NEW YORK (AP) — A Vermont man is adamantly denying that he sabotaged a fishing boat, causing it to sink and his mother to be lost at sea.
Nathan Carman also told ABC's "20/20" in an interview that aired Friday that he's misunderstood and an easy target for police because he suffers from Asperger's syndrome, a condition on the autism spectrum. A few of its hallmarks are awkward social and communication skills.
Carmen told "20/20" in the interview from Vermont that he patched some holes with marine putty before going fishing but insisted the 31-foot boat was seaworthy. Insurance companies claimed in court last month that "incomplete, improper, and faulty repairs" were made the day before the vessel sank.
Carman and his mother, Linda Carman, of Middletown, Connecticut, departed on the fishing trip from South Kingston, Rhode Island in September. Nathan Carman was found alone in a life raft eight days later.
He said he never saw what happened to his mother, who is presumed dead. At one point during the interview, Carman walked out after being asked to answer to those who believe he did something to cause the boat to sink.
"The only way that I can speak out against them is to say what exactly what happened, and that's what I've been trying to do," he said in the interview from Vermont.
The case also has placed renewed attention on the unsolved killing of his grandfather, John Chakalos, who left an estate worth more than $42 million to his four adult daughters, including Linda Carman.
Nathan Carman, of Vernon, Vermont, is heir to his mother's fortune.
Investigators considered Nathan Carman a suspect in Chakalos' killing, but Carman denied any involvement. Chakalos, a real estate developer, was found shot to death in his Windsor, Connecticut, home in 2013. Chakalos also kept a home in Chesterfield, New Hampshire.
This story has been corrected to show the boater is from Vermont, not Connecticut.