Authorities arrested down-and-out Indiana businessman Marcus Schrenker, 38, at a Florida campground Tuesday night after they say Schrenker faked a plane crash by issuing a phony distress call, then parachuted to safety and fled on a motorcycle he stored before his flight.
Here is a timeline of events in the Schrenker plane mystery:
January 2008: The Indiana Department of Insurance files a complaint against Schrenker on behalf of seven investors claiming he cost them more than $250,000 because he never told them they would face high fees to switch annuities. Investors said he cozied up to their families — then betrayed them.
December 30, 2008: March Schrenker's wife Michelle files for divorce.
December 31, 2008: Schrenker's Indiana state financial adviser's license expires. Officers search Schrenker's home for computers, notes, photos and other documents related to his wealth management companies, looking for possible securities violations.
January 9, 2009: A federal judge in Maryland issues a $533,500 judgment against Schrenker's Heritage Wealth Management Inc., and in favor of OM Financial Life Insurance Co. The OM lawsuit contended Heritage Wealth Management should return more than $230,000 in commissions because of problems with insurance or annuity plans it sold.
January 10, 2009: Schrenker stores a red Yamaha motorcycle in a unit in Harpersville, Ala., telling the owner he'd be back on Monday to pick it up.
January 11, 2009: Schrenker takes off in his single-engine Piper Malibu from Anderson, Ind., bound for Destin, Fla. He is flying near Huntsville, Ala., when he issues what apparently turns out to be a fake distress call. He reports severe turbulence, saying one of his windshields has imploded and he is bleeding profusely. Schrenker parachutes to safety and leaves the plane to fly on autopilot. It crashes more than 200 miles away in a swamp near a residential area in the Florida Panhandle. Military jets try to intercept the small plane, and see the door ajar and the cockpit dark. The wreckage, found scattered near Milton, Fla., shows no signs of blood or a blown-out windshield.
January 12, 2009: A man carrying Schrenker's license tells police in Childersburg, Ala. — about 225 miles from where the plane crashed — that he'd been in a canoe accident with friends. He is wet from the knees down. The officers, unaware of the plane crash, take him to a hotel in Harpersville, Ala. He is gone by the time they return. They learn he paid for his room in cash before putting on a black cap and running into the woods next to the hotel. Also that day, the Indiana Securities Division obtains a temporary restraining order freezing Marcus and Michelle Schrenker's personal assets and the assets of Schrenker's three companies. That night, Schrenker writes an e-mail to his friend and neighbor Tom Britt, characterizing the situation as a misunderstanding, apologizing to his family for the trouble he's caused and telling Britt that by the time he reads the note, Schrenker will be gone. Britt turns the e-mail over to authorities.
January 13, 2009: U.S. Marshals intensify their hunt for Schrenker. The manager of the storage unit where Schrenker stashed his bike comes forward and says the motorcycle is gone. An Indiana judge orders Schrenker's arrest, and financial fraud charges are against him. Later that night, authorities arrest Schrenker at a Florida campground, where he is holed up in a tent with a slit wrist and bleeding profusely.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.