Federal authorities thought otherwise. And on Tuesday, six years later, the US Attorney’s Office in Vermont announced that Nathan Karman, now 28, had been arrested and charged with the murder of his despicable mother, as well as “related fraud to obtain family money and insurance.”
An unsealed indictment, first delivered by a grand jury on May 2, also accused Karman of shooting his sleeping grandfather, a man named John Chkalos, in 2013. The two alleged murders were “part of a scheme to obtain money and property from The estate: “John Chucklos and related capital,” prosecutors said.
Schalus was a wealthy man, making “tens of millions of dollars” in real estate development, according to the filing. To distribute his fortune to his four daughters, including Linda, after his death, the Mughals established the Chakalos Family Dynasty Trust, along with a number of other trusts. Beginning in 2012, the indictment said Nathan began spending “significant time” with Chakalos, attending business meetings alongside his grandfather and filling in his financial advisors with “detailed questions” about trust.
Ultimately, Chakalos, in registry lawsuits, persuaded Linda to designate her son as the beneficiary of her share of the family pot. Nathan, who graduated from high school in 2012, attended community college but was struggling to complete most of his classes. His grandfather paid for his apartment and truck.
Then, five days before Christmas 2013, Nathan allegedly entered Chakalos’s Connecticut home with a shotgun in the dead of night and shot his 87-year-old grandfather twice, according to the indictment. He then allegedly dumped the hard drive of his computer and the GPS of his truck. He has been named as a significant person in the case, but investigators have denied his involvement in the murder of Chakalos.
My grandfather was the closest person to me. “He was like a father to me knowing I was like a son to him,” Nathan told ABC News in 2016. Because I have completely lost the most important person in my world.”
The windfall Karman received from his grandfather’s estate – about $550 thousand – did not last long. Moving to Vermont, he blasted most of the money over the next two years, according to the indictment. By the fall of 2016, he was cash-strapped.
So he rented a fishing trip for himself and Linda on a boat he had bought. The indictment states that “Nathan Karman planned to kill his mother on the flight.” To end the murder, he allegedly tampered with the 31-foot aluminum fishing vessel before the couple set sail, removing two forward bulkheads and trim tabs from the stern, leaving holes in the hull below the waterline. The Karman family departed from the Rhode Island port on September 17, 2016.
Linda, 54, thought she and her son would be back at port by noon the next day, leaving a float plan with friends saying so. Instead, the duo was reported missing the next day, and the Coast Guard launched a search. Karman, who was on an inflatable life raft, was picked up by a passing freighter on September 25.
After being rescued, the 22-year-old told Coast Guard officers that he and Linda were looking for tuna when he heard a strange noise. Karman claimed to have raised a hatch to detect water pooling at the bottom of the boat. He never activates a distress signal.
“I actually have a very strong aversion to pressing a button that will cause a helicopter to fly out,” he told the judge in 2019, adding that he thought he could have solved the problem himself, according to Boston Globe.
Karman told the Coast Guard that by the time it became clear they were in danger, it was too late. He claimed to have gotten into a lifeboat, deployed automatically, and looked around, screaming for his mother. He said he never saw or heard her again.
“I didn’t hear her screaming,” he told the judge in 2019 in a separate case brought by his insurance company.
Upon suspicion, Vermont police launched a reckless investigation into an endangerment hours after Carman made landfall. Investigators claimed in an affidavit that the chickenpox needed repairs, “and that Nathan was conducting a portion of those repairs of his own volition that could make his boat unsafe,” according to ABC News.
Karman told the outlet on September 28, 2016: “I know I wasn’t responsible for the boat sinking. I know I wasn’t responsible for anything that resulted from the sinking of the boat. I know I wasn’t responsible for my mom’s death. But at the same time, I feel like I was responsible for My mom and I are in this situation. If I hadn’t asked my mom to go fishing with me this weekend, she would be alive with me today.”
Carman’s father, Clark, told CBS Boston around the same time that Linda’s death was an accident. “The past is the past, and what I want to say about that is: I wish the press would have left him alone, because he wasn’t involved with his grandfather or his mother,” he said. “It was purely an accident, and he wouldn’t do anything like that.”
In November 2019, a federal judge in the separate case ruled that Karman did not qualify for the $85,000 insurance claim he made for his chickenpox loss. Judge John C. He said the judge’s decision “did not specify whether Mr. Karman intended to sink his boat or harm his mother,” according to Globe.
Karman denied in an email to the newspaper that he was trying to harm his mother. “If I have any regrets,” he wrote heartily, “it is that, having been publicly raised, the allegations of intent made in this case were not part of the trial,” and therefore I have not had the opportunity to take it face to face to clarify my name once and for all by experience regarding these issues”.
Fortunately for Carman, it looks like he’s going to have his day in court after all, with an indictment charged for his criminal case scheduled for Wednesday in Vermont.