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Ghost Boat: Bail Delayed For ‘Joe Cool’ Survivors

Family Members Of Crew Member Wants Custody Of Children

MIAMI — A bail hearing was delayed until next week for two men jailed in connection with the mysterious disappearance of four crew members from a fishing boat that the men hired for what was supposedly a pleasure trip to the Bahamas. Defense attorneys and prosecutors said Friday they had agreed to postpone until Tuesday the hearing for Kirby Logan Archer, 35, and 19-year-old Guillermo Zarabozo. Prosecutors are seekingjoecool6.jpg continued detention, arguing that both might flee if released on bail. The disappearance of the captain and crew of the “Joe Cool” fishing boat is being investigated by the FBI as a possible quadruple homicide, but neither man has been charged with any killings.

Archer, of Strawberry, Ark., is accused of fleeing prosecution for allegedly stealing more than $92,000 from a Wal-Mart in Arkansas where he was a manager. Zarabozo, of Hialeah, is charged with lying to federal agents about whether he was on the boat. Neither man has entered a plea to those charges.

Zarabozo told authorities that unknown pirates boarded the boat and fatally shot the crew members, but investigators have not verified his story or disclosed any evidence that would back it up. Archer attorney Allan Kaiser said he expects prosecutors to disclose more evidence next week. “We’re going to see what the government has to offer,” Kaiser said. Zarabozo attorney Faith Mesnekoff declined comment but did say in court that the FBI and prosecutors have been notified that they should not interview Zarabozo without her present. Zarabozo’s mother was in court Friday but left without speaking with reporters.

Coast Guard Search Ends

crew.jpgOn Thursday, the U.S. Coast Guard suspended its search at sunset Thursday for four crew members of the sport-fishing vessel Joe Cool.The five-day search encompassed 14,850 square miles between Daytona Beach, Fla., and Cay Sal Banks, Bahamas, according to Coast Guard officials. Still missing are Capt. Jake Branam; his wife, Kelly; crew member and half brother Scott Campbell; and Capt. Samuel Kairy.Lt. Cmdr. Chris O’Neil, public affairs officer for the Seventh Coast Guard District said the active search is suspended “pending further developments.””Our decision to suspend the search is made in light of our confidence that if the crew of the Joe Cool was in the areas we search, we would have found them,” said O’Neil.Meanwhile, a dispute over the two surviving children of the captain and his wife is beginning in family court. Jeannette and Jeffrey Branam are seeking custody of Jake and Kelly Branam’s two children, Local 10 reported. The children are currently in the custody of the children’s grandfather, Joe Harry Branam, but court documents state that because of health issues he is unable to care for the children.Federal investigators continue gathering clues and information, while the families of the four missing boaters have said they will conduct their own search.


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