Chris Tomberlin Arrested After Faking His Own Death
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Police Catch Man Suspected of Faking His Own Death, Spending Six Years on the Run from Attempted Murder Charge

A Georgia man who authorities say faked his own death to avoid criminal charges after he attacked his wife with a hatchet was arrested in Oklahoma — nearly 1,000 miles away — after six years on the lam.

The Oklahoma City Police Department on Friday confirmed that 37-year-old Christopher Tomberlin was taken into custody without incident following a multi-week joint investigation by the OKCPD Violent Crimes Apprehension Team and members of the U.S. Marshals Service Metro Fugitive Task Force. According to an OKCPD press release, there was an outstanding warrant for Tomberlin in Bib County, Ga., stemming from a violent domestic dispute incident involving a deadly weapon.

Tomberlin in 2015 allegedly threatened to kill his wife immediately before biting her hand and then launching a hatchet at her, The Macon Telegraph reported at the time. The warrant reportedly said that the hatchet missed Tomberlin’s wife and became lodged in a door inside the couple’s home. Bib County sheriff’s deputies arrested the defendant on family violence charges of aggravated assault, battery, and terroristic threats, but the defendant faked his own death and fled the state after being released, authorities said.

Andrew Joseph, the Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal for the Western District of Oklahoma, on Friday told The Daily Mail that Tomberlin had been living in Oklahoma for at least the past two years using multiple aliases to prevent being detected until an anonymous caller tipped off authorities as to his whereabouts.

“That tip from a caller had information that indicated that Mr. Tomberlin was alive and residing in the Oklahoma City metro area,” Joseph said. Authorities had previously believed that Tomberlin was actually dead.

He also noted that Tomberlin, who had been running a freelance tattoo shop from his home, appeared “surprised” when authorities showed up on his doorstep.

“Analysts from our Criminal Intelligence Unit worked diligently, and were able to piece together Tomberlin’s latest steps, leading officers to the area of SW 77th and Douglas where today, he was taken into custody without incident,” OKCPD said. “Great work by everyone involved in getting this dangerous man off the streets!”

John Wilson, one of Tomberlin’s neighbors for the last two years, told local NBC affiliate KFOR that he was “really surprised” to learn of his neighbor’s past, adding that he “seemed like a decent guy.”

Tomberlin is currently being detained in Oklahoma City but will be extradited to Georgia in the near future. He was booked on Thursday at 5:04 p.m. and is merely listed in jail records as being a fugitive from justice. Law&Crime reached out to the Bibb County Probation Office regarding the specific charges Tomberlin might face, but we did not immediately hear back.

[image via OKCPD]

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.