According to authorities, Paul Martikainen kidnapped his three-year old son, Luke Finch, escaping in a sailboat. Cocoa Beach police have reported that witnesses saw the two get into a 32-foot Bristol sailboat at Salt Creek Marina in St. Petersburg, Florida. They said the boy did not seem scared. Acquaintances of the man are worried about both father and son, saying that Martikainen has no sailing experience. According to other boaters at the marina, it is impossible for one person to sail a boat and watch a child at the same time, even for an experienced boater.
Martikainen purchased the boat less than a month ago, saying that he was buying it for someone else, and was going to fix it up and then transport it to Arkansas; he appeared to be living in the boat while he was working on it. Martikainen had further drawn attention to himself around the marina by asking other boaters how to tie different types of sailing knots. Some of the other boaters encouraged him to take sailing lessons after he told them he was going to take the boat out after Thanksgiving.
Luke was reported missing during a supervised visit with his father. He apparently slipped away from the court-appointed supervisor while they were hanging out in a Cocoa park. The supervision was ordered because of earlier allegations that Martikainen was abusing the child. An Amber alert brought in tips that helped police track Martikainen’s vehicle to the marina. Authorities believe the abduction was planned, noting that Martikainen had painted the boat gray, both to cover identifying marks and to make it hard to spot in the ocean.
Police are asking anyone with information on the missing boy to call 321-639-7620 or 911. Read more about the details behind the abduction at At St. Petersburg marina, boaters worry about father, son.
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