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Daily Israel Report

Guma Aguiar, Still Missing, Left Tefillin on Boat

The case of the missing pro-Israel millionaire Guma Aguiar remains unsolved, but police revealed his tefillin were found on his boat.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 9/3/2012, 9:36 PM

Guma Aguiar
Guma Aguiar
Israel news photo: Flash 90

The case of missing pro-Israel multi-millionaire Guma Aguiar remains unsolved, but police revealed his tefillin, used for morning prayers, were found on his boat.

Aguiar was last seen getting on his private boat in bad weather on the evening of June 19. He officially is listed as missing, and there is no conclusive evidence that he committed suicide, but it is known he suffered from mental problems.

The Coast Guard security log, published by the Palm Beach Sun-Sentinel after it obtained the information under the Freedom of Information Act, recorded, “Security cameras caught him leaving his house with a purpose" and "not in a good frame of mind due to financial [sic].

“Jewish prayer book [sic] – not usually there" and "Argument w/wife over divorce//left watch, wedding ring.” meaning that Aguiar left his wedding ring and watch at home and took his tefillin – phylacteries – with him on the boat.

The log also stated, "All PFDs (life jackets) accounted for."

U.S. Coast Guard personnel, who carried out a 70-hour aerial and sea search for Aguiar, also noted that he had been "on medication for depression.”

The 35-year-old investor was last seen steering his boat into six-foot swells.

Commander Darren Caprara, chief of response for U.S. Coast Guard Sector Miami, was quoted by the Sun-Sentinel as saying that the discovery of the tefillin "is just another lead. It could have meant he had a resounding desire to live, and was a highly spiritual person.

"The only facts we had were GPS coordinates. We saw him on camera, getting on a boat and we knew where it went and where it beached itself without him."

Aguiar's boat floated on to a Fort Lauderdale beach with its engines running five hours after he left home.

"We don't truly know where something went wrong," Caprara said. "We ask hundreds of questions to try and get any small detail to aid our search. What we are really trying to get to is what he could have done out there."

Aguiar's mother Ellen told the newspaper, "I can only speculate that when he left the house, he was upset and took things that gave him solace.”

Aguiar’s marital relations were not smooth, but the Coast Guard’s reference to a pending “divorce” was not correct. His wife Jamie had requested a divorce approximately an hour before he boarded his boat, attorney Richard Baron told ABC News in June.

"I'm of the belief that that's what pushed him over the deep end. He loved his wife. He did not want a divorce,” he said.

She also had filed for divorce a year ago, but the couple did not proceed to advance a legal separation.

Aguiar was born in Brazil and raised as a Christian but returned to his Jewish roots about 10 years ago. He has been a generous supporter of Jewish causes, particularly in Israel, where he is a strong donor to many Torah institutions and is credited with saving the HaPoel Jerusalem soccer team.