US marshals are continuing the hunt for an Inverness busker and street trader who was reported missing off the California coast.
Kim Gordon, 54, was said to have gone for an evening swim in a “dangerous” stretch of water at Monastery Beach in Carmel.
His 17 year old son Reuben alerted Monterey County police to say he did not return to shore, and a comprehensive search ensued.
But US officials now believe he did not go swimming at all and may still be alive.
Reuben was taken into protective custody during the rescue operation and is now home with his American step-mother Chachetona Bee at their home near Bunchrew. Neither he nor Ms Bee would comment yesterday.
Monterey County Sheriff’s Office captain John Thornburg said dive teams searched the water for two days but found no trace of the missing man.
“The whole thing started on February 25, which was a Monday,” he said.
“We got a 911 call saying that he had gone swimming off one of our beaches and hadn’t returned.
“This was 7.15pm, which was a little unusual to go swimming because it was dark.
“At that time we treated it as a missing person, as a swimmer in distress, so the fire department, the sheriff’s office and state parks began searching.
“Monastery Beach is the area where he was reported to have gone. It’s a very dangerous beach, getting out of the water is very difficult.”
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He said when the incident was further examined it began to be treated as suspicious.
“We’ve got to a point now that we don’t believe he went into the ocean, we don’t think he went swimming,” he said.
Gordon, believed to have moved to the area some years ago from England, has been a well-known face for years as a busker and vendor of jewellery in Inverness High Street.
He’s known for raising money for charities including Highland Hospice and often took part in the Loch Ness charity swims.
In 1996 he raised £300 in a day in aid of refugees from Kosovo by busking in the town centre.
In 2006 he became the hero of the hour helping staff at the Halifax Bank of Scotland branch on the High Street who found themselves unable to get into the property as the door had been kicked in overnight and jammed shut.
Gordon attached a rope on to the jammed door and then on to his van and he managed to haul open the doors.
He said at the time: “It took some effort. It’s the first time I’ve broken into a bank with the staff there to help me.”
A Foreign Office spokesman said: “Our staff are assisting the family of a British man who is missing in the United States and are in touch with the local authorities”.