For six years, proving that the circumstances surrounding the death of a millionaire lost at sea had perplexed the authorities.
Linda Carman was reported missing after her son Nathan was found alone in a life raft near Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, in 2016.
Their boat sank minutes after he heard “a funny noise”, Nathan said.
The then 22-year-old said he saw his mother in the cockpit before grabbing bags of food, flares and life jackets.
However, when he looked back, he said she was gone.
“What happened on the boat was a terrible tragedy that I’m still trying to process and still trying to come to terms with,” he said.
But police now say a chilling connection between his death and that of his father – and Nathan’s grandfather – John Chakalos has finally solved the mystery.
A grand jury indictment, first reported earlier this month, charges Carman, 28, of Vernon, Vermont, with murder and fraud in the murder of his mother.
The indictment also charges him with the fatal shooting of his millionaire grandfather, John Chakalos, in 2013 in Connecticut, but does not charge him with the murder.
He has repeatedly denied any involvement in the two deaths.
Here, The Sun explores the shocking case that has gripped the wealthy US enclave more commonly associated with its famous residents than murder mysteries.
Authorities claimed in the indictment that on November 11, 2013, Carman used his New Hampshire driver’s license to purchase a gun which he used on December 20, 2013 to shoot Chakalos while he slept.
After Chakalos’ death, Carman received $550,000 from various accounts.
He moved to Vermont in 2014 where he was unemployed and by the fall of 2016 he was low on funds.
In September 2016, Carman then arranged to go on a fishing trip with his mother on his boat named “Chicken Pox”.
“Nathan Carman planned to kill his mother on the trip,” the indictment reads. “He also planned how he would report the sinking of the ‘Chicken Pox’ and the disappearance of his mother at sea as accidents.”
The relationship between mother and son was strained, but fishing was one way they could still connect.
Nathan was found floating in the raft by the crew of a freighter eight days after the boat went missing.
The dramatic rescue made international headlines.
Linda Carman’s body was never found and she is presumed dead.
But federal prosecutors say the two deaths paved the way for Carman to inherit about $7 million – his mother’s share of Chakalos’ estate.
The inheritance remains tied to Connecticut probate court, where his mother’s three sisters seek to prevent Carman from receiving money from his grandfather’s estate.
In 2017, investigators began keeping tabs on a lawsuit filed in federal court in Providence, Rhode Island, where insurers and Carman were suing over his dismissed $85,000 claim for the loss of his boat, named the “Chickenpox”.
The insurance case tied all the evidence together and may have spurred a new effort to charge Carman, current and former investigators said.
Lawyers for the insurers presented a case accusing Carman of conspiring and covering up the two murders, using the results of the police investigation and information they themselves obtained.
Some of these discoveries include Carmen buying a rifle that can fire the same bullets used in her grandfather’s shot.
Carman invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination during a deposition when questioned about the rifle, which was never found.
Nathan also destroyed his laptop’s hard drive and a GPS device in his truck after his grandfather died. He took fifth again when asked why.
Prior to the 2016 fishing trip, Carman modified the boat in ways that contributed to its sinking, the judge ruled in the Rhode Island case in dismissing Carman’s insurance claim.
Witnesses said he removed two stabilizer trim tabs from the stern, near the ship’s waterline, leaving holes which he attempted to seal with an epoxy stick.
And a tidal model expert testified that the life raft could not have floated to Martha’s Vineyard from where Carman claimed the boat sank, but in fact would have drifted into the opposite direction.
Carman’s attorneys said it was his first time using nautical charts and he was confused about the location of the boat.
Vermont federal prosecutors are not commenting on the timing of their decision to take the case to a grand jury, and the indictment offers no clues or new information about the case,
Legal experts and other law enforcement officials say the delay in taking criminal action could be the result of several factors, including the fact that his mother and boat were never found.
“It’s very difficult to charge federally with murder…so I think what the government has been doing for the last six years is building his case to charge him with mail fraud and wire fraud. “said Jessica Brown, a former state and federal attorney. public defender.
Some law enforcement officials who participated in the investigation said the indictment may be the result of new evidence that is not being disclosed.
Nathan has previously denied any involvement in the death of his mother or grandfather.
“My grandfather was like a father to me and I was like a son to him,” Carman said.
“He was the closest person to me in the world, and I loved him and he loved me, and I had absolutely nothing to do with his death.”
But Donald Melanson, police chief of Windsor, Connecticut, where Chakalos was killed, said The Associated Press“When you look at the bigger picture…it gives me a very clear picture of how everything is tied together to achieve his (Carman’s) goals.”
Carman remains detained while his case is pending. If convicted of the murder charge, he faces life in prison.
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