For, me, so far, there are two big lessons in the mysterious alleged drowning disappearance, and apparent “resurfacing” (get it) of Massapequa’s Raymond Roth, 47.
*If, having lost your job and put your house on the market, you decide to flee your wife and life and fake your own death, you need a really tight plan.
*Santee, South Carolina, has a police chief? I’ve been to Santee (I hail from SC) a lot of times, and I wouldn’t have thought the place had a crime, much less a cop, much less a top cop.
Roth was reported missing Saturday by his son, who said Roth had swum out to sea at Jones Beach and never returned. The incident set off a massive four-day search that included Nassau County police, the Coast Guard and plenty of volunteers.
That search was called off after Roth’s brother called police Wednesday and said the apparently nonsubmerged Roth had contacted him from Florida. He was stopped for speeding in Santee early Thursday and found to have been reported missing, though he was not arrested in South Carolina, because being missing is not a crime in South Carolina. Nor is being from New York a crime in South Carolina, though it is frowned upon.
Now Roth’s wife has said her husband was recently fired from his New York City job after threatening to kill his bosses. As more is revealed, it appears he was trying to escape his wife, and emails from him to his son (his wife’s stepson) show a plan to flee, and make it look like a drowning. Not a good plan, or a smart one, or one with even the tiniest chance of success, but a plan nonetheless.
How this all went down and how it will all shake out is largely between Roth and his family, except for one thing. That four-day search cost the involved organizations a lot of money, and cost volunteers a lot of time. What’s worse, the hunt for Roth involved at least some danger, taking place as it did at in and out of the water at Jones Beach.
It looks as if Roth fled problems that were at least partly financial, but he deserves a bill for the costs he caused to be incurred. He may or may not deserve to be charged with a crime, depending on whether police can find one that fits the bill. So far they say they’re not quite sure if they can.
And he certainly deserves a big old dunce cap, for thinking he could flee his life and fake his death, in his own car, with his own driver's license. It’s not easy to manufacture your own demise and start a glorious new journey even with a brilliant plan. With a dumb one, it’s pretty much impossible.
Pictured above: Evana Roth speaks at her attorney's office in Carle Place about her husband, Raymond Roth, who was reported and feared drowned -- but police said Roth instead was found to be alive and well in Florida. (Aug. 3, 2012)