Police: Man fakes disappearance to escape child-porn charges

AP News
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Posted: Apr 20, 2016 7:28 PM

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — When Cody Magee's wife reported that her husband hadn't returned from a kayaking trip off the Georgia coast, the Coast Guard launched a two-day search by land and sea.

Magee was eventually found alive — in Oklahoma. Authorities say he staged his disappearance to escape prosecution on charges that he sought sex with a child.

Magee, 38, of Savannah was being held Wednesday in Oklahoma City after failing to appear in court Monday on charges of child pornography and attempted child molestation in Effingham County west of Savannah, said Savannah-Chatham County police spokesman Sonny Cohrs.

Sheriff's deputies arrested Magee last June after undercover investigators posing online as a young teenager lured him to a home, said Sgt. Don White of the Effingham County Sheriff's Office.

"He was chatting with what he thought was a 14-year-old girl," White said. "He wanted to act out some rape fantasies with her."

Magee shared images of child pornography during the online exchanges with undercover investigators, White said. During the arrest, he said, deputies found a handgun in Magee's pocket.

Stuart Patray, identified by the public defender's office for the Ogeechee Judicial Circuit as Magee's lawyer, didn't return a phone call Wednesday.

It wasn't known if he would face additional charges for faking his disappearance, said Cohrs, who said Magee's wife first reported him missing.

"He was supposedly going kayaking and was supposed to be gone for an hour," Cohrs said. "He never came back."

The Coast Guard launched a two-day search for Magee around Tybee Island, a beach community 18 miles east of Savannah, said Petty Officer 2nd Class Anthony Soto. Crews covered more than 2,500 square miles before the search was called off Tuesday night, Soto said.

A few hours before midnight Tuesday, a police officer in Oklahoma City pulled Magee over after a routine license plate check showed he had been reported missing, said Oklahoma City police Sgt. Gary Knight. Police found a handgun and rifle in his car, Knight said.

Magee talked with the officer and was taken to a hospital, Knight said, though he declined to say why. Savannah police said in a news release that Magee was "considered a danger to himself."

Georgia authorities were working to extradite Magee.