Remember the dramatic rescue of the couple and their seven children whose boat had run aground in Galveston in late October? Well, according to police, those parents are fugitives, wanted in Colorado on charges of wire fraud. Whoops.
Galveston authorities say the FBI contacted them after they recognized the couple on news footage of the dramatic October 29 rescue, during which San Leon firefighters saved the family from drowning after their sailboat flipped over during a storm on the East Bay.
Federal authorities have apparently been looking for the couple, 43-year-old Donald Brian Winberg and 33-year-old Karlein Richel Winberg, since April, when they fled Colorado on charges of wire fraud stemming from an elaborate investment scheme that authorities claim bilked millions out of victims.
According to Galveston County Sheriff Henry Trochesset, the couple hid their identity by using aliases at the hospital and telling officials that their identification was lost when the boat capsized.
Trochesset says that the Winbergs also dodged suspicion in part because their sailboat was left underwater for nearly a month under a regulation that stipulates that a boat must be allowed to stay submerged for 20 days in order for owners to return.
When the boat was recovered following the required time period, authorities say, they found enough supplies for a "long trip."
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The boat was later found to have been purchased a week prior to the sinking with $20,000 in cash at the Wingate Yachting Center in Kemah, according to the Houston Chronicle.
The family had been staying at the Wingate, but had been asked to leave due to "disturbances," authorities said.
Investigators now believe the family may have left the area, and may have even made it to Mexico. They were last seen traveling in a dark gray 2004 Nissan SUV with Texas license plate number CVP-3691.
A trial date for the Winbergs had been set for January in Colorado, but was cancelled after the family fled the state.