Marcus Schrenker's Life Spirals Out of Control

At the same time, and unknown to Schrenker, his investment firm was under investigation by the state of Indiana for allegations of bilking clients and fraud.

null

Authorities raided the Schrenkers' mansion the day after Michelle filed for divorce. Schrenker, who was in Florida with Baker at the time, said he was "completely blindsided."

"I couldn't even understand what was happening," he said. "It was tough to tell what was real and what was not at that point."

Ill-Fated Flight Sets Off Manhunt

His assets were frozen, his business was closed pending a criminal investigation, his family was in tatters -- and, just then. his stepfather died.

"It just felt like I was coming unraveled and almost like my brain was popping. And I just snapped," he said. "I drove home to our house in Indianapolis. And I came inside and there were four plates on the kitchen table and that was obvious. The fifth plate was always me. And she [Michelle] stood up and said, 'You're not welcome here.'"

On the evening of Jan. 11, 2009, Schrenker drove to the airport where he kept his airplane. He revved up the single-engine turboprop, filed a flight plan for Destin, Fla., and began the trip that would make national headlines.

"I didn't call the tower, I didn't call the ground. I didn't have the runway plowed. I just took off," he said. He took, by his account, 10 Oxycontin pain killers.

Schrenker said his idea was simple: commit suicide, make it look like an accident, and have Michelle collect the insurance. To ensure that he would die, he said he disabled the parachute he had with him and "wire tied it shut."

But if Schrenker wanted to commit suicide, why did he need a parachute at all?

"All he would have to do is take the airplane up, stall it, spin into the ground and kill himself, and then it would look like an accident," said Doug Carmody, who runs Executive Flight training in Beaufort, S.C., and trains pilots on the same aircraft Schrenker flew that day.

Instead, Schrenker jumped out of his plane.

"I looked up and the parachute was all tangled," he said. "And it was just, a little piece of it was open. And I was probably going forty, fifty miles an hour."

Schrenker's plane continued on autopilot for 200 miles and crashed on land in swampy Milton, Fla.

Sgt. Scott Haines of the Santa Rosa, Fla., Sheriff's Office led "20/20" to the crash site.

"The plane actually rolled and landed on its roof upside down with the propeller against that oak tree," said Haines. "[There was] no blood, windshields were intact. It was clear to us that the pilot was not in this location. It started unraveling very quickly that we were dealing with something a lot more than just a plane that had crashed."

Schrenker landed in the woods near Childersburg, Ala. He had told air traffic control that he was bleeding, but that was a lie. With barely a scratch on him, Schrenker made his way to a storage facility where a red Yamaha motorcycle -- his motorcycle -- was waiting for him.

He was 500 miles from home. How did the bike get there?

Signs Point to Elaborate Escape Plan

The day before his bizarre flight, Schrenker had visited the storage facility, where he spoke with owner Lova Wood. Calm and friendly, Schrenker gave Wood a phony name and said he needed to store his broken motorcycle for a couple of days.

Page
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • 3
  • |
  • 4
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...