EAST MILTON, Fla., Jan. 12 (UPI) -- The pilot of a plane that crashed in a swampy area near East Milton, Fla., was trying to fake his own death, authorities said.
Marcus Schrenker, whose financial management business was being investigated, allegedly put his Piper PA-46 on automatic pilot and then bailed out before it went down Sunday night, investigators told CNN. Authorities said Schrenker radioed air traffic controllers that his windshield had imploded and he was bleeding heavily as a result of cuts from broken glass.
Military jets dispatched to intercept the aircraft in flight reported the plane's door was open and the cockpit dark, CNN reported.
The plane was en route from Anderson, Ind., to Destin, Fla., CNN said. The manager of the airport where Schrenker took off said there were no passengers on board with him.
Schrenker, 38, allegedly checked into a hotel in Alabama under an assumed name before fleeing into a wooded area, the Santa Rose County Sheriff's Office said.
Citing public documents, CNN said Schrenker is president of Heritage Wealth Management, based in Indianapolis, which shares an address with Heritage Insurance Services and Icon Wealth Management. All three operations are being investigated for possible securities violations, Jim Gavin, a spokesman for the Indiana secretary of state, said.
Police in Childersburg, Ala., called the Santa Rosa County Sheriff's Office just before 2:30 a.m. Monday with a report that a man they identified as Schrenker had approached a Childersburg police officer and told him he had been in a canoeing accident. Since the Childersburg police had not learned yet of the plane crash, they took Schrenker to a hotel.
Once they learned of the crash, police went to the hotel to apprehend Schrenker but he was gone. Hotel surveillance tape shows Schrenker leaving the premises, CNN said.