• Nathan Carman gives his account of what happened the day boat 'suddenly sank'

    By: Robert Goulston

    Updated:

    A civil trial that began last week involving the insurance claim a Vermont man is asking to get for his boat, which sank nearly three years ago off the New England coast took a new turn as he took the stand for his own defense.

    At the center of the investigations into the murder of his grandfather and the disappearance of his mother is Nathan Carman, who began his testimony on Thursday. It was the first time Carman gave his full account of what happened when the boat suddenly sank while under oath.

    Carman's family believes he killed his grandfather three years earlier and then had something to do with his mother's disappearance as part of his plan to collect millions in inheritance.

    Insurers are refusing to pay the $85,000 claim because they believe Carman is not telling the truth and made suspicious alterations to the 31-foot vessel before leaving Rhode Island with his mother on a fishing trip in September 2016. 

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    Carman was floating in a life raft when he was picked up eight days later by the crew of a passing freighter. Linda Carman was never found and is presumed dead.

    During his testimony, Carman said his memory was sharper closer to the incident but is now unable to recall some details. 

    The boat insurance attorney was trying to pinpoint Carman's locations before the boat sank, but Carman said he does not know where specifically the boat went down.

    The boat has never been located.

    Carman told the courtroom he didn't tell the insurance company he was having bilge pump problems on the boat, or that he removed two forward bulk heads and filled the four holes with puddy.

    He also testified that he has a policy of not calling the Coast Guard unless he is in danger, even if he was 100 miles out at sea in an unfamiliar area. 

    Carman said the boat just "fell out from underneath" him and his mother was on the boat. He added that if he knew the boat was going to sink, he would have used the emergency notification system or radioed for assistance.

    Carman is expected to be the last witness for the boat insurance company and it is unclear who will testify for Carman's side.

    The trial continued Friday morning with Carman telling the judge he spent a full week on a life raft.

    When asked to explain how he looked for his mother as the boat starting to sink, Carman said he did not hear her yell and wasn't sure if she hit her head or got tangled in the lines. 

    Carman said he did not yell out for his mother until he got himself onto the raft, and then once he stood up he yelled for her, pausing to hear if she was calling back.

    During his lengthy testimony, Carman described his experience on the life raft. He had food and water in the emergency kits and said the air temperature was around 70 degrees over the seven days he spent in the raft.

     

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