TV series to portray life, murder of Captain Fredy
The crew was looking to bring some color to Fredy, someone other than family who had known him. That wouldn't be hard – Fredy was colorful.
Ivan Lazic from Arrow Media reached me on my cell. He was calling from London. He wanted to hear how I met Captain Fredy.
I met Fredy about 10 years ago on a warm June morning while out rowing on the bay. The sun had just risen. The bay was calm. I know the area and was surprised to see an unfamiliar boat anchored offshore from our house in Conimicut. It looked lived in. Clothing hung from the lifelines along with plastic water jugs. The main sail was loosely tied and the hatch was open.
"Anyone aboard?" I called out. A shaggy head popped up.
"How did you know my name?"
"I don't," I replied.
"Well, I'm Captain Fredy," he declared with authority.
I told my story to Ivan. He said he would be in Providence the following week and asked if I would be available for an on-camera interview. I was one of several he wanted to get on camera as they told the story of how Warwick Police solved the case of Fredy's murder and the two men responsible ended up behind bars.
I was one of many who crossed paths with Fredy and came to consider him one of those people who enriches life.
My first encounter with Captain Fredy was the beginning of his unannounced summer visits. He was a free spirit, a seafaring vagabond who loved the independence of his boat. It was his home, his fishing platform, the place where he listened to the Red Sox and his means of getting around.
He would just appear, and I would either row out or he'd come ashore to catch up on the news since his last visit.
The film crew wanted to hear all those details and more. They asked about the last time I saw Fredy, which I believe was two days before he was murdered. I spotted him paddling ashore to meet a friend who was waiting on the beach at the end of Blake Street. Fredy was excited. He had won about $400 playing Keno and talked about finally buying an outboard he could depend on. The one he had was nine-horsepower and temperamental.
I congratulated him on renovations he had made to his 26-foot sailboat, with the addition of a boarding platform. It didn't surprise me. Fredy made do with what he had. The platform had been salvaged from a marina dumpster.
I learned of his ingenuity on his first visit a decade ago. He told me the story of sailing a 20-foot sailboat from Westerly to the Florida Keys. He had never sailed and he didn't have the money to outfit the craft he bought for $500 saved from government assistance. He had chosen to leave Rhode Island to spend the winter in Florida. He bought a tarp and, using duct tape, made it into a sail.
I told his story in the Beacon and updated readers on successive adventures when, like the cormorants, he would return to Conimicut to anchor offshore for as long as he felt compelled.
So, I wasn't concerned when I didn't see Fredy's boat the day after meeting on the beach. But when I learned from Councilman Ed Ladouceur that the harbormaster had found a body on a boat moored off Warwick Neck and that it was a yellow sailboat, I had little doubt it was my friend Captain Fredy.