Robert McCaffrey, whose wife disappeared more than two years ago, was arrested Saturday and charged with obstruction of justice, according to the Charleston County Sheriff's Office.
Gayle McCaffrey has been missing from their West Ashley home since March 2012 and is presumed dead.
The arrest affidavit says McCaffrey, 42, told several lies in his statement to deputies about what happened.
But McCaffrey's attorney, Chris Lizzi of North Charleston, said the arrest was only a "staged event" to make it seem as though the investigation has been fruitful.
A recent search for clues in the case again came up empty, Lizzi mentioned.
"There's no new news," the attorney said. "This is something they have known for years."
The affidavit laid out these accusations:
McCaffrey told investigators he returned home from a walk and saw his wife lying in bed about 7:45 p.m. March 17, 2012. His wife could not have been in bed at 7:45 p.m. because she was up talking with other family members at that time, according to investigators.
He said he left the house about 10 p.m. to drive to Easley to get away from his wife for a while. He drove to Travelers Rest that night to meet a woman with whom he was having an affair, according to investigators.
He said he had a safe with $110,000 in cash and a gun inside in a room over the garage and his wife left a letter saying she had found it. Investigators say they found no evidence that a safe was ever there.
He said his wife must have found the combination to the safe from his cell-phone contacts. There was no indication of the combination in his contact list.
The arrest comes a little more than a week after more than 110 volunteers and emergency personnel combed through several hundred yards of brush, woods and ponds in West Ashley, searching for any new clues in the case. It was at least the fifth search since she disappeared.
This will be the first time investigators have gotten a chance to question McCaffrey since he gave an initial statement in 2012. Authorities had said McCaffrey would not agree to speak to investigators again after having provided his initial statement.
Investigators have said they believe foul play is at work and that McCaffrey was involved in his wife's disappearance. Up until his arrest Saturday, he had not been charged.
In October, a family court judge granted permanent custody of the McCaffreys' two children to one of Gayle McCaffrey's sisters, Debbie Pearson. The children had been staying with her since their mother disappeared.
Saturday's development came as a shock to Lizzi, who said he learned of the arrest from a news alert.
About two months ago, he said, Sheriff Al Cannon asked Lizzi and his client if they would sit down and discuss the case for the first time since McCaffrey gave his initial statement. They declined.
Lizzi had offered, though, to turn in his client voluntarily if investigators ever did get a warrant for his arrest.
But the move came unexpectedly in the parking lot of a Bi-Lo supermarket in Mount Pleasant on Saturday, when McCaffrey was in town to visit with his children, Lizzi said. He had relocated to North Carolina and recently got hired for a new job.
The attorney called the arrest an "appalling" attempt by deputies to get his client alone for a follow-up interview. The allegations were based on information that is "nothing new," he said.
Lizzi still had not been able to contact his client late Saturday, he said.
"This is just what I'd call an attempt to create some type of event to make it look like the sheriff's department is doing something," Lizzi said. "They've been unable to find anything in two and a half years."
Natalie Caula Hauff and David MacDougall contributed to this story.
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