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Missing Gaston woman has record of identity theft, fraud

By Elizabeth DePompei
edepompei@charlotteobserver.com
GMD2JPNT4.3
- NORTH MYRTLE BEACH POLICE
Amy Arrington, 42, disappeared on July 5 in North Myrtle Beach.

As police search for a Gaston County woman who disappeared Saturday in North Myrtle Beach, family members were shocked to hear about the woman’s criminal history.

Amy Lynette Arrington, 42, was reported missing by her husband, Paul David Arrington, around 4:40 p.m. He told police he watched his wife walk waist-deep into the water before he laid down on the beach and turned over.

About 20 minutes later, Paul Arrington looked toward the water for his wife. He told police he saw a woman who he thought was his wife, but after he approached her, he realized it wasn’t. He then reported his wife missing to a lifeguard.

“We have two searches,” said Patrick Dowling, North Myrtle Beach public information officer. “One is obviously for the potential that we have a drowning victim.”

Police were searching the shorelines Tuesday near Sea Mountain Highway, where Amy Arrington went missing.

Dowling said he doesn’t know whether police suspect foul play. When asked whether Amy Arrington’s husband was cooperating with police, Dowling said he could only say, “Police have talked to him once or twice.”

Police are also treating the case as a missing person investigation, Dowling said.

Amy Arrington was scheduled to appear in court Monday in Mecklenburg County on charges including identity theft and forgery. Her criminal record dates to 1992 with charges mostly in Union, Gaston and Mecklenburg counties. Among the charges: credit card theft, larceny and financial card fraud.

According to a search of court records by the Observer, Amy Arrington served more than two years in prison for identity theft and fraud. She was released in 2008.

Her mother-in-law, Shirley Arrington, said she was “floored” by the news reports. She saw her son, Paul, on Monday and said he is “still very upset.”

Todd Arrington, Amy Arrington’s brother-in-law, said he hasn’t talked to his brother much in the last year. Todd Arrington said his brother and Amy Arrington met through an online dating service.

“She came to my wedding, and I’ve met her a few times, hung out a little bit, but I really didn’t know anything about her,” Todd Arrington said.

Regarding Amy Arrington’s criminal past and pending charges, Todd Arrington said he doesn’t think her husband had a clue.

“I just hate it for my brother,” Todd Arrington said. “I hope somebody finds her.”

Court records show Amy Arrington was previously married. The couple divorced in November.

DePompei: 704-358-5067
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