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Ghost Boat: Ex-wife doesn’t know if he could kill

The ex-wife of an Arkansas man in federal custody following the disappearance of four fishing boat crew members issued a statement Thursday saying she didn’t know if her former husband was capable of murder.The statement from Michelle Rowe marked her most extensive comments since her ex-husband, Kirby Logan Archer, was arrested after his rescue at sea along with another man Monday. Archer, 35, is charged with fleeing prosecution for the January theft of more than $92,000 from an Arkansas Wal-Mart where he had been a manager.joecool5.jpg

The FBI is investigating what happened after Archer and 19-year-old Guillermo Zarabozo paid $4,000 cash to hire the fishing boat “Joe Cool,” whose captain and three crew members remained the subject Thursday of a massive Coast Guard sea search.

Archer and Zarabozo were found floating in the boat’s life raft with no sign of the crew, a few miles from the drifting, abandoned “Joe Cool.” They were miles south of the normally direct route between Miami and Bimini, Bahamas.

“I have not lived with Kirby Archer in over four years and I do not know if he is or was capable of taking the life of another human being,” Rowe said in her statement, issued though Batesville, Ark., attorney Chaney Taylor.

Rowe said she does not know and has never talked to Zarabozo. Archer, a former military police investigator, was once stationed at the U.S. base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, during the 1990s.

During their marriage, Rowe said, “Mr. Archer only mentioned briefly, on just a few occasions, a boy from Cuba whose family he apparently befriended while stationed in Cuba.” But she said she’s not sure of that boy’s identity.

The statement also says that although Archer was initially awarded custody of the couple’s two young sons following their divorce, a judge in Lawrence County, Ark., awarded Rowe custody in February “as the result of having been maltreated by their father, Kirby Archer.”

070927_kirby_archer.jpgTaylor said that order followed an investigation into child molestation by Archer by the state’s human services agency. But it wasn’t clear Thursday if Archer was accused of molesting his own children.

Meanwhile, the Coast Guard continued Thursday to search by air and sea for the four missing crew members.

Zarabozo claimed to investigators when he was rescued that unknown “hijackers” had boarded the boat in between Miami and its Bimini destination and fatally shot all four, ordering Zarabozo to dump the bodies in the sea. Zarabozo is charged with lying to federal agents and there is no other known evidence to back up his story.

The four missing are boat captain Jake Branam, 27; his wife, Kelley Branam, 30; his half-brother, Scott Gambill, 30; and 27-year-old Samuel Kairy. The Coast Guard had initially identified Gambill as “Scott Campbell” but later learned his correct name from family members, said Petty Officer Jennifer Johnson.

“We’re looking for any evidence that would facilitate the search. We haven’t found anything yet but we’re holding out hope,” Johnson said.

Archer and Zarabozo are due in federal court Friday for a hearing on whether either man should be released on bail. Prosecutors are asking a judge to order both kept in custody.

Source: WSVN


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