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Scotsman facing rape charges may have faked death off California coast, officials say

Scotsman facing rape charges may have faked death off California coast, officials say
Waves break at Monastery Beach, with the Chapel of the Carmelite Monastery in the background, in Carmel in this 2013 file photo. A Scotsman was reported missing from the treacherous beach last week, but officials now think the man faked his own death. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

After days of searching, investigators think a Scotsman who reportedly vanished after diving into the waters off Carmel may have faked his own death to evade justice in his native country, where he stands accused of multiple rape charges, authorities said.

A week ago, divers repeatedly scoped the picturesque Monastery Beach looking for Kim Gordon, a Scottish tourist, after his 17-year-old son told a harrowing story of his father vanishing into the waves of the Pacific Ocean the night of Feb. 25. The teen said his father went into the ocean about 7:15 p.m. at the beach, which is known for treacherously strong currents.

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Dubbed “Mortuary Beach” by some, the number of deaths at Monastery has been so high, special fences have been installed in recent years to keep people out.

When teams from the U.S. Coast Guard and the state Parks Department using a drone and a helicopter didn’t find a body in the deep waters after several days of searching, Monterey County Sheriff’s Department investigators began to dig into the background of the Edinburgh-area man and found he was due to be tried on two dozen counts of rape.

His son’s story began to fray within hours of his report, authorities said. Sheriff’s Capt. John Thornburg said most people desperate to find their loved ones can provide detailed accounts, but not this boy.

“The story we were given by the son can’t answer those questions, and that’s where it all started to fall apart,” Thornburg said.

Authorities then began to suspect the man’s disappearance was potentially a hoax in order to escape the charges against him in Scotland.

With the prospect that Gordon is a fugitive from Scottish justice, the U.S. Marshals Service is now deploying investigators to work with the Monterey County Sheriff's Office to track him down.

He may no longer be the only one facing charges if he is found alive. His son could face a false police report investigation.

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