Family says debt not issue in disappearance of owners of Westport trash-hauling firm
Updated 10:27 am, Friday, August 14, 2015
Mystery surrounds the search for an Easton couple, owners of J&J Refuse in Westport, missing for more than a week.
The Navins’ family on Thursday, in a statement released by Easton Police Chief Tim Shaw, denied that debts are a factor in the couple’s disappearance.
“Financial issues recently reported by the media have not been proven to be a factor for our family members’ disappearance,” the statement said. “Information from the authorities indicates that there are available funds still in their bank accounts that are untouched. We, the entire Navin family, ask for privacy and respect during this overwhelming and troubling time.”
“I heard about that on Facebook,” said Laura Griffiths, an Easton resident, as she entered that town’s library Wednesday night. “I believe a sister-in-law posted something.”
Others, like Brady Sezon and Gregory Gil, who were outside the library, suspect the answer may be in the enormous debt the Navins left behind. State Superior Court records disclose orders of nearly $2.4 million against Jeffrey Navin.
“It’s weird,” Sezon said. “What I personally think is that they went on vacation so much that they found a place they like to go to, or may just keep moving on.”
Gil said he would be more worried about the couple’s well-being “if they left behind assets,” as opposed to debts.
The Navins, who had lived in Westport and attended local schools, have been known to vacation frequently, according to sources.
A pickup truck belonging to them was found Aug. 9 in a Westport commuter parking lot off exit 42 of the Merritt Parkway.
While Easton police do not yet suspect foul play, Chief Tim Shaw expressed some concern Wednesday.
“The longer this gets ... the more nervous the family is — rightfully so — and the more suspicious it gets,” Shaw told NBC Connecticut. “At this point, we’re still looking at it as a missing person.”
“We have assisted the Easton Police Department,” Westport Police Capt. Sam Arciola said Tuesday. He declined, however, to comment on the extent of local police assistance for the investigation. He referred questions to Easton police.
Easton police said they are working with other law enforcement agencies to locate the couple.
Court documents show Jeffrey Navin was found to owe HSBC bank nearly $2.229 million for a foreclosed home on Hart Landing in Guilford. Another ruling found him responsible for $138,137, with interest accruing at $132.82 per week, for unpaid electrical bills to the former Connecticut Light and Power Co., dating to July 2007.
The Navins owned or lived in various homes on Merwin Avenue and Oak Bluff Road in Milford, on Newtown Turnpike and Surf Road in Westport, and more recently on Osborn Farm Road in Weston and Staples Road in Easton, according to public records.
The Osborn Farm Road home was sold for about $900,000 on June 1. The Navins recently moved to Easton and were renting the Staples Road home.
There, a rusted black mailbox wobbled in front of the stone-covered ranch house Wednesday. A living-room light was on in early evening, and a Mercedes-Benz sedan and an Isuzu box truck sat outside. No one answered the door.
Two relatives at a home on Kellers Farm Road in Easton ordered reporters off their property and declined to comment on the missing couple.
J&J Refuse, Navin’s trash hauling company, advertises itself as “a multi-generation family owned and operated sanitation company in Westport ... starting with a one-man truck in 1985.”
The company’s phone was answered by a recorded message: “Due to a family emergency, some collections have been delayed. We apologize for any inconvenience and are working to get back on schedule.”
Westport officials acknowledged that trash collection by the private firm on some of its local routes has been delayed this week, but that it is working to catch up with the backlog.
Anyone with information about the Navins is asked to call Easton police at 203-268-4111.