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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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Boat's crew is still missing
Two men are found drifting, and the boat is left in disarray.
By Times Wires
Published September 26, 2007
The mystery of the charter boat Joe Cool and its missing crew is quickly becoming a South Florida sensation.
The plot: two men, one of them suspected of stealing $92,600 from Wal-Mart, chartered the boat in Miami Beach on Saturday. They paid $4,000 and asked to go about 50 miles to Bimini in the Bahamas, where they said they had women waiting for them.
The boat's GPS navigational system shows it was headed steadily for the Bahamas, then about 35 miles out made a sudden, erratic turn south toward Cuba.
The Coast Guard found the 47-foot yacht Sunday afternoon, about 40 miles north of Cuba. No one was aboard the vessel, which showed signs of distress.
The boat "was in total disarray," Coast Guard Petty Officer James Judge said. "Things were thrown around everywhere."
Its location was also troubling.
"It's a mystery because the Gulf Stream flows north and this is nowhere near where they intended to go," Judge said.
On Monday morning, authorities found the two men who originally chartered the Joe Cool. Guillermo Zarabozo, 19, of Hialeah, and Kirby Logan Archer, 47, of Strawberry, Ark. - a fugitive accused of stealing from the Wal-Mart - were floating on a life raft 12 miles north of the drifting boat.
The Coast Guard was not sure why they abandoned the vessel or whether the boat broke down or simply ran out of fuel.
And there was no sign of the crew.
The FBI in Miami has questioned Archer and Zarabozo, but officials so far have been tight-lipped about the case. They towed the Joe Cool to shore and were examining it for clues.
Archer's former wife told the Miami Herald that Archer met Zarabozo, then a boy, at Guantanamo Naval Base where Archer was stationed as a military police investigator in the mid 1990s. Zarabozo's family had apparently tried to leave Cuba by raft and was intercepted at sea and taken to the base, where Archer took an interest in the boy, then 6 or 7 years old.
"I think he picked up that boy, and they decided to head to Cuba to start a new life," said Michelle Rowe, Archer's former wife.
Rowe divorced Archer in 2005 and Arkansas court records show that their divorce was bitter. She alleged that they moved to Arkansas in December 2003 because Archer was AWOL from the Army, something he later confirmed in his testimony. The AWOL matter was resolved, and he was discharged from the military.
Rowe also testified that Archer was gay and that one of his relationships was with a boy who was still in high school. Archer said in testimony that he was not gay.
Meanwhile, the search for the missing crew continued Tuesday, from just north of Cuba to the Bahamas and South Florida. The crew has been identified as Capt. Jake Branam, 27; his wife, Kelley Branam; his half brother, Scott Campbell, 30; and Samuel Kairy, 27, all of Miami Beach.
Jeff Branam, Jake Branam's uncle, fears they may have been forced overboard or worse.
"Now, the best-case scenario is if they gave my nephew and the others onboard life jackets and told them to swim for it," he said.
Back in Arkansas, authorities had been seeking Archer since January and contacted the Coast Guard on Monday after hearing Archer's name in the news, officials said.
Authorities say that on Jan. 26, Archer, a trusted assistant manager at the Wal-Mart store in Batesville, Ark., used a cart to collect the money trays from cash registers and took it to a back room. He then asked permission to leave work early, but before leaving the store, he purchased a microwave oven.
"He put the money in the box and went to the front acting like he was paying for a microwave and even used his employee discount," Independence County, Ark., Sheriff Keith Bowers said.
Information from the Miami Herald, South Florida Sun-Sentinel and Associated Press was used in this report.