MIAMI – Federal authorities were questioning an Arkansas robbery suspect and a second man Tuesday after their rescue in the Florida Straits near Cuba. Four crew members who had been aboard a boat with the pair remained missing.
The fugitive was identified by the FBI as Kirby Logan Archer, 35, of Strawberry, Ark., and the second man as Guillermo Zarabozo, 19, of Hialeah. FBI spokeswoman Judy Orihuela said they were being questioned aboard a Coast Guard cutter about what happened on the boat.
Archer and Zarabozo were found in good condition Monday morning floating on a life raft. The two paid a crew of a Miami Beach charter boat $4,000 to drop them off in Bimini, Bahamas, where they said girls were waiting for them, authorities said.
They were headed toward Bimini, then half way through the trip turned south. "That leads us to believe that something happened at that time," Judge said.
The Joe Cool charter boat, a 47-foot sport fishing yacht, was found Sunday afternoon adrift near the Cay Sal Bank with no one on board.
A search continued Tuesday from just north of Cuba to the Bahamas and South Florida for the captain, Jake Branam, 27; his wife Kelley Branam; his half brother, Scott Campbell, 30; and Samuel Kairy, 27, all of Miami Beach.
Archer is accused of stealing $92,620 in cash from a Wal-Mart in Batesville, Ark., where he had worked as an assistant manager. The cash was found missing shortly after Archer left work on Jan. 26, according to a police wanted poster.
Independence County, Ark., Sheriff Keith Bowers said the assistant manager was brazen in getting the money out of the store, putting it in an empty microwave box.
"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," Bowers said.
Jeff Branam, Jake Branam's uncle, told The Miami Herald the boat crew 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.
Jake and Kelly Branam have two young children.