76-year-old US sailor Silas Duane Boston was accused of murdering British couple Dr Christopher Farmer and Peta Frampton on his boat in the Caribbean Sea in 1978


27 April 2017

A US boat skipper, who was facing two counts of first degree maritime murder, has died in prison.

Silas Duane Boston, 76, always denied killing Dr. Christopher Farmer, who was found dead along with his girlfriend, Peta Frampton in the Caribbean Sea in 1978.

The pair, who were travelling after graduating from the University of Manchester, are believed to have taken a trip on Boston’s boat.

The couple were found off the coast of Punta de Manabique, Caribbean Sea Guatemala. Credit: Javier Alvarez

The couple were found off the coast of Punta de Manabique, Guatemala. Credit: Javier Alvarez

At the time, the US sailor was operating out of Belize, running scuba diving and snorkelling excursions.

It is alleged that Boston had promised to take Christopher and Peta to Mexico but instead, Boston beat and stabbed Dr Farmer before tying him up. Frampton was also tied up before the pair were pushed overboard.

They were found on 8 July 1978 off the popular Punta de Manabique beach in Guatemala, and the case quickly became cold.

The break came when Sacramento detectives in the US re-looked into the 1968 disappearance of Boston’s wife, Mary Lou Boston.

Continued below…

According to court papers, while being interviewed by police about the disappearance of his mother, Boston’s oldest son, Vince, mentioned witnessing a violent brawl on his father’s boat. He was just 13 years old at the time.

Also on board was his 11-year-old younger brother.

A man and two boys on a boat in the Caribbean Sea

A 1978 photo of Dr. Christopher Farmer with the sons of Silas Duane Boston. U.S. District Court

According to the Sacramento Bee newspaper, in a court motion, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Matthew D. Segal, said that both of Boston’s sons were prepared to testify that their father had “tied up and weighted Dr. Christopher Farmer and Ms. Peta Frampton and cast them off his boat to drown in the Caribbean.”

Following Boston’s death, U.S Attorney Phillip A. Talbert released a statement which said: “Although the recent death of Silas Duane Boston will require us to dismiss the case against him, that dismissal in no way reflects our view of the evidence gathered in the course of our investigation. Our hearts go out to the victims’ surviving family members who were not able to see Boston brought to jury trial in this case.”

 

25 January 2017

The mother of Dr Christopher Farmer, who was found dead along with his girlfriend, Peta Frampton in the Caribbean Sea, is asking a judge to speed up the trial of Silas Duane Boston.

The 75-year-old sailor, who at the time operated out of Belize, is accused of murdering Dr Farmer and Frampton while they were on a boat trip with him during June or July 1978.

He has pleaded not guilty to the two counts of first degree maritime murder.

Dr Farmer and Frampton, who were both in their mid-20s, were travelling after graduating from university.

Their bodies were found 200 metres off the popular Punta de Manabique beach in Guatemala.

They had both been tied up and weighed down.

Now, Audrey Farmer, 92, has written asking a federal district judge to speed up Boston’s trial.

According to the Sacramento Bee newspaper, Audrey Farmer’s letter, along with one from her daughter, are part of a court motion filed by the Assistant United States Attorney Matthew D. Segal seeking a trial for Boston within six months.

In it she wrote: “My husband and I were very much involved in the search for them (Farmer and Frampton) and we did all we could to establish how, why and who killed them.”

“It was a matter of great sadness that my husband, Charles, died three years ago never knowing the truth surrounding their deaths and that the murderer was never brought to justice.”

“I am myself now 92 years old and Duane Boston is 75. Taking all of this into account, there may be little time left for justice to be seen,” she added.

Boston’s public defender, attorney Lexi Negin argued that the defence needs extensive time for prepare his case, and that Boston, who has  arthritis and other health issues, is not getting the care he needs in Sacramento County Jail.

The judge has not yet ruled on a trial date, but has said that “both sides can anticipate this trial will take place this year”.

The case was adjourned until 14 February 2017.

 

12 December 2016

A 75-year-old sailor has been charged with two counts of first degree maritime murder following the deaths of Dr Christopher Farmer and Peta Frampton on a boat in the Caribbean Sea in 1978.

The bodies of the couple, who were both in their mid-20s, were discovered 200 metres off the popular Punta de Manabique beach in Guatemala.

They had both been tied up and weighed down.

According to court documents, Dr Farmer and Frampton, who were taking a year out travelling after graduating university, had taken an excursion on Silas Duane Boston’s boat in June or July 1978.

The American sailor operated out of Belize, running scuba diving and snorkelling excursions.

Boston had promised to take the couple to Mexico but instead, it is alleged that Boston beat and stabbed Dr Farmer before tying him up. Frampton was also tied up before the pair were pushed overboard.

They were found on 8 July 1978, and the case quickly became cold.

Punta de Manabique beach, Caribbean Sea in Guatemala

The couple’s bodies were found 200 metres off Punta de Manabique beach in Guatemala

The break came during a cold case investigation into the 1968 disappearance of Boston’s Wife, Mary Lou Boston, by Sacramento detectives.

According to court papers, while Boston’s son was being interviewed by the police he mentioned witnessing a violent brawl on his father’s boat. He was just 13 years old at the time.

Boston, who was arrested in a convalescence home in the town of Paradise, California, appeared before a judge in Sacramento Federal Court on 8 December 2016.

Sitting in a wheelchair, the 75-year-old pleaded not guilty to the charges of murdering Farmer and Frampton on a boat in the Caribbean Sea.

The case was adjourned until 10 January 2017.