N.C. man pleads guilty to helping wife disappear in S.C.

FLORENCE, S.C. (AP) — A North Carolina man has admitted he tried to help his wife flee criminal charges by faking her disappearance and reporting her missing along the South Carolina coast.

U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles says 46-year-old Paul Arrington and 44-year-old Amy Arrington each pleaded guilty in Florence on Wednesday to conspiracy to communicate a false distress message.

Authorities say Paul Arrington reported his wife missing in North Myrtle Beach in July 2014, telling authorities he saw her on the beach and then couldn’t find her later. The possible drowning report sparked a three-day manhunt with the Coast Guard and had rescuers combing the area.

Officials say the couple hatched the plan so Amy Arrington could avoid charges in North Carolina including identity theft. Authorities say she fled to Florida but ultimately surrendered.

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