Authorities meet at Coast Guard Academy to discuss rescued and missing boater

BOSTON (AP) - MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (AP) — Police have searched the home of a woman who went missing at sea during a fishing trip with her son and is presumed dead.

Officers were seen removing bags, envelopes and boxes from 54-year-old Linda Carman’s home in Middletown on Thursday night. They have said they are investigating “the facts and circumstances” surrounding her disappearance.

Local police and officers from South Kingstown, Rhode Island, conducted the search.

Carman and her 22-year-old son, Nathan Carman, left a South Kingstown marina on Sept. 17. Nathan Carman was found alone in a life raft by the crew of a passing freighter on Sunday about 100 nautical miles south of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. He told the Coast Guard their 31-foot-long boat sank and he doesn’t know what happened to his mother.

Linda Carman’s disappearance is being investigating by local, state and federal officials in Rhode Island, Connecticut and Vermont.

Police and federal authorities are meeting at the Coast Guard Academy in Connecticut to discuss situation.

They also seek to discuss the 2013 murder of Linda Carman’s 87-year-old father John Chakalos, in which Nathan Carman was a suspect.

John Chakalos, a wealthy real estate developer found shot to death in his Windsor home in 2013. Court documents show Windsor police applied for an arrest warrant charging Nathan Carman with murder but a prosecutor didn’t sign the warrant and asked for more information.

Nathan Carman has denied having anything to do with the killing, saying he was very close to his grandfather.

A lawyer representing Linda Carman’s three sisters said Friday the family is grateful for the efforts of the rescue team.

“As we continue our search for answers, the family has faith that our state and federal investigators are bringing maximum resources to bear, so that the family can have some degree of closure and an opportunity to heal,” said Daniel Small, the Boston-based attorney.

Police searched Nathan Carman’s home in Vernon, Vermont, on Monday and seized a modem, a cellphone SIM card and a letter. A search warrant indicated investigators think he was handling some boat motor repairs himself and the vessel might not have been seaworthy.

The Coast Guard had suspended its search Friday for Linda Carman. The mother and son disappeared Sept. 18 after leaving a Rhode Island marina to go on a fishing trip in Nathan Carman’s 31-foot aluminum boat named the Chicken Pox.

Nathan Carman was found Sunday by a freighter about 100 nautical miles south of Martha’s Vineyard, the Coast Guard said. He was listed in good condition.

Aboard the freighter, he spoke by phone to a Coast Guard command center in Boston. Petty Officer 3rd Class Nicole Groll, a Coast Guard spokeswoman, said Nathan Carman told the Coast Guard that when the boat started to sink, it went down quickly.

“He looked for his mother and did not see her. He had some food and water, and he jumped into the life raft, and that was it,” Groll told The Associated Press.

Groll said the Coast Guard did not receive a distress call when the boat began taking on water. She said it is unclear whether the boat was equipped with a radio, but said recreational boaters are urged to carry a radio and a waterproof case.

The freighter was expected to arrive in Boston Tuesday morning.

“When Nathan comes into port, he’ll be met by Coast Guard officials, and they’ll get a better understanding of what happened in this particular case and how to better prevent something like this from happening in the future,” Groll said.

Sharon Hartstein, a friend of Linda Carman’s, said she had a wide range of emotions when she heard Sunday that Nathan had been found alive.

“I was ecstatic, and then I found out Linda wasn’t with him, and I was terrified,” Harstein said Monday.

The Coast Guard said they have no plans to reopen the search for Linda Carman, of Middletown, Connecticut. Groll said Monday that so much time has gone by that it is now “beyond the survivability window” to continue searching for her.

Nathan Carman grew up in Connecticut but has lived in Vernon, Vermont, in recent years.

He was also the subject of a search in 2011, when he was a 17-year-old living with his mother in Connecticut.

At the time, Nathan’s parents said he vanished after he became distraught over the death of his horse. After a widespread search, he was found in Sussex County, Virginia. Police said he took a bus to Virginia and bought a scooter he had planned to ride to Florida.

He has Asperger’s syndrome, a milder form of autism, according to authorities who searched for him in 2011.

Neighbors in Vermont said Carman largely kept to himself while renovating and expanding a home he bought almost two years ago. One neighbor, Maynard Rounds, said he worried about Carman’s safety because he worked alone, including while up on the roof.


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