A disgraced former North Carolina police chief who has been charged with nearly 90 felony charges for stealing weapons, drugs and cash from an evidence room has been found hiding in a creek after authorities said he attempted to fake his own death while in free on bail.
William Spivey, 36, formerly head of the Chadbourne Police Department, was detained Thursday near Loris, South Carolina, four days after he failed to return from fishing on the Lamber River in North Carolina and was reported missing.
Spivey, who is accused of embezzling government property, destroying evidence, obstruction of justice and the opium trade, among other things, was due to appear in court this week but never showed up.
This is the moment police detained fugitive former police chief William Spivey, 36, after he was found hiding underwater in a creek in rural South Carolina early Thursday morning.
Spivey was arrested after allegedly faking his own death to avoid nearly 90 felony charges related to stealing money, guns and drugs.
On the day Spivey was due to appear in court, police found his boat abandoned on the Lumber River in South Carolina (pictured). A suicide note was found inside
Authorities found Spivey’s boat abandoned in the river and seized Spivey’s suicide note. Inside the ship was a 22-caliber rifle with an unloaded cartridge.
“Investigators quickly concluded that the evidence collected did not support a suicide scenario,” the District of Columbia Sheriff’s Office said.
Three days later, the Horry County Police Department received a tip indicating that Spivey was holed up in his aunt’s apartment outside of Loris.
Police say that as officers approached the fugitive, the former boss fled into the nearby woods, where he was eventually found hiding in a stream.
Divers search the river for the missing former police chief, Chadbourne, but cannot find him.
Brenda Rowell, Spivey’s aunt, said he stayed with her because he was suicidal.
Spivey attempted to flee but was caught and arrested after a physical struggle just before 1:00 a.m. Thursday.
Spivey’s aunt, Brenda Rowell, told WECT she didn’t know her nephew had missed his court appearance and gone on the run.
She claimed that Spivey called her last Sunday and told her that he was having trouble with fighting and that he was suicidal.
Spivey is charged with 88 criminal offenses, including embezzlement of government property, destruction of evidence, obstruction of justice and opium trafficking.
Rowell said she urged her nephew not to kill himself and invited him to stay at her house for a couple of nights.
The woman came to the defense of the disgraced ex-cop, suggesting that he was framed by the law enforcement agencies of Columbus County.
“I was told different stories, but I know and I affirm that he is not a drug addict, as they say about him. The Columbus County cops did the wrong thing to him,” Rowell told the station.
In April 2021, Spivey was relieved of his post following a misconduct investigation by the NC State Bureau of Investigation.
He was ultimately charged with 88 felony charges for stealing thousands of dollars in cash, various drugs and five firearms from the evidence room of the Chadbourne Police Department, which he then allegedly sold to friends and family.
In June, Spivey was accused of embezzling $8,000 intended for a family that had lost a son to leukemia.
Spivey was relieved of his post in the spring of 2021 following a misconduct investigation by the NC Bureau of Investigation.
After spending two months in jail, Spivey was released after posting $500,000 bail.
Last month, Spivey was re-arrested on suspicion of stealing catalytic converters from an auto repair shop in Tabor City where he worked as a mechanic.
The District Attorney’s Office tried to keep Spivey in jail pending trial, claiming he was a threat to society, but he was released again.
Spivey was due to return to court earlier this month but did not show up, claiming he had COVID.
The hearing was rescheduled for Monday, but Spivey didn’t show up again. His lawyer told the judge that his client was missing and may have committed suicide.
During his tenure as Chadbourne’s chief police officer, Spivey allegedly stole money, drugs, and five firearms from the evidence room, and embezzled $8,000 from the family of a leukemia patient.
After Spivey’s boat was found on the Lumber River, divers combed the water but did not find his body. K-9 dogs and sonar were used to search for the fugitive.
“As investigators collected surveillance video and conducted interviews, it became even more clear that the river scene was staged,” officials said.
Following his dramatic arrest near Loris on Thursday, Spivey, who has 40 outstanding non-attendance warrants totaling $1 million, was placed in the Horry County Jail pending extradition back to North Carolina.