January 13th, 2009
08:48 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Pilot on the Run

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/US/01/13/pilot.assets/art.plane.wreckage.wkrg.jpg caption="The six-seat plane crashed Sunday night in East Milton, Florida, with no one aboard, authorities say."]
Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

UPDATE: Just moments ago, the Gadsen County Sheriff's Department in Florida told CNN they've found a man they believe to be Marcus Schrenker. He was found with marks on his body consistent with a suicidal act. They say he has been taken to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital and will be brought to Gadsden county jail or a federal detention center.

There are new details tonight on the case of  missing pilot, Marcus Schrenker.  Authorities say he had quite a plan to disappear.

They believe he took off from Indiana but parachuted out of his plane near Birmingham, Alabama and landed near a hotel that was a short walk to a rented storage facility where he stored a motorcycle to use for his get-away.

Investigators say when they got to the location the motorcycle was gone and damp clothes were left on the ground.

If you recall, Schrenker ran into cops Sunday in Alabama and claimed he was in a canoe incident. They helped him get that hotel room, where they say he checked in under a fake name and paid the tab with cash. When they heard about the plane crash they went back to the hotel and Schrenker had vanished.

Schrenker's plane traveled farther south without him into the Florida panhandle where it crashed into a swamp.

Meanwhile, back in Indiana, authorities have filed felony charges and issued a warrant for his arrest. They say Schrenker defrauded investors through his three financial firms.

One of Schrenker's friends, Tom Britt, said he got an e-mail from him. The e-mail said Schrenker would never abandon a plane and let it crash.

Britt said the end of the e-mail was the most disturbing part.
It read "by the time you read this I'll be gone".
"I interpreted that as a suicide note," said Britt.

We'll have the latest on the search for the missing pilot.

We'll also have breaking developments on the war in Gaza. Israeli troops appear to be tightening their grip on Gaza City. And, we'll have the raw politics of Hillary Clinton's confirmation hearing for the Secretary of State post.

All that and more tonight on AC360°.
Join us at 10pm E.T.

Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. William of Iowa

    This fellow loses his wife, loses money, crashes the plane and loses his mind. Maybe not in that order. Sounds like a good country song with made for TV movie to follow.

    January 13, 2009 at 10:56 pm |
  2. Steve Foster

    I think he expected the plane to fly out to sea before crashing, thus covering up the fact that he had jumped.

    January 13, 2009 at 10:32 pm |
  3. Sarah in FL

    Hi....the plane crashed not far from where I live. It is surreal seeing one's county on national news. I live not far from Milton, FL. It has been the buzz on the local media here for the past couple days.

    Annie Kate, The segment was called" What were they thinking?"

    January 13, 2009 at 9:56 pm |
  4. Annie Kate

    This story would be a good one for the segment you all used to do – What were they thinking of? I don't understand how the man thought he would get away with it all; and why he continues on the run when he could hear on the news that the jig is up – the cops have figured him out and unless he comes on in and cooperates its just going to get worse.

    I just wish he had chosen someplace besides Birmingham to get off his plane.....it seems like this city is only in the news when bad things happen!!

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    January 13, 2009 at 9:16 pm |