Coast Guard reports — released in response to a Freedom of Information request by the Sun Sentinel — offer new details about Guma Aguiar.
Photographer: Getty Images/Fort Lauderdale Police Department
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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Among the belongings found on missing multimillionaire Guma Aguiar's boat after the sea delivered it to shore without him: A leather prayer box that holds religious texts.
Left at home: His watch and wedding ring.
Notes compiled by members of the U.S. Coast Guard search and rescue team only add to questions about Aguiar's state of mind when he took what may have been his final voyage. They are a rough profile of the man described as "unstable," and "on medication for depression" whose whereabouts remain a mystery more than two months after he vanished.
The Coast Guard reports — released in response to a Freedom of Information request by the Sun Sentinel — offer new details about the 35-year-old investor who was last seen steering his boat into bad weather and six foot swells on the evening of June 19.
Yet these "watchstander" logs, compiled by multiple officers involved in the 48 hour air and sea search for Guma, do not prove a planned suicide or anything else, said Commander Darren Caprara,chief of response for U.S. Coast Guard Sector Miami.
"They are comments, based on interviews and investigators' notes," Caprara said. "The only facts we had were GPS coordinates. We saw him on camera, getting on a boat and we knew where it went and where it beached itself without him."
The logs say "security cameras caught him leaving his house with a purpose" and "not in a good frame of mind due to financial [sic]."
Also noted, in different handwriting: "Jewish prayer book [sic] – not usually there" and "Argument w/wife over divorce//left watch, wedding ring."
And this awful notation: "All PFDs (life jackets) accounted for."
Aguiar's 31-foot Jupiter center console boat floated onto the sand in front of Fort Lauderdale's Elbo Room beachfront bar, a ghost ship with engines running, at 1:15 a.m. June 20, five hours after he'd left home.
"We don't truly know where something went wrong," Caprara said. "We ask hundreds of questions to try and get any small detail to aid our search. What we are really trying to get to is what he could have done out there."
Caprara said the leather box — used by Jews during weekday prayers and called a tefillin — "is just another lead. It could have meant he had a resounding desire to live, and was a highly spiritual person."
Aguiar's mother said she was unfamiliar with her son's rituals while he was boating.
"I can only speculate that when he left the house, he was upset and took things that gave him solace," Ellen Aguiar said.
The notes don't list sources or authors, and not all are correct. For instance, there was not an open divorce case in Broward County court.
But Aguiar did struggle with mental health, relatives have said, and he was stressed by massive lawsuits that threatened his wealth and family harmony.
Did he have reasons to disappear, or was he depressed enough to end his life?
Friends say he loved his wife and children, and can't imagine he'd intentionally leave them.
More than two months later, Aguiar's whereabouts are still unknown and he remains a missing person case for Fort Lauderdale police.
"My son, who I love very much, is missing," Ellen Aguiar said. "I continue to pray that wherever he is, he is well, and at peace."
Copyright © 2012, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
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