MIAMI -- One of the men found adrift at sea said in an affidavit Wednesday that the boat he was aboard was hijacked and that the assailants who took over the boat shot the four crew members.
Guillermo Zarabozo, 19, told the Coast Guard during interviews that "unknown subjects hijacked the vessel at sea," then asked him to dump the bodies overboard.
Zarabozo and Kirby Archer are being held after being discovered adrift when family members of the chartered crew of the Joe Cool
reported them missing Sunday.
The Joe Cool was discovered near the Cay Sal banks, some 100 miles south of its destination in the Bahamas early Sunday evening. On Monday, the two men were found about 12 miles from that site on the vessel's life raft.
Zarabozo told the Coast Guard the two men were headed to Bimini on the Joe Cool and halfway to Bimini the boat was hijacked. "Upon boarding, the hijackers immediately shot and killed the captain. The hijackers then shot the captain's wife because she was hysterical."
Zarabozo claims that one hijacker told a crew member to "throw the bodies over board." That crew member refused and the hijackers shot him.
The hijackers then directed the last crew to throw the bodies overboard; however he was shot when he refused. According to Zarabozo, the hijackers directed him to throw the bodies overboard and he complied.
Law enforcement aboard the Coast Guard cutter pointed out the Joe Cool and asked Zarabozo if he recognized it. "Zarabozo responded that he did not recognize it" and that he was not on the vessel. The Coast Guard had discovered his identification aboard the vessel.
During Archer's interview, the complaint only says that he knew he had a warrant issued for his arrest, so he wasn't able to fly to Bimini.
Archer is wanted in Arkansas on charges of stealing more than $92,000 from the Wal-Mart where he worked until he disappeared last January. His picture on a flier from the Independence County (Ark.) Sheriff's Department was discovered by the boat captain's uncle, Jeff Branam, who entered Archer's name on Internet search engine Google.
In addition to Zarabozo's Florida idenfitication, the complaint reveals that the search of the boat also unearthed, six marijuana cigarettes, a laptop computer, luggage, clothing, cameras and a cell phone. A handcuff key was also found in the vessels bow. The complaint also states that a substance on the stern of the boat appeared to be blood.
They will both be back in court Friday at 10 a.m.
The course of incidents began Friday night when Archer and Zarabozo approached the crew of the sportfisher Joe Cool at slip D-30 to hire a ride to Bimini, where they said they were to meet their girlfriends. They agreed to pay $4,000 for the trip.
When the charter did not return by its noon Sunday deadline, the family became concerned.
Two cutters and two aircraft continue to search for the four crew members still missing. The missing crew are Capt. Jake Branam, his wife, Kelly, crew member and half brother Scott Campbell and Capt. Samuel Kairy.