A Vermont man who survived more than a week at sea was a suspect in his wealthy grandfather’s unsolved slaying in 2013.
Nathan Carman was the last person to see John Chakalos alive before he was found fatally shot at his Windsor home in 2013 — and now Carman’s mother is presumed dead following an offshore fishing trip that went awry off the Rhode Island coast.
Carman was never charged in Chakalos’ death.
A freight ship found the 22-year-old man eight days after Carman said his 32-foot vessel capsized in Block Canyon, not Block Island as initially reported.
“There was a funny noise in the engine compartment,” Carman told Coast Guard officials in an audio recording released Tuesday. “I looked and saw a lot of water.”
Carman said he searched for his missing mother as their fishing boat took on water, but he said his mother, Linda Carman, 54, of Middletown, Conn., was nowhere in sight.
“Have you found her,” the castaway asked the Coast Guard.
A member of the Coast Guard, who was not immediately identified, told Carman his mother was still missing.
“I was whistling and calling and looking around and I didn’t see her,” Carman added.
Ahead of Carman’s arrival in Boston, police combed the survivor’s four-bedroom home Monday night in Vernon seeking evidence related to the ill-fated fishing trip, according to the Hartford Courant.
“This investigation revealed that Nathan’s boat was in need of mechanical repair and that Nathan had been conducting a portion of these repairs upon his own volition which could have potentially rendered the boat unsafe for operation,” police wrote in an affidavit obtained by the newspaper.
The Orient Lucky freighter dropped Carman off in Boston on Tuesday. He was wearing a white jumpsuit and appeared healthy.
He was then met by Connecticut attorney Hubert Santos who specializes in personal injury, medical malpractice, white collar crimes and death penalty litigation, according to his website. He was then interviewed by Coast Guard investigators for a ”survivor de-briefing.”
Such an interview is a standard procedure for people who are rescued at sea.
“We want to find out what happened, what can we do better to aid a search and rescue in the future?” Petty Officer 2nd Class LaNola Stone said.
Coast Guard search crews set off to find the missing mother and son duo after they failed to return from their Sept. 18 adventure along the Atlantic coast fishing trip. Search teams hunted for the Carmans for days before calling off the search Friday.
Two days after the search ended, a passing freighter found Nathan Carman floating in a four-person, inflatable life raft with food and water.
Nathan Carman told investigators his mother was lost in the chaos.
“He had some food and water, and he jumped into the life raft, and that was it,” Petty Officer Third Class Nicole Gnoll added.
The Coast Guard did not receive a distress call amid the disaster, but it’s unclear if the fishing boat had the radio needed to contact emergency personnel.
Nathan Carman has Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism, and ran away from his Connecticut home in 2011 apparently grieving his horse’s death. His disappearance sparked a multi-state search that ended four days later in Virginia.
The Carman family was also struck by tragedy in 2013 when Linda Carman’s real estate developer father, John Chakalos, 87, of Windsor, Conn., was found shot to death in his home the morning after having dinner with his grandson.
The death was ruled a homicide; no arrest has been made.
WCVB-TV reports Chakalos left $42 million to his four adult daughters, including Carman’s mother, Linda.
Police tried searching Carman’s home seeking firearms linked to Chakalos’ death, but an arrest warrant was returned unsigned, according to the Hartford Courant.
Earlier this year, the family offered a $250,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction of Chakalos’ killer.