An incident took place in 1989 in which a man drowned himself in front of her fiance in order to save himself from the police because he was part of a drugs ring.
Man Faked His Own Death And Went On The Run For 20 Years Believing Police Were After Him
In 1989 a man faked his own death because he believed the authorities were after him for drug charges; however, many years later, it was shown that they weren't.
After staging his own drowning on a Florida beach in the anticipation of being arrested, Bennie Wint lived in secrecy for 20 years.
His kid, who was four years old at the time when he disappeared, his grieving fiancée, and his ex-wife all had the belief that he had passed away.
In 2009 because of a mismatched license plate, Wint was stopped by traffic police in South Carolina. After an officer did a check, he initially supplied a false name before confessing to everything.
When the officer informed him that he was not wanted for anything, he was astonished.
'He believed he was wanted when he really wasn't,' said police sergeant Stacy Wyatt.
'He told me he had been running for 20 years.... he had destroyed every bit of identity he had.'
While on vacation in Daytona Beach, Florida, in September 1989, when he was supposed to be getting married, Wint, 49, staged his own disappearance.
Patricia Hollingsworth, his upset bride-to-be, saw him swim in the surf before he vanished, but a search by lifeguards, boats, and helicopters failed to turn up a body, thus it was assumed that he had drowned.
Captain Scott Petersohn of the Volusia County Beach Patrol reported that the man's fiancee was frantically searching for him while jogging up and down the beach.
But Wint was already 400 miles away in Alabama, where he established a new life under the fictitious name of William Sweet, married Sonja Jones, and gave birth to a son who is currently 17 and also named William James Sweet.
His past was unknown to his new family.
'He told me he swam to the shore in knee-deep water, walked off, and never looked back,' said Sgt Wyatt.
After being stopped by police in Asheville, North Carolina, for driving without a $1.50 light bulb on the license plate of his car, Wint's story finally came to light.
The name he gave the police did not appear on police computers, therefore he should have been able to get away with simply a traffic penalty.
When he realized he was in trouble, he confessed, telling authorities that he had been a part of a drug ring in 1989 and thought the police were closing in on him.
'He became very emotional because it was like he was tired of running and knew that his identity was found and it was a time just to get this over with,' said Sgt Wyatt.
Wint is accused of providing police with a false name and operating a vehicle without a valid license.
But, after hearing that he had been hit by a vehicle outside his house, his story took a new turn. Who was in control of the wheel was a mystery.
According to the police, Wint's new wife, fiancee, or either of his wives appeared to be unaware of his double life.
Additionally, it seemed Hollingsworth is still unaware of his presence.
Wint, who supports himself by operating a flea market booth in Weaverville, North Carolina, is rumored to demand payment for tv interviews.
His daughter Christi McKnight, who was just four years old when he disappeared, wrote on a website in 2007 that her 83-year-old grandmother was gravely ill but continued to hope for her son's possible life.
'It would be fabulous if anybody knew anything about him, so my granny can see her son, her youngest child, who she is still holding on to dearly,' she wrote.