Last July, Nathan Carman's aunts sued him. The "slayer action" was designed to keep the man, in his early 20s, from inheriting millions in the wake of the deaths of his maternal grandfather and mother—with his aunts accusing him of murdering that grandfather. James D. Walsh takes a deep dive into the family's life, and the deaths, for New York magazine. Real estate developer John Chakalos was found with bullets in his head and back in 2013. The case hasn't been solved, and there are bits of circumstantial evidence: Police, for instance, discovered Carman failed to tell them about a $3,000 gun that matched the caliber of the one that shot the 87-year-old; Carman said he'd forgotten about the gun and had lost it. As for Linda Carman's death, she set out on a fishing trip with her son off Rhode Island in September 2016. Seven days later, only Nathan Carman was found in a life raft.
Walsh's story is rife with details that paint a fuller picture of Carman, who has Asperger's, lived for a time in an RV in his mom's driveway, dressed almost exclusively in galoshes, and was incredibly close to this grandfather, who doted on him—buying him an Irish sport horse as a child, for instance. Walsh digs into a "psychotic episode" he had in school in the wake of the horse's death (he was so distressed he ceased talking to his mother, using notes as a means of communication), and how he returned from a behavioral-correction camp in Idaho seemingly improved. And then the fateful boat trip and Carman's "gap-toothed story" about what happened. Walsh talks to witnesses and survival experts who say his condition was remarkably and confusingly good after being adrift for a week, for instance. Read Walsh's full story here for more on what's known and the theories that have surfaced. (Read more Longform stories.)