A Lexington County woman has been arrested in Florida after admitting she was not kidnapped, but willingly crisscrossed four states this week with a homeless traveling companion.
Melanie Martin, 40, and Andrew Douglas, 28, are charged with blackmail for conspiring to lead Martin's husband to believe Douglas kidnapped her, according to arrest warrants. Martin’s husband reported her as a missing person Sunday.
"Douglas left Ms. Martin's husband a voicemail indicating he would reach back out to him to provide information about wiring money to secure Ms. Martin's release," Lexington County Sheriff Jay Koon said. "Escambia County, Florida, deputies helped us track the pair down in Pensacola and Martin admitted in writing and verbally that she'd been willingly traveling with Douglas since leaving home Sunday."
More charges* are expected to be filed against Martin and Douglas, according to Koon. They were arrested Thursday evening at a Pensacola motel. Security cameras captured images of Martin and Douglas inside a Midlands convenience store Monday morning.
Martin and Douglas are being held at the Escambia County jail. Investigators plan to extradite them to Lexington County, according to Koon.
*Editor's note: Martin and Douglas were charged with obstruction of justice and criminal conspiracy after this news release was published.