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Grandson a ‘person of interest’ in elderly man’s disappearance

By Staff | Nov 1, 2011

The Cape Coral police have classified a 24-year-old man as a “person of interest” in the recent disappearance of his grandfather.

Garrett Kern and his grandfather, James Arthur, 80, both of 3519 S.W. 29th Ave., were last seen Thursday when Arthur reportedly drove Kern to a probation appointment. Police had previously reported that the two had not showed up for the appointment.

According to police, Kern was seen later Thursday afternoon at BA Hustlers Pool Hall on Santa Barbara Boulevard South. He was driving his grandfather’s vehicle – a 2010 Volvo S80 sedan – but Arthur was not present with him.

Kern reportedly made statements to people present at the pool hall that gave rise to concern for the welfare of his grandfather.

The Volvo bears the Florida tag A057QX.

On Sunday, Cape police searched Caloosa Lake and the wooded area surrounding it on foot. They used cadaver dogs and searched the lake with boats. The state preserve area adjacent to the lake was also searched.

“This area was searched because investigators learned that Garrett Kern liked to visit this area recreationally throughout his life,” Lt. Tony Sizemore, the spokesman for the Cape police, wrote Monday in a prepared statement.

“The search, however, turned up no leads,” he continued.

Kern was raised by the Arthurs and has been with them since he was 3.

On Friday, the Cape police announced that someone who they believe to be Kern attempted to use one of Arthur’s credit cards at 5 a.m. at a gas station in Gainesville. The card – used to buy gas – was declined.

Police believed Kern was out of money somewhere in the Gainesville area.

Anyone with information can contact the Cape Coral Police Department at 574-3223, or submit a tip by texting “CCPD” plus the message to CRIMES or by visiting: www.capecops.com. Tipsters can also contact Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers at (800) 780-TIPS (8477) and be eligible for a cash reward.