The Joe Cool Mystery Somewhat Solved?

I actually took the phone away from my ear and looked at it. I was not believing what I was hearing. When I went on air I did something I rarely do. I said, “just when you think you have heard it all, there is this.”
I had been covering the disappearance of the crew of four from the charter fishing boat the “Joe Cool.”
We had just learned that the two suspected boat hijackers had met years ago at a camp for Cuban Refugees at Guantanamo Naval Base Cuba.
I am talking about Kirby Archer, 35, and Guillermo Zarabozo, 19, both found clinging on a life raft about 40 miles north of Cuba. The two had chartered a sleek fishing boat with a crew of four to taxi them to the Bahamas where they were supposed to meet girl friends.
The boat never made it to the Bahamas, it was found abandoned near the Cay Sal Banks and there was no sign of the crew.
No doubt you are following this bizarre story on NBC6 and in the local papers. The crew is still missing, as of this writing no charges involving the disappearance of the crew have been leveled against Archer and Zarabozo. The FBI which jumped into the case is saying nothing.
What dripped off this case from the very beginning was how did Archer, an AWOL soldier and suspected thief from Arkansas, hook up with the young man from Hialeah? What brought them together.
The old rule of thumb is “to follow the money.” In this case we knew all about the money. Archer had, according to Batesville, Arkansas police had stolen $92-thousand from a Wall-Mart where he was an assistant manager. Our job, shifted to motive. What were these guys up to and how’d they get together? It just did not make sense.
We were aware of a nasty divorce that Archer had gone through, filings were on the web. There were allegations that he was gay, and had a relationship with a young man in a high school. We learned more, that Archer was a fluent Spanish speaker, that he had been a Military Police investigator, and that he had been stationed at the Guantanamo Naval Base during the Cuban Rafter Crisis which began in 1994.
It is here where, we were told, Archer met Zarabozo who at the time was around 8 years old. Zarabozo and his family had been plucked off a raft by the Coast Guard as they had attempted to float to the United States. The were detained at Gitmo.
Apparently there was a relationship that lasted even after Zarabozo, his family and thousands of other Cuban Refugees were settled in the U.S.
So now we know the connection, but what is the motive for the hijacking. What were these two guys up to? A run to Cuba? That makes little sense as Cuba is not gay friendly and no matter what two guys showing up in an expensive boat would certainly bring security agents into the picture.
Something, once again, does not add up. This is a story of many layers and we are just now, hopefully, getting somewhere near the bottom of it.
You just have to feel for the family of the crew members. The emotions of dealing with missing relatives is of course enormous but toss in the bizarre nature of this case and it must, for them, be overwhelming.
The suspects are now in federal prison beginning the judicial process. The Coast Guard continues to search the Atlantic between Cuba and the Northeast States.


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