(WSVN) - It was supposed to be the reward for a lifetime of hard work, but one South Florida couple’s vacation dream home in the Caribbean has become home to a nightmare. 7’s Kevin Ozebek investigates their “Trouble in Paradise.”
David Meadors, arrested in Cayman Islands: “You could see the burglars smashing at it with a hammer. Fortunately, they didn’t get in.”
David Meadors sells top notch windows designed to keep both burglars and hurricane strength winds outside your home.
But two years ago, his business had to take a backseat because of something that happened to him while he was hundreds of miles away in the Cayman Islands.
Christine Meadors, David’s wife: “It was late Friday, and I got a phone call from him saying that there was a problem.”
David had been arrested.
In July 2017, he was in the country overseeing construction on this vacation home when customs officers inspected a recently-arrived shipping container. It was supposed to be filled with building supplies.
David Meadors: “And in it was a few boxes of ammunition that led to my arrest and questioning, which I admitted to having a gun there.”
David told Cayman Police the bullets were packed by mistake, and that the gun was locked away at the apartment where he was staying. He says he had no idea that he had actually broken the law.
David Meadors: “I made an assumption that was wrong. I made the assumption that my U.S. weapon’s license was valid.”
The U.S. State Department has this clear warning on its website saying, “You are strictly forbidden to import or possess firearms in the Cayman Islands, and “even a single bullet inadvertently loose in a carry-on bag can lead to arrest.”
David Meadors: “The facts are clear that I didn’t understand the laws, and I didn’t know them, and there was no criminal intent.”
7News searched past cases of Americans being arrested for bringing guns or ammunition into the Cayman Islands. All of them ended with the offender paying a fine, except for two. David, who faces at least 14 years in prison, and Carol Ann Skorupan of Wisconsin.
David Meadors: “Carol Ann paid with her life.”
Carol Ann was charged after a gun was found in one of her suitcases. In February, she flew to Fort Lauderdale for a cruise. She was told the bag with the gun was lost. When her ship docked in Grand Cayman, she was arrested. Turns out, the airline had tracked down the lost bag and sent it to the islands, where airport security discovered the gun.
Her first trial in April ended with a deadlocked jury. After being told she would be tried again, she walked into the woods near her home and killed herself.
Christine Meadors: “To see the person you love locked up and treated that way is very difficult to see.”
After months in custody in the Cayman Islands, David became sick. The doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong, so a judge allowed him to return to South Florida. He was then diagnosed with a rare auto-immune disease that’s very hard to treat.
Christine Meadors: “I can’t imagine him going back because they don’t have the ability to treat him.”
And now there’s a warrant for his arrest. If he’s forced to go back and is convicted, David is afraid he may never see home again.
David Meadors: “I don’t know that my life is an appropriate restitution.”
David has requested a medical delay, but until that happens, he is afraid that the nightmare he’s living may never end.
David tells 7News that a medical hearing that was cancelled earlier this summer was finally rescheduled for October. He and his attorney are working to provide the court with medical documentation of his illness and testimony from his doctors. David says he is hopeful it will convince the court to close his case.
We have reached out to the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service and the Cayman Islands government for a comment. Neither have responded to our messages.
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