Michael Patrick Manning, an accused sex offender who faked his suicide on the Golden Gate Bridge to avoid being apprehended by the authorities, was finally arrested in a Florida trailer park after being on the run for three years.
Manning, 58, was first arrested by Chico, CA police in 2015, after he was accused of sexually assaulting a then-12-year-old girl in 2008 and 2009, according to a press release from the Chico Police Department. A few days later, after Manning had posted bail, the police arrested him again on child pornography possession charges after hundreds of child porn images were found on his computer. Again, Manning posted bail, and was scheduled to show up in court to plead to the charges; when he didn’t show up for his court date, police issued a call for his arrest.
In October 2016, a little over a year after Manning failed to show up to his court date, police found a rental car Manning had recently leased near the Golden Gate Bridge. Although the car was empty, Manning had left behind a letter that appeared to be a suicide note. Although the scene was clearly intended to lead investigators to conclude that Manning had taken his own life, authorities were skeptical, and “began to monitor the behavior and patterns of a close associate of Manning and observed what appeared to be sophisticated counter surveillance measures,” according to a press release, which led them to believe the associate had helped Manning stage the scene and evade authorities.
For years, authorities tracked Manning down at various locations throughout California, such as storage units and various residences, only to find that he was nowhere to be seen. Finally, Manning was apprehended in Monroe County, Florida after the sheriff’s office responded to reports of a burglary alarm that had been triggered at a nearby home. He was found living in “an unlocked Conex storage trailer adjacent to the property,” according to the press release.
Initially, Manning told authorities his name was “William Wallace Littlejohn” and produced documentation to that effect, including a U.S. passport; after calling U.S. Border Patrol, police learned that the passport number belonged to a man in Utah. After he was arrested for having fraudulent identification papers, he refused to give police his name until his fingerprints were run through the national system, revealing his true identity.
Manning is currently behind held in jail in Florida under fraudulent ID charges and is waiting to be extradited back to California.