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Disgraced police chief who faked his own death arrested, faces drug trafficking charges

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Jenna Farhat

The Sun News (Myrtle Beach, S.C.)

A former North Carolina police chief facing more than 70 felony charges, who authorities believed had recently drowned, was arrested overnight in Horry County, local police said. William Anthony Spivey, 36, was arrested on Watson Heritage Road near Loris, according to the Horry County Police Department. Spivey is the former police chief of Chadbourn, North Carolina. Chadbourn, a town of about 1,800 people, is located in Columbus County.

Spivey was let go from his job as police chief last spring following a misconduct investigation by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations, Horry County police wrote in a Facebook post.

He was charged with more than 70 felony counts, including mishandling evidence, drug trafficking, and embezzling, Horry County police said.

Earlier this week, Spivey was reported missing after he did not return from a fishing trip on the Lumber River in Columbus County. After he went missing, local and state officials conducted an “extensive water search,” Horry County police said.

The Columbus County Sheriff’s Office dive team searched the Lumber River for Spivey as recently as Tuesday, according to a Facebook post form the Columbus County Sheriff’s Office. The search team pursuing Spivey included helicopters and man-tracking teams.

Spivey’s boat was found abandoned in the Lumber River, according to the Columbus County Sheriff’s Office. His car was abandoned at the boat landing near Fair Bluff, N.C. He was reported missing Monday.

Horry County police found Spivey Wednesday night near an apartment outside Loris.

“He briefly attempted to flee into some nearby woods before he was arrested,” Horry County police said in a Facebook post.

Just after midnight Thursday, Horry County officers found Spivey submerged in a creek behind an apartment building, according to an incident report from the police department.

Believing he was possibly armed, officers told Spivey to exit the water and come onto dry land with his hands up, according to the police report. Spivey exited the water into a wooded area and attempted to run, police said.

Horry County police officers tried to place him in restraints.

Spivey then yelled that police “would have have to shoot” as he reached for “his waist area while resisting,” the incident report states.

Officers pinned Spivey to the ground “as he continued to resist by still reaching for his waist area.”

Officers were then able to restrain Spivey.

Spivey was booked into J. Reuben Long Detention Center after 1 a.m. Thursday morning, jail records show. No charges are listed in his arrest information. Spivey remains incarcerated at the Horry County jail, according to the jail website.

This story was originally published February 24, 2022 10:17 AM.

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