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Vermont man lost at sea for week said he tried to save mom, was person of interest in grandfather's death

By Amy R. Connolly

VERNON , Vt., Sept. 29 (UPI) -- A Vermont man who spent eight days on a raft in the Atlantic Ocean after his mother disappeared from their sinking boat was a suspect in his grandfather's unsolved murder, court records show.

Nathan Carman, 22, was investigated in the 2013 fatal shooting of John Chakalos, 87, a multimillionaire who left his fortune to his four daughters. One of the daughters is Carman's mother Linda Carman, 54, who is missing and presumed dead.

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Carman said he did everything he could to help his mother as their boat sank after they set off from South Kingstown, Rhode Island on Sept. 17. The boat, called Chickenpox, was in need of repairs before it left the dock but it is unclear why it sank, investigators said.

"I was yelling, 'Mom! Mom!' " Carman said. "I loved my mother and my mother loved me."

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Carman had been drifting in the ocean about 100 nautical miles south of Massachusetts' Martha's Vineyard when he was discovered on Sept. 25. A search warrant for his Vernon, Vt., home shows he is under investigation for reckless endangerment because the boat was in need of repairs.

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"The 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 his boat unsafe," the affidavit supporting the warrant said. He has not been charged in the case.

Carman's father, Clark Carman, said he is standing by his son. Carman said his son has Asperger's syndrome, a form of autism that affects decision making and social interactions.

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"There's no way he would hurt his mother, no way, no way at all," Clark Carman said. "We are just trying to resolve everything."

Nathan Carman was the last person to see his grandfather alive. They had dinner on Dec. 20, 2013, and Chakalos was found dead the following morning. Local police submitted an arrest warrant for Nathan Carman in his grandfather's death but the prosecutor's office did not sign it. No arrests have been made in Chakalos' death.

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