At What Cost?

What a shock.

Criminal charges were filed in the last few hours against the two men who peeled off $4000 in cash for a boat trip to Bimini, veered impossibly off course, then came back without the four-person crew who took them. Those charges don’t include murder yet. Sadly, the signs point to that possibility. At this writing, as we near midnight, there is no sign of the crew.

As we reporters played detectives today (as we often do, without the power of law to open doors), a picture began to emerge of how a 19 year old former Cuban refugee in Hialeah hooked up with a 35-year old disgraced former military investigator/current criminal fugitive from Arkansas and hatched a plan to hijack the 47-foot Joe Cool for an escape to Cuba. The details and motives of that plan, if there is indeed such a plan, are still emerging. Those have been, and will be, the focus of the reporting in the next few days, along with the intensive search for the four person crew.

That crew is family, literally and figuratively..
Capt. Jake’s uncle helped him start his charter business when his dad died suddenly last year of heart-related complications .
The “Joe Cool” is named for his dad.

The captain’s wife is not usually part of the crew. She decided to go along on the short jaunt to Bimini.
The two have a 3-year old daughter and 4-month old son, who are being cared for at the moment by other family members. How hard is it to think of what they might have to be told one day?

Another crew member is a half brother. The fourth is long-time trusted colleague.

I have never – never – met a family member of a missing person who did not hold out hope until the very end that their loved one might have survived whatever ordeal he or she endured. Tonight, I get the feeling this family has.

When the boat was located, they were encouraged to hear the life raft was missing, because that meant the crew could be on it.
Until it was found with only the two charter passengers in it.
They were hopeful that the crew had access to the dozen or so life jackets stocked aboard the boat.
Until an inspection of the Joe Cool found all of those jackets still on board.

So the biggest question remains. And it’s a question that really cannot be asked yet without conceding all hope.

Whatever the selfish, underhanded, criminal plan…. Why not spare the crew??


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