It's been almost 20 years since Chuck Muer, his wife and two friends disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle.
Chuck Muer was a VERY successful rennovator of historical buildings and restauranteur. He was from Michigan and had many high profile restaurants in SE Michigan. Yesterday I photographed one of Chuck's greatest rennovations, the Gandy Dancer in Ann Arbor. Read that story here..
While I was working on that story I wondered whatever became of the search for Muer who's 40 ft boat disappeared on a trip from the Bahamas to Jupiter Florida in 1993.
Talk about a COLD case...I can't find a photo of his boat "Charley's Crab". Can't find a photo of Chuck and his wife...weird... A week after the disappearance this case totally dropped off the radar. They searched for him and his party as peenie wallie humorously describes..
They never found a trace from the wreck, and they searched like it mattered. They mounted a massive search and rescue operation, because the guy was as rich as Croesus, so they searched for him like it mattered. This wasn't a Coast Guard search for a Haitian clinging to a palm tree in the Gulf Stream. This was a "Holy Shit a jillionaire is missing calling-all-cars search-and-rescue" and they never found a trace of him. Nada.
Chuck is famous for leaving his sales job at IBM and jumping into building restaurants.
That decision, resulted in a restaurant empire that grosses more than $60 million annually. The Pittsburgh/Lake Erie train station became the 500-seat Grand Concourse (above), his single biggest money-maker.
Then the unthinkable happened...Chuck, his wife, Betty, and their friends, George and Lynn Drummey, disappeared at sea when a monster storm pummeled the East Coast. His red-hulled 40-foot Charley`s Crab was last seen on March 12, 1993 sailing northwest from the Bahamas, apparently en route to Jupiter, where it was due on March 13. They never made it to port...
LANTANA -- At 4:25 a.m. March 13, 1993, a call came into the 911 emergency center in Palm Beach County.
An operator took the call, but could hear nothing. Nothing but the crackle of static.
The weather had been clear and calm two days earlier when Charles and Betty Muer, joined by lifelong friends George and Lynn Drummey, set sail from the Bahamas for the trip back to Florida. Now, in the early morning darkness,they were losing a desperate battle against 30-foot seas and winds of 70 miles an hour.
At 4:27 a.m., a second call to the 911 center. Again, nothing. Nothing but static.
It was the last anyone would hear from Charley's Crab.
20 years later, no trace of the 40-foot ketch or its four occupants has ever been found. They remain unaccounted for -- presumed victims of the "Storm of the Century."
Crew members aboard a Coast Guard Falcon jet were among the last to see the Charley`s Crab. The jet, on routine patrol, flew over the boat at 2:45 p.m. March 12 as the Charley`s Crab headed northwest from Chub Cay toward the Great Isaac Light, a light tower used as a local landmark on the western edge of the Bahamas.
The location of the boat ``would have put it on a track headed home,`` Coast Guard spokesman Joe Dye said.
The Charley`s Crab also had been seen the previous day, March 11, at Chub Cay.
He came in, he circled around the marina, and he went back out,`` said Gerreth Roberts, dock master at the Chub Cay Club Marina.
The last time anyone on the boat was heard from was on March 11 when George Drummey called his son from Nassau, Mari Muer said. ``He just said, `We`re in Nassau; see you on Saturday,``` she said.
Muer, a skilled sailor, apparently left only a general itinerary with his business associates and seven children. He sailed from Florida on March 2 or 3, and his wife and the others flew to meet him in Paradise Island. They were to sail from Nassau to Chub Cay in the Berry Islands chain and leave there on March 11 for Jupiter.
Sailors at Chub Cay said Muer might have thought the weather would be much less severe than it was, based on forecasts received on March 11.
``Nobody expected that severe a storm,`` said Donald Farrar, of Connecticut, who weathered the storm in his 26-foot Snapdragon off Chub Cay. ``The forecast was for 30 to 40 knots, with occasional gusts. Nobody expected 70 to 80 knots. It was a wicked thing.` Read More
This is for Retro Kimmer...
Chuck Muer was my first culinary hero. At 10 years old in 1964, my father took me to his friend who lived next to Charley's Crab on Pine Lake (before it burned down). I was mesmerized by all the cars and beautiful people who valet parked and enjoyed his restaurant on a warm summers evening. When I moved to West Bloomfield in 1984, Muer had a restaurant at Maple and Orchard Lake Roads. "Mussels a la Muer, Teacup Bread with Honey Cinnamon Butter, and Crab Stuffed Flounder" were but a few of his trademark recipes.
I met him several times at this location, always cordial and dressed in his signature bow tie. 20 years ago this March, he and Betty were lost at sea (along with George and Lynn Drummey of the Drummey Oldsmobile dealership fame).
The family published two cookbooks posthumously which I bought and truly treasure. One has a picture of Chuck and his beautiful wife Betty which I share here. His passing ended a hallmark in the Detroit restaurant establishment that has been rarely duplicated since. Michael McDaniel