A grieving sister's 40-year mission to track down and bring to justice the sailor who tortured and killed her brother
Penny says her family was ultimately denied justice as the murderer Silas Duane Boston died in prison shortly after being charged
Penny Farmer was a teenager when she heard about the murder of her brother and his girlfriend while they were on their round-the-world trip. Penny, 57, says her family was denied justice as the murderer Silas Duane Boston, who she tracked down on Facebook, died in prison shortly after being charged.
Penny says that she wanted to stand in the court and see the man who killed her brother be punished for his crimes but fate took that away from her and the family. "I was gutted, absolutely gutted. I thought we were going to see justice," she said. "I was ready to stand up in court and tell them what a monster he was. But he wouldn't even let us have that. It took quite a while to get over that. The game was up for him."
"I wouldn't like to say suicide but he did it for a reason and that was because he knew the game was up. It was really gutting," she added, reported Daily Mail. Penny's brother Christopher Farmer, and his girlfriend Peta Frampton, met Silas during their journey from Belize to Mexico. Silas had promised to drop them at their desired destination by taking them on as crew members on his 32ft wooden sailing boat.
However, the experience turned out to be a nightmare for them as they were tortured by Silas. They were beaten, bound and thrown into the sea, weighted down by heavy machine parts tied to them. For 38 years, Silas escaped the police but he was finally arrested in 2016, and he was charged with the murders of Christopher and Peta. Penny and her family pleaded with the court to hasten proceedings as her mother, Audrey, now 23, wanted justice to be served before she died.
The family was even willing to forego an entitlement to seek the death penalty in a bid to speed matters up. Despite their efforts, Silas managed to end things on his own terms as his deteriorating health issues due to years of alcohol abuse killed him in jail, just three weeks before Penny and Audrey were due to attend a pre-trial hearing. Within hours, Penny and Audrey, who were preparing to fly to the US for the trial were informed about the news.
"I'm sorry but four months in prison does not equate to justice in my book," she said. Silas was discovered after Penny decided to follow up the research work done by her father with regard to the case. Fortunately, she was able to track him down with the help of Facebook. Christopher's father Charles Farmer, a BBC journalist, started his own investigation to track down the couple's whereabouts after they stopped communicating.
He also hired a local man, Alphonso de Pena, to act as a private investigator. By January 1979, Alphonso tracked down the details of a priest just over the border in Guatemala where he found that the unidentified bodies of a young European couple had been pulled from the water 200 meters from the shore the previous year. After the private investigator's breakthrough, the bodies were flown across the Atlantic to confirm it was Christopher and Peta.
Initially, when Silas was questioned about the couple, he denied knowing what had happened to them. "Let me know if you hear anything about them," he reportedly said at that time. After this, Silas disappeared from the face of the earth while Charles died in 2013 at the age of 91 without getting to the bottom of the truth. It is then that Penny decided to carry on the investigation. She searched for Silas on Facebook and found him and his two sons. His children confessed that their father was a killer.
The two men said they had witnessed their father tie up the couple and toss them into the sea after Christopher had chided him for bullying his younger son aboard. The police then reopened the case and found that Silas was involved in the deaths of various people. Now, Penny has written a book 'Dead In The Water' about the crime and her efforts to get to that truth, which had remained secret for almost 40 years.
"First of all, I wanted it to be a lasting memorial to Chris and Peta who were two great people. They were so loved. There's not a day goes by we don't think about them. Secondly, you can't deny it's a truly remarkable story," she said. "It's the most incredible story which I wanted to be told accurately and truthfully and my family and I are part of that story. Why wouldn't I write it? It's my family's story to tell."