Q: How was Aubrey Lee Price declared dead so quickly? Things I’ve read say that it usually takes seven years of someone being missing to be declared dead.
— Ed Ross, Sandy Springs
A: Florida law states “a person who is absent from the place of his or her last known domicile for a continuous period of 5 years” is presumed to be dead, but a court can declare someone dead before five years have elapsed if there is evidence the person “was exposed to a specific peril of death.” Judge Greg S. Parker, of Florida’s 3rd Judicial Circuit, said there was evidence “that Aubrey Lee Price took his own life at sea,” when he declared Price dead on Dec. 31, 2012. Price, who was indicted in July 2012 on a bank fraud charge for allegedly embezzling $21 million from Montgomery Bank & Trust in the South Georgia town of Ailey, was arrested near Brunswick on Dec. 31 after 18 months on the run, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. Prior to his arrest, Price was last seen boarding a ferry in Key West, Fla., in June 2012. It was assumed he committed suicide by jumping from the boat, but the FBI never stopped looking for him, The Associated Press reported last January. Price, 47, pleaded not guilty to the charges on Wednesday and was being held in Statesboro with no bond. Federal authorities are also trying to determine if Price is involved in a marijuana grow house in rural Florida, the AJC reported.
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