• BREAKING NEWS ABC shows live and on-demand -- Download the WATCH ABC app!

Coast Guard searching for missing man

February 20, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
The U.S. Coast Guard provided assistance Wednesday in the search for a 71-year-old Phoenix man who disappeared under mysterious circumstances. Bob Vendrick, a retired computer programer, checked into the Marina Inn in Dana Point Friday.

A receipt shows that the 71-year-old bought a windbreaker for an unexpected boat trip with his business partner Gary Shawkey. The Phoenix resident has not been heard from since.

Authorities found his clothes, medication and his laptop in his hotel room. His rental vehicle was found at a nearby dock. He was due back in Phoenix Sunday, but never showed up.

His business partner has become a person of interest.

"Mr. Shawkey did say that himself and Mr. Vendrick did board in Dana Point. From that point on I cannot release any further statements. We can place them on a boat leaving Dana Point," said Jim Amormino of the Orange County Sheriff's Department.

Authorities located the 23 foot sailboat, called the Odyssey, that Vendrick and Shawkey purchased together. Police found the boat in Long Beach Tuesday night. Shortly after Shawkey, 44, turned himself in for questioning.

Vendrick's family says that the two men have been business partners for two years.

Authorities say that Vendrick invested more than $1 million in a secretive government deal. He even borrowed $40,000 from his younger brother. It was wired to an account owned by Shawkey.

His family says that Vendrick was taking a boat ride to San Clemente Island to meet with government officials to seal the deal.

"He had $60,000 and he talked me into wiring him $40,000. So that made $100,000 and it was wired to a Wells Fargo bank in Laguna Niguel," said Fred Vendrick, brother.

So far authorities do not know where the money is. Shawkey who claims to be a motivational speaker runs several internet based companies.

Officials say that he is being investigated by federal authorities for his alleged money making schemes. They are now examining Shawkey's statements looking for clues to help find Vendrick.

"We do not want anything to happen to him. He is just so special," said Dodi Vendrick, sister-in-law.

The U.S. Coast Guard has deployed patrol boats in the search of Vendrick, Amormino said.

 

Click here for more headlines from ABC7 Eyewitness News


Load Comments