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Boater Missing a Week Found Alive Off East Coast; Mom Still Missing

Officials said the chances the mother survived are minimal.

Linda Carmen is still missing. (Published Monday, Sept. 26, 2016)

One of two boaters from Middletown, Connecticut, who was missing for a week was found alive at sea on a life raft, but the Coast Guard is not continuing the search for his mother, who is still missing.

Nathan Carman, 22, and his mother, 54-year-old Linda Carman, were reported missing Sept. 18 after heading out in the boat Chicken Pox and failing to return from a fishing trip off Point Judith, Rhode Island.

On Sunday afternoon, a China-based freighter called Orient Lucky spotted a life raft 115 nautical miles off Martha's Vineyard, found Nathan Carman inside of it and picked him up, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

Nathan, a Middletown native who has been living in Vermont, was wearing a life vest and had an emergency bag of food and water. But there was still no sign of Linda Carman.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Nicole Groll said during a news conference on Monday that the chances of Linda Carman surviving are minimal.

"Unfortunately the decision to suspend a case is never an easy one and we will not be reopening the search for Linda Carman at this time due to the fact that survivability -- we're beyond that point," Groll said.

Signs have been placed outside Linda Carman's home that ask people to "Never Give Up."

She said the Coast Guard took into consideration the weather, water temperature, the fact that Linda Carman was unprotected from the elements and had no food and water. The only one life raft aboard the Chicken Pox was the one Nathan had so his mother would not have access to one. 

"The likelihood of her being alive is minimal," Groll said.

Nathan Carman spoke briefly with the Coast Guard and told them the motorized boat the mother and son were in started taking on water off the coast of New York on Sunday, in an area called Block Canyon.

Nathan went looking for his mother to get in the life raft, but he couldn't find her, according to the Coast Guard.  

Nathan is due to arrive in Boston sometime n Tuesday night. 

The Coast Guard search included an area near Block Island and it expanded through 62,000 square miles, from the coast of Rhode Island to New York and as far as New Jersey.

Sharon Hartstein, who has been friends with Linda for more than 20 years, said Linda let her know she would be leaving Ram’s Point Marina in Point Judith early on the morning of Sunday, Sept. 18, and they were supposed to come back later that day. They went out in a 31-foot aluminum fishing boat named the Chicken Pox, The Associated Press reported.

She showed us the last text messages between her and Linda: “So she sent this email Friday, I mean text message, saying that they were going from ‘Rams Point around 1 [a.m. Sunday], back by 9 [a.m. Sunday]. Call me 12 noon if you don’t hear from me. Thanks for being there.’”

Nathan – who suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome -- was the center of a 2011 investigation when he went missing and was found in Virginia.

A friend of the family said on Sunday that Nathan is in good condition.