Austin police officer who allegedly staged his death arrested in Dallas

Coleman Martin (Dallas Police Department)

DALLAS (KXAN) — The Austin police officer who was believed to have staged his own suicide and fled to the interior of Mexico has been arrested in Dallas. APD Chief of Police Brian Manley said they were transferring 29-year-old Coleman Martin to Austin where he will be booked into the Travis County Jail.

Martin was released from jail on Thursday.

The officer will be placed on restricted duty, Chief Manley says. Martin was booked into the Dallas County Jail at 8:36 a.m. Wednesday, after flying from Colombia to Dallas-Fort Worth Airport on his way to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

Chief Manley says Martin was taken into custody at the airport without incident on a warrant for a false alarm or report, a Class A misdemeanor.

The officer, who joined the Austin Police Department in 2011, was last seen late on April 25 as he crossed into Mexico and boarded a bus.

A suicide note found in Martin’s abandoned vehicle triggered a massive search operation, using air assets, boats, dive teams and other ground efforts, using local, state and federal resources, police say.

The Austin Police Association has apologized to a half dozen agencies for wasting resources on a false alarm. “On behalf of the Austin Police Department, I would like to apologize to those groups that had to take their time and endanger their lives to search for this person,” said Austin Police Association President Ken Casaday.

Martin had a close relationship with a female who was not his wife, detectives learned. At around 4:15 p.m. on April 27, she told police that Martin was alive and the entire disappearance was his attempt to stage his own death. She said Martin sent her an email stating his plan for a staged death had been successful.

In the email, Martin described how he had intentionally staged the scene with his vehicle at Lake Amistad and then rode a bicycle for eight miles to a convenience store. He then threw his bicycle in a dumpster behind the store and took a taxi to a border crossing. In an interview with investigators, the store clerk remembered Martin’s statement that he rode his bicycle from the lake as “odd” and that he appeared sweaty.

“People make mistakes and people have to answer to their mistakes. The association believes that Cole will have to answer to what he’s done,” said Casaday.

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