(BLOOMINGTON) - Wade Meisberger, facing a probation violation, vowed he would not return to prison. So he took dramatic action.
Laura Lane, of the Herald Times reports, Meisberger, convicted of murder in Bloomington in 1993 for killing his best friend in 1991 and stealing his Pontiac Fiero, wrote goodbye letters to loved ones last month, drove to the Kentucky River's Carrollton-Prestonville Bridge, took off his clothes and jumped.
But he survived the June 21 plunge, swam to shore, snuck naked back to his truck, then went underground.
In YouTube videos posted in the days after his disappearance, Meisberger claimed he had intended to kill himself but failed to die in the attempt. He also claimed probation officers and others were out to get him, intending to return him to prison and keep him from his son.
Investigators, though, believe he was trying to fake his own death to avoid facing an allegation he had failed to maintain and report a valid address. He also did not return phone messages from his probation officer, nor did he show up at two probation appointments in June.
The violations are minor, but may well have put Meisberger back behind bars.
A warrant was issued for his arrest. "The defendant is a danger to the community," a petition to revoke his suspended sentence states. It also says he showed an "instability and/or a disdain" for the court's authority and that "the defendant's whereabouts are unknown."
Police located and arrested him July 17 in Jefferson County, near Madison, where he had lived. He's currently jailed in Monroe County without bond.
In the spring of 1999, Monroe Circuit Judge E. Michael Hoff reduced Meisberger's 48-year sentence to 30 years from his 1993 conviction. He was to be on probation for 18 years upon his release from prison, then on unsupervised probation until 2041.
A letter in his court file says he intended to pursue a divinity degree.
Meisberger got out of prison in 2007 through Indiana's good-time provision, which gives inmates two days of credit for each one served if they stay out of trouble. His last address was an apartment in Indianapolis.
Now 40, he is scheduled to appear before Monroe Circuit Judge Mary Ellen Diekhoff on Monday for an evidentiary hearing in his recent legal problems.
After using a club to beat 20-year-old Michael C. Sawyer to death on the railroad tracks at East 12th Street in July 1991, Meisberger fled in the victim's car.
He eluded capture for a year, and was featured on the TV show "America's Most Wanted," which highlighted cases of fugitives on the run. Police then found him in North Carolina and brought him back to Monroe County.
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