Austin Police Officer Quits Months After Staging Death and Fleeing to Mexico

AUSTIN — Almost five months after an Austin police officer disappeared into the interior of Mexico in what was called an “elaborate ruse” to stage his death, Officer Coleman Martin has resigned from the department.

The Austin Police Department said Martin’s resignation was effective immediately. The 29-year-old, who turns 30 next week, triggered a massive search operation when his truck was found on the shores of Lake Amistad on the Texas border with Mexico with a suicide note in plain view.

Police first alerted the public that the officer was missing and “in distress” on April 26, the day after Martin sent a text message to his wife with a photo of his handwritten suicide note, saying he was going to drown himself in a lake.

The day after the public was notified, detectives interviewed a woman who had a “close relationship” with Martin, who was not his wife. She told police Martin emailed her admitting he had staged his death and his disappearance was a success.

The officer told the unidentified woman he rode a bicycle for about eight miles from the lake to a convenience store near Del Rio, where he called a taxi to take him to the border crossing.

Then, on April 28, Austin police announced their findings and issued an arrest warrant for Martin on a criminal charge of false report, a Class A misdemeanor.

Austin Police Association President Ken Casaday estimated the cost of the manpower and equipment used to search for Martin in the lake in the tens of thousands of dollars.

On May 3, Martin was arrested at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport after flying from Colombia on his way to Austin. He was booked into and released from the Travis County Jail the following day, and put on restricted duty at the department.