Missing man found and arrested in Poplar Bluff - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Poplar Bluff, MO

Missing man found and arrested in Poplar Bluff

Charles Rothman Charles Rothman

Missing man found and arrested in Poplar Bluff
By: CJ Cassidy & Heartland News

An elaborate hoax comes to an end when police nab a missing man in Southeast Missouri.

Police say 65-year-old Charles Rothman of Scott City staged his own death Wednesday night by letting his boat adrift in the waters of the diversion channel.

Not to be outdone, investigators reacted by staging a massive search. "We apologize to everyone for letting them believe there was a real search going on. But we had to carry out the facade to let Mr. Rothman believe we were looking for him, so he would use his credit cards and ATM and we could track his movements," Chief Don Cobb with the Scott City Police Department says.

So crews with the Missouri Water Patrol, Conservation Department, Cape and Scott County Sheriff's Departments and several other agencies set the stage by searching along the diversion channel for hours.

Meanwhile the real hunt was on for a man facing nine child sex charges - three counts of first degree statutory rape and six counts of first degree statutory sodomy. Investigators say Rothman came across his young victim, a 13-year-old girl - through his Cape Girardeau ministry that reached out abused and sexually active women.

Court documents reveal Rothman told the victim not to tell anyone they were having sex, because he did not want to die in jail. He also allegedly told her he would get in trouble with the police for rape because she was 13 years old and that she would go to a juvenile hall or a home if she talked.

Investigators say they outsmarted Rothman when he used an ATM card in Poplar Bluff. They say he'll have plenty of time to figure out how his plan failed him, behind bars.

Police say Rothman's own son in Texas, turned his father in on the child sex allegations.

Rothman is being held on $250,000 cash only bond.  His first day in court will be Tuesday, June 5th at 11 a.m.


POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. - The man crews have been searching for in the Diversion Channel has been found alive. 

Investigators found Charles Rothman of Scott City Thursday afternoon in Poplar Bluff.

Officers from the Cape Girardeau County Sheriff's Department and the Missouri Water Patrol searched through Wednesday night for Rothman.  Someone found an empty boat Wednesday along the Cape and Scott County border.

Rothman is facing criminal sex charges.

Heartland News will update this story as it develops.

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