New evidence questions S. Fla. multi-millionaire's death

By Roger Lohse, Reporter, rlohse@Local10.com
Published On: Jun 28 2012 10:22:11 PM EDT
Updated On: Jun 29 2012 03:02:02 PM EDT
Guma Aguiar
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -

New details about the apparent death of a South Florida multi-millionaire are raising questions about whether he is really dead.

Is Guma Aguiar's body floating somewhere in the Gulfstream or is the 35-year-old businessman in a faraway place hiding from the people and lawsuits that were threatening to take his $100 million fortune?

In court on Thursday, Aguiar’s wife’s attorney revealed GPS data recovered from Aguiar's boat, which washed ashore early last Wednesday morning. It shows the vessel made a series of questionable maneuvers before it began to drift.

Last Tuesday evening, Aguiar left his Rio Vista Isles home in his 31-foot fishing boat and, despite a small craft advisory, ventured out to sea alone.

Attorney Bill Scherer said it appears the boat traveled three miles east, went north to Sunrise and suddenly came to a halt.

"He took it out of gear. Boats can go out of gear, turned it around first, then took it out of gear, pointed it back towards the beach, and there the boat sat for about five minutes at zero miles an hour and then it drifted until it was beached until about 1:15 in the morning," Scherer said.

The details were revealed at a hearing over who should control Aguiar’s fortune. It’s between his wife, who wanted a divorce, and his mother, who publicly said her son was dead while crews were still searching for his body.

Authorities presume Aguiar either committed suicide or fell off his boat in the rough sea and drowned.

However, Scherer questioned what happened at sea during the five minutes the boat was sitting idle, before it started to drift.

"If Guma Aguiar indeed died as his mother said within hours of his disappearance, notwithstanding the facts which look like it was staged," Scherer told the judge.

After the hearing, Local 10 caught up with Aguiar's mother, Ellen Aguiar, who said, "Without the evidence of a body, we are all hoping that Guma will come back. To say I'm not hysterical in court, I haven't eaten for a week. This is really my beloved son, it's a horrible situation. We've suffered for a long time to see him distressed and to see what he was under. I mean, it has been a devastation. The attacks on my character and on my son's are devastating at this time. There is no truth to anything that was said in the courtroom about me. We just want to see him back and we want unity amongst the family."

She then referred to the four young children her son shared with his wife.

"The conservatorship was our attempt to see the status quo was maintained for Jamie and her children," she said.

The couple's children range in age from infant to 7 years old.

When asked about what she thought happened to her son, Ellen Aguiar answered, "I know what you know. I know that he went out on his boat and the boat came back and he didn't. And I know he went out distraught about many of the things that were happening and beyond that I don't know, I don't know."

Scherer argued that Aguiar bankrolled his mother's posh lifestyle.

"His mother is an enabler of his bizarre behavior, including to dissipating the family's assets to $80 to $100 million," he said.

He also thought it was peculiar that Ellen Aguiar did not show more emotion.

"Why did mom go to CNN the day after? Why did mom say he was dead? It's my understanding there should be ten days of bereavement and we are not even at the tenth day, yet I don't think of the Jewish faith. If he's really dead of course, he's not really dead yet because it hasn't been declared so. We are going to be in chaos and uncertainty for a long time," Scherer added.

Scherer also countered claims that his client, Jamie, and her husband were on the cusp of divorce.

When asked if the couple were estranged, he quickly replied, "No, they were living together."

He added that they exchanged love e-mails and text messages to each other up until, "the day he left and got on the boat."

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