin was missing he was, in fact, living firstly in a bedsit next door to the family home he shared with his wife which he accessed through a crawl space hollowed out in the wall and hidden behind furniture, and then abroad. John Darwin was in hiding from the rest of the world, including their two sons who believed he was dead.

John and Anne Darwin

John and Anne Darwin

The elaborate scam was in order for the couple to get hold of John’s life insurance. Two years after his ‘disappearance’, the Darwin’s considered moving to Panama with both John and Anne spending a great deal of time there. In 2007, John returned to the UK and walked into a police station in London claiming he had amnesia and didn’t know where he had been for the last five years. Their scam was soon unravelled by police and the Darwin’s were arrested on charges of fraud. A photograph emerged that had been taken of John and Anne while they were in Panama viewing properties proving that both were fully aware of the fraud they were carrying out. John and Anne Darwin were convicted in 2008 and sentenced to six years each in prison.

The reasons why Coleman Martin decided to try and fake his own death have not been commented on but others who have tried similar actions have often done so  “to avoid jail or get away with a crime; others want to escape debt, a stalker, or a burdensome relationship.” according to forensic psychologist Dr. Katherine Ramsland. It is an elaborate and deceitful scam and one which leaves family and friends behind grieving for their loved one not knowing that all the time they are alive and well and living a different life.