Traffic Stop Leads to Man Believed Dead Since ’89

CNN ^ 1/29/09 Kim Segal
Posted on Thursday, January 29, 2009 3:46:55 PM by nickcarraway
A man who faked his drowning death nearly 20 years ago off a Florida beach was found out by North Carolina police who stopped him for a traffic violation, authorities said Thursday.
Bennie Wint left behind a grieving fiancee and a daughter from a previous marriage. Over the past two decades, he has acquired a common-law wife and another child in Marshall, North Carolina,
Wint told police that he faked his death in Daytona Beach, Florida, because he was “paranoid” about his narcotics-related activity at the time, Weaverville, North Carolina, police Sgt. Stacy Wyatt told CNN.
When pulled over in Weaverville on Saturday because of malfunctioning lights on his license plate, the man said his name was James Sweet, Wyatt said. But when Wyatt ran the name through official databases, he was unable to find any information.
“I found it suspicious and believed it to be a false name,” Wyatt said. He arrested the man on suspicion of driving without a license and giving false information, both misdemeanor offenses, and booked him under the name “John Doe.”
But “John Doe” finally opened up to Wyatt, admitting that he was really Bennie Wint and that he had been on the run since 1989.
Wint returned a call Thursday from CNN and asked what an interview with him would be “worth to you.” Told that CNN does not pay for interviews, he responded, “Unless you want to pay for it, don’t come up here. You are wasting your time. There are ‘no trespassing’ signs on my property.” He then hung up.
According to police reports, Wint was on a trip to Daytona Beach with his then-fiancee, Patricia Hollingsworth. She told police they were engaged and had discussed getting married while on the trip.
(Excerpt)

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