Two Young California Boys Forced To Watch Their Father Kill Couple During Sailboat Trip
“Even now, we don’t know the full extent of what he’s done,” the son of Silas “Duane” Boston says.
A boy from California watched his father commit a double murder in a foreign country, and it would take him decades before he could get anyone to take his story seriously.
“You can’t pick your family members… I had the worst dad,” Vince Boston says of Silas “Duane” Boston, a charming but manipulative man he describes as “almost a Ted Bundy type.”
“You don’t want to believe your dad’s a monster,” Vince notes, adding, “Even now, we don’t know the full extent of what he’s done.”
In 1977, a British couple — Chris Farmer, a 25-year-old doctor, and 24-year-old attorney Peta Frampton — left Manchester and embarked on a trip to explore the world together. By summer 1978, the two had reached Central America, where they met Duane Boston in Belize. Hoping to start an excursion business, Duane offered to give them a ride on his sailboat from Belize to Honduras.
Also onboard the vessel were Duane’s two young boys, Vince and Russell. Duane had been raising the children since his wife and their mother, Mary Lou Boston, was reported missing in 1968.
Duane turned on the charm at the start of the trip and everyone got along — but the mood began to shift. According to Vince, his dad enjoyed drinking rum and would get abusive when he was drunk. One day during the journey, Duane was drinking and began to beat his son Russell. Farmer and Frampton told him to stop and Duane tried to take a swing at Farmer but missed, leaving him feeling humiliated.
“You could see the storm brewing,” Vince says of the fight’s aftermath. “We knew that the party was over. They kind of knew that he didn’t want them on that boat anymore.”
According to Vince, his father spent the following days and weeks plotting the couple’s cold-blooded murders.
When the group reached Guatemala, Vince recalls that his father told Farmer to pull up the anchor. When the young medic complied, Duane repeatedly struck him over the head with a wooden baton. He then threatened to shoot Frampton with a speargun.
“My dad took some rope and tied up Chris, and then he went back and tied up Peta in the galley,” Vince says, explaining Duane told him his job was to keep an eye on Frampton to make sure she didn’t escape.
With the couple held captive, Duane sailed the boat away from land and into deeper waters. He then threw the two overboard with weights tied to their bodies. “I remember watching the bubbles when they were going down,” Vince says.
After several minutes elapsed, Vince says his father looked at his digital watch and declared Farmer and Frampton dead. “It’s hard to process,” Vince says of witnessing the couple’s killings. “It’s like having a nightmare and you just can’t wake up and you have no control over it… We were trapped onboard with a psychopath.”
Duane sold the boat and fled with his sons from Belize back to the United States. Four days after the murders, Farmer and Frampton’s bodies were discovered by fishermen, but their identities remained a mystery — until nearly 40 years later.
After returning to the States, Vince knew he had to get away from his father, and he joined the Navy at age 17. He cut off communication with Duane and says once he felt safe, he tried to report his father to Scotland Yard as well as to authorities in Guatemala and Belize. “I couldn’t get any traction at all,” Vince says of continuing for years to get someone to listen and follow up on his disturbing tale.
Vince eventually was able to find someone who would listen. Around 2010, the Sacramento police reopened his mother’s missing persons case. Meanwhile, investigators in the United Kingdom began taking a second look at Farmer and Frampton’s decades-old case.
On Dec. 1, 2016, law enforcement officials had enough information to arrest Duane and charge him with two counts of first-degree maritime murder. While awaiting trial, terminally ill Duane stopped taking his medication and eating.
Before their father eventually died, Russell asked how many people he had killed. Duane’s response, says Vince: “Well, I think it’s about 33, that’s as many as I remember.”
Duane is also suspected of killing his wife, Mary Lou, in 1968. He refused to let his sons know before his death where their mother’s remains were located.
“It’s not easy to deal with; it makes me sick to my stomach,” Vince says. “It makes me rethink all of those questions: What could I have done? Could I have done something different?”
For more on this case, tune into Evil Lives Here: “Murder At Sea” on Aug. 27 at 9/8c on ID, or stream on Max.
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