On September, 15, 2016, Nathan Carman left Ram Point Marina in South Kingston, Rhode Island, on Chicken Pox, his 45-years-old, 31-foot aluminum boat for an offshore tuna fishing trip with his mother, Linda Carman, 54, from Middletown, Connecticut. That was the last time anyone saw either the boat or Linda Carman.
Eight days later, Carman, then 23 years old and floating alone on an inflatable raft, was rescued about 100 miles off the Massachusetts coast by a passing freighter (see picture, above). He said the Chicken Pox started taking on water and sank. In the confusion, he swam for the raft and never saw what happened to his mother.
Now Carman is caught up in a civil trial in Federal court in Providence, Rhode Island, where two insurance companies are suing to keep him from collecting the $85,000 he wants for the boat after it sank. And his mother’s three sisters say that he murdered her and shot his wealthy grandfather on 2013 in an effort to collect an inheritance.
The judge in the Providence trial is limiting testimony to the insurance matter. One expert, Bernard J. Feeney, a marine surveyor, has already testified that the Chicken Pox was “not seaworthy” after Carman removed the boat’s trim tabs and filled the screw holes just above the waterline with epoxy. “The boat was taking on water the whole time it was on the ocean and he never checked the bilge pump,” Feeney said.
David Farrell, a lawyer for BoatUS, one of the insurance companies, told the court that Carman used epoxy to fill the holes, even though the directions said, “Do not use to fill holes.”
According to the Hartford Courant, Farrell will call other experts to challenge Carman’s story. One, a tide expert, will dispute Carman’s claim about where the boat sank. Another, a hypothermia expert from Massachusetts General Hospital, will testify that from the pictures he’s examined he doubts that Carman spent eight days on a raft.
Meanwhile, police still consider Carman a person of interest in the death of his grandfather, John Chakalos, in December, 2013, in his Windsor, Connecticut, home. Chakalos was shot in the back of the head with bullets similar to those fired from a Sig Sauer rifle. Carman had bought a Sig Sauer just before the shooting for $2,000, but says he subsequently lost it. Chakalos left a $7 million estate. Read more: