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Search continues for missing man

February 26, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
New questions and possible new clues in the search for a missing Phoenix businessman.Authorities Tuesday searched for a 1983 Honda outboard motor. The motor was on the 23-foot sailboat, the Odyssey, purchased by Gary Shawkey and his business partner Bob Vendrick.

Bob Vendrick, a 71-year-old Phoenix resident, was reported missing nine days ago.

"Mr. Shawkey indicated that he purchased the boat on February 14. The boat was in the water, but the next day the engine broke and he needed a new engine," said Jim Amormino of the Orange County Sheriff's Department.

Shawkey, a person of interest in the case, bought a new engine February 15. He purchased the engine from West Marine. A salesman then gave Shawkey a ride to his boat.

"I took him down and I helped him unload the engine. At that time he looked down and saw that there was another engine on the boat," said John Cameron, West Marine.

Last week divers searched the dock area after Shawkey told investigators that he left behind the old engine. They did not find the engine, but instead found an anchor at an undisclosed location.

They are trying to determine if it belonged to the Odyssey, which was found in Long Beach a week ago with a new anchor.

According to John Cameron's co-worker, he saw Shawkey and Vendrick on the boat in Dana Point Harbor Friday afternoon.

One salesman says that Shawkey told him he was taking a trip to the island.

Vendrick's brother says that he believes that the retired computer programer was travelling to San Clemente Island to seal a secret government deal.

Vendrick had invested more than a million dollars. Investigators say that they do not believe that they made it there. Boat experts also say that it would of been a difficult trip on the Odyssey.

"In a 23-foot sailboat that is not a fun ride. It is not a fun ride unless you are a avid sailor," said Cameron.

According to a worker at a fueling dock the two seemed inexperienced. They did not know what type of gas to use for the boat. Shawkey bought about $10 of fuel. Vendrick was driving the boat when they left.

Authorities say that Shawkey told them that he drove Vendrick back to a dock in Dana Point an dropped him off.

"He stated that Mr. Vendrick was feeling uncomfortable on the boat," said Amormino.

Vendrick has not been see since.

Divers have searched five areas in Dana Point Harbor. Amormino said visibility was only 18 inches in the water which is about 1,015-feet deep in that area.

If you have any information regarding the disappearance of Bob Vendrick or the boat's missing outboard motor please call the Orange County Sheriff's Department at (714) 628-7170.

 

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