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Deputies search for disbarred attorney accused of burning yacht specially fitted for family's son

Posted at 10:33 PM, Mar 28, 2019

NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. — Pasco County deputies are searching for a disbarred attorney that they say set fire to a yacht in October. But, it wasn't just any yacht.

Raymond Lissow and his family poured money into the boat to make it accessible for their 31-year-old son Ray Jr., who is a non-verbal quadriplegic.

"The only way he can express himself is with a smile. When he’s on the boat, he is just smiling away so it really hurt us to lose that part of it and not know if we can ever rebuild that," said Lissow.

The fire happened in October while the yacht was behind a home in New Port Richey. Lissow says the yacht was valued at more than $200,000.

"We were immediately in a panic. We thought the boat could explode and take our house and our neighbor's house," Lissow said.

A warrant has been issued for the arrest of 41-year-old Joshua Stewart in relation to the fire, but authorities believe he's fled the country.

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"We have no idea why we were targeted. We never had any affiliation or anything to do with him other than the fact he stole from us once," said Lissow.

An incident report from the Pasco County Sheriff's Office shows deputies arrested Stewart in 2012 for grand theft and dealing in stolen property. The records show he was arrested for stealing a boat motor from the Lissow family.

"We believe it started a feud between both of them," said Kevin Doll with the Pasco County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies first thought the fire was accidental, but surveillance video confirmed it was an arson.

"Boats often catch on fire. The owner thought originally it was a battery fire that started it. Once we got the evidence of the surveillance video, we knew that it was purposely started. It was an arson which is a felony," said Doll.

The family got the boat in 2006. Since then, they visited 14 states and traveled more than 5,000 miles in it. They say the boat meant a lot to their son.

"The boat has actually been part of our family and it's his biggest enjoyment," said Lissow.

Authorities believe Stewart has left the country. He faces arson charges and, deputies say, he could also face fines from the Coast Guard for causing damage to the environment because gas from the boat leaked into the water.