A fugitive busker said to have faked his own drowning booked a room in a local hotel before his disappearance – but never checked in.
Father of eight Kim Avis, 55, was reported missing on February 25 by his 17-year-old son Ruben at California’s Monastery Beach, in Carmel, Monterey – a notorious spot for drowning deaths.
Avis, from Inverness, is said to have gone for a swim in the waters despite warning signs every 100 yards on the beach.
We can reveal that father and son both had reservations at the Carmel River Inn a mile from the beach.
But neither of the two checked in on the day Avis disappeared despite booking and paying in advance.
Instead Avis, who is also known as Kim Gordon, chose to go for an early evening swim before going missing. Staff at the £150-a-night hotel confirmed on Friday that the father and son had a booking with them on the day of the disappearance.
One worker said: “The sheriff’s office came to the hotel later with the son after his father went missing. I do not know what happened after that.”
An arrest warrant was issued for Avis at the High Court in Edinburgh in March after he failed to appear on 21 sexual assault charges, including rape, dating back to 1997.
One local tourist guide believes Avis could have planned his beach disappearance from Scotland and the hotel booking was a ruse to make his drowning seem genuine.
Doug Lumsden – who runs Monterey Movie Tours in Carmel – said: “If you were thinking of faking your drowning, you could not pick a better place.
“The beach is said to be one of the most dangerous in the world and there are at least two deaths a year.
“Though there are plenty of warnings on Monastery, there are no lifeguards, so you could easily fake a drowning.”
Avis and Ruben are said to have travelled to Los Angeles on February 16 via Dublin and Frankfurt before heading north. At about 5.30pm on February 25, Avis told Ruben he was going for a swim. The teenager never saw him go in the water and called police at 7pm, when there was no sign of him.
Avis’s backpack and his clothes were later found on the beach.
The local Monterey Sheriff’s Office then spent two days searching the waters but no trace of Avis was found.
Ruben returned to Scotland alone on pre-booked flights three days later.
Avis put his Inverness home up for sale before he set off to the States and it has since been sold for about £225,000. He is well known in Inverness as a busker and jewellery seller.
His American wife Brooke Mhyre-Avis is believed to have returned to her home in Essex, Montana, with their daughter.
Captain John Thornburg, of the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office, who led the original search for Avis, said: ”We have no new information on him.”
Police Scotland declined to say if they had been in contact with the US authorities in their hunt for the Scot.
They said they were aware a warrant had been issued for the arrest of Kim Gordon and would be progressing inquiries to execute it.