Guma Aguiar, oil tycoon, was discovered missing after his boat washed ashore with engines running, police say
(CBS/AP) FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Police have ended their search for a troubled Brazilian-born oil tycoon Guma Aguiar, 35, whose fishing boat washed up uninhabited on a south Florida beach last week.
Surveillance video from a South Florida port showed Aguiar steering his boat into rough seas less than 30 minutes after leaving his home. It is the last image of the man, whose friends said he suffered from severe bipolar disorder and seemed troubled and confused shortly before his disappearance.
"I just stare at those pictures of him on that boat and can't help but be struck by the symbolism of him on a vessel by himself in rocky seas, fighting a world that he probably felt like was crashing down on him," said Wes Shelton, a close family friend.
Police had been reviewing the boat's GPS and Aguiar's cell phone, which was on the boat when it washed ashore in Fort Lauderdale with its engines still running Wednesday. Police found no blood on the boat and no evidence of foul play. They called off the search on Thursday.
Aguiar made a fortune in 2006 when the Texas-based energy company he ran with his uncle was sold for a reported $2.5 billion. But he has been locked in a contentious legal battle with his uncle, Thomas Kaplan, over money.
"The lawsuits were taking a major toll on him. Emotionally. Mentally. He was completely spent," said Bob Denison, a 35-year-old yacht broker who met Aguiar in high school.
Shelton said Aguiar struggled for years with his mental health and was admitted to psychiatric hospitals several times.
Aguiar's wife, Jamie, filed a domestic violence order against him last summer. A short time later, he filed for dissolution of marriage, but both were voluntarily dismissed, according to court documents.
Life for the tycoon seemed to be turning around this year, according to friends. Aguiar was seeking treatment for bipolar disorder and was spending more time with his family, fishing and attending soccer games. Not long before his disappearance, the family vacationed in the Florida Keys.
Friends said Jamie Aguiar desperately tried to create a peaceful home life for her husband and wasn't interested in big houses or cars. They married in 2006 before he made his fortune.
"That was all Jamie wanted for him," said Shelton. "I think Jamie was really hopeful that the old Guma would come back."
But Aguiar's mother, Ellen Aguiar, alleged that Jamie told her son that she wanted a divorce shortly before he disappeared. Ellen's attorney Richard Baron said Tuesday that Aguiar told his mother "just before he got on his boat that Jamie told him she wanted a divorce."
Jamie has declined interview requests. They have four children who range in age from 10 months to 7 years.
Prior to the allegations, Ellen filed court documents to gain control of her son's nearly $100 million estate while rescuers were still searching the water for his body. She amended her petition Monday and is now asking a neutral third party to take control.
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