Former police chief accused of staging suicide arrested
Authorities have arrested a former North Carolina police chief who is charged with more than 70 felony crimes and accused of staging a suicide and fleeing to neighboring South Carolina.
In a statement on Thursday, the Horry County Police Department (HCPD) said that William Anthony Spivey, former police chief of the Chadbourn Police Department, was relieved of his duties last spring due to a misconduct investigation by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations.
The HCPD said Spivey was reported missing early last week after failing to return home from a fishing trip on the Lumber River in Columbus County, N.C.
Spivey’s absence led local and state agencies to conduct extensive water searches and start an investigation into his disappearance, according to the statement.
The HCPD said authorities located Spivey at an apartment outside of Loris, S.C., where he allegedly attempted to flee to a nearby wooded area before being detained.
In a previous statement, the Columbus County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) said that Spivey’s family members “described the incident as a possible suicide,” referring to Spivey’s disappearance from North Carolina before authorities located and arrested him.
“Handwritten letters were collected at the scene [where Spivey was last seen], along with the boat, that also contained a .22 caliber rifle with a discharged round still in the rifle. All evidence was collected by Crime Scene Investigators and processed,” the CCSO said in a statement.
Investigators added that the evidence they collected at the scene “did not support a suicide scenario.”
“As investigators collected video from surveillance systems and conducted interviews, it became even more apparent that the scene on the river was staged,” the CCSO said.
Spivey, 36, is facing numerous felony charges, including evidence mishandling, drug trafficking and embezzling.
According to Columbus County Detention Center records, Spivey is currently being held at the jail with no attorney assigned to him.
The CCSO also said Spivey has 40 outstanding warrants for failure to appear and each warrant has a bond of $25,000, bringing his total bond to $1 million.