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Nathan Carman stonewalling insurer over sunken boat, records show

Nathan Carman spoke to reporters after a memorial service for his mother, Linda Carman, who was lost at sea.

David Collins/Associated Press/File

Nathan Carman spoke to reporters after a memorial service for his mother, Linda Carman, who was lost at sea.

Nathan Carman, the Vermont man at the center of separate probes into the shooting death of his wealthy grandfather and presumed death of his mother, who went missing at sea when Carman’s boat sank, is stonewalling an insurer seeking information about the sinking, the company alleged in a recent court filing.

The National Liability and Fire Insurance Co., which issued a policy on Carman’s vessel, the Chicken Pox, said in court papers filed Monday that he’s refusing to answer questions germane to the sinking. National Liability and another group that sold the policy want a federal judge in Rhode Island to declare Carman’s insurance claim on the boat invalid.

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Carman’s lawyers did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Among the questions Carman won’t answer is an inquiry about his firearms, on the grounds that the information is not relevant to the claim, according to Monday’s legal filing. The insurer disagrees.

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“Nathan Carman’s firearms are at issue in this case and information about them is discoverable not just because his grandfather was shot to death,” lawyers for the insurer wrote. “The parallels between his grandfather’s murder and his mother’s death are striking. Nathan Carman’s boat and navigational electronics sank, never to be found, after his mother was last onboard; his Sig Sauer 716 Patrol .308 semi-automatic assault rifle, the same caliber weapon used to murder his grandfather, went missing afterwards, as did the GPS in Nathan Carman’s motor vehicle.”

The attorneys continued, “Plaintiffs accordingly seek discovery regarding the Sig Sauer 716 Patrol .308 and any other firearms owned or possessed by Nathan Carman insofar as they may have been used in conjunction with ‘criminal wrongdoing’ or ‘illegality’ on the voyage during which his boat sank and disappeared.”

Carman, 23, was the last person to see his grandfather, the multimillionaire developer John Chakalos, and his mother, Linda Carman, alive. Chakalos was shot to death in his Connecticut home in December 2013, and Linda Carman went overboard from the sinking Chicken Pox in September 2016 after the boat had launched from Point Judith, R.I.

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Law enforcement officials continue to investigate both deaths. No one has been charged criminally in either case, though police have labeled Nathan Carman a person of interest in the slaying of Chakalos, who left behind a $44 million estate that went to Chakalos’s children, including Linda Carman.

That cash is the subject of another ongoing legal battle.

In a civil suit pending in New Hampshire, attorneys for Chakalos’s three surviving daughters are asking the probate court overseeing his estate to “declare that the murderer was Nathan Carman — John’s grandson, their nephew — and that Nathan committed this heinous act out of malice and greed,” records show.

The suit also alleges that Carman is the prime suspect in his mother’s disappearance. Carman has denied killing his grandfather and mother.

Police have said Carman may have made repairs to his 31-foot aluminum boat that made it unsafe before he and his mother set out on their ill-fated trip. Carman has insisted he thought the boat was seaworthy and that it sank suddenly while he and his mother were fishing about 100 miles offshore. Carman was rescued a week later on a life raft about 115 miles off Martha’s Vineyard.

In Monday’s legal filing in Rhode Island, lawyers for the insurer said Carman is also refusing to hand over relevant phone records from September 2016.

“Nathan Carman’s comings and goings during September 2016 in the lead up to the dangerous alterations he made on his boat the night before it sank might be re-constructed by his telephone records,” the filing stated. “Those telephone records are further discoverable as a reasonable alternative for reconstructing the course he navigated on the night the boat sank and where that happened, given that navigational electronics went to the bottom somewhere.”

Shelley Murphy, Evan Allen, and Andy Rosen of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.
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