Two miles out, Aguiar activated his GPS, a move that raises questions about the notion that he may have intended to commit suicide.
“If you’re going to kill yourself, would you turn on your GPS?” Novak said.
At 7:29 p.m., after activating his GPS, he accelerated even more, kicking through waves at speeds as high as 31 miles per hour, the maps show.
But at 7:56 p.m., maps show his boat suddenly turned, and his speed dropped to .6 miles per hour, as the T.T. Zion turned west, at a drift-like pace, it continued southward at speeds no more than 3 miles per hour before it grounded.
The tie bar that connects the steering to the boat’s twin outboard engines was broken, disabling one of the two engines. Even with the other engine operable, Novak said it still would have been difficult to steer the boat, especially given the inclement weather. At the time the boat changed course, the ocean depth was about 600 feet.
“At that depth, if he fell overboard, there would be little chance that we would ever find his body because it would sink to the bottom,’’ said Travis Mandell, spokesman for Fort Lauderdale police.
Born in Brazil, Aguiar came to this country as a child with his parents. At the age of 26, he and his uncle, Thomas Kaplan, discovered a vast field in Texas that contained massive quantities of natural gas. They formed a company, Leor Energy, which they later sold for $2.55 billion.
Aguiar got $200 million from the sale, and went on to other projects, including exploring his roots. He divided his time between Florida and Israel, where he invested in basketball and soccer teams and about $40 million in real estate. He was on a first-name basis with former Israeli President Simon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
He and his wife, to whom he had been married for six years, lived with their four children in a $5 million mansion at 1500 SE 10th St. Their marriage, however, was shaky, and his mother claims that on the day her son went missing, Jamie Aguiar had told him that she intended to file divorce papers the next day. Jamie Aguiar’s lawyer, William Scherer, has denied any plans for a divorce, saying the couple were working out their problems and loved each other very much. Jamie Aguiar has declined to comment on the advice of her attorney.
Since her husband vanished, Jamie Aguiar has been at war with her mother-in-law over his business operations and investments. Ellen Aguiar says she and her fiancé had been working for her son, trying to streamline his staff and unwieldy operations. Jamie Aguiar wants her mother-in-law out of the picture, claiming that she is responsible for making her son unstable.
At the time of his disappearance, Guma Aguiar was being treated with medications by his doctor, Scott Segal of North Miami, but Ellen Aguiar was trying to convince him to enter a holistic treatment facility.
So far, there has been no credible sightings of Aguiar. His passport hasn’t been used, and authorities say he hasn’t accessed his bank accounts.
Still, Novak said anything is possible.
“Hey, there’s nothing to stop him from getting on a boat and going to Bimini; it’s only 30 minutes away.”
Detectives are asking that anyone with information contact Novak at 954-828-5556.