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Sir Robert Anderson
Chief Inspector
Username: Sirrobert

Post Number: 718
Registered: 2-2003
Posted on Friday, January 06, 2006 - 10:31 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

This really got me thinking - what a perfect environment for a SK to operate in..."Mr. Smith, 26, was one of at least 16 cruise ship passengers presumed to have gone overboard and died since 2000"


January 5, 2006
Bride Recounts Disappearance of Husband During Cruise
By ALISON LEIGH COWAN

Jennifer Hagel Smith, the Greenwich, Conn., woman whose husband disappeared in July on their Mediterranean honeymoon cruise, said she was found unconscious the night he vanished, woke up the next morning in their cabin and went to meet him for a scheduled massage.

Moments after getting the massage, she said in an interview yesterday, she was approached by three uniformed crew members who told her that there was blood outside her cabin and that her husband probably went overboard that night as the ship traveled from Greece to Turkey.

Her account was the first she has provided in which she discussed her whereabouts and her condition on July 5, the morning that her husband, George Allen Smith IV, vanished from the Brilliance of the Seas, a cruise ship run by Royal Caribbean.

The case has led to a Congressional investigation of the lightly regulated cruise ship industry and has put a spotlight on the often rowdy atmosphere on cruise ships, where alcohol is readily available and where, as a Royal Caribbean official said shortly after Mr. Smith's disappearance, "People stay up late and do all sorts of things."

Mrs. Smith said she had been reluctant to discuss details of the case because she did not want to impede the investigation being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. But her thinking changed, she said, when she learned that Royal Caribbean was preparing to release more information about the circumstances surrounding her husband's disappearance.

The company released an eight-page chronology of the incident yesterday that contained new details of the events aimed at disputing other accounts as "inaccurate and unfair speculation about our company's response to the incident."

The company also said the F.B.I was investigating the reported rape of a female passenger by several other passengers, "several of the same young men last seen with George Smith." The attack occurred two days after Mr. Smith vanished, according to the company, and was videotaped by the young men.

Mr. Smith, 26, was one of at least 16 cruise ship passengers presumed to have gone overboard and died since 2000, according to a Web site operated by the International Travel Guides of Great Falls, Va.

Mrs. Smith, who expected to be teaching third grade in Westport in September, does not deny that she and her husband were drinking the night he disappeared but said it was "not to a point that something of this nature should ever happen."

She said she and her husband enjoyed a romantic dinner and visited the casino to meet up with another couple they had befriended who had gotten married on the same day in June as they had. "Then we left the casino area and that was the last thing I remember," she said. "For me, that's been some of the hardest part, the not knowing."

She said she learned much later from a log kept by the ship that two crew members had found her unconscious shortly after 4:30 a.m. on the floor of a lounge area on Deck Nine, the same floor as her stateroom.

Several crew members went to her cabin looking for her husband. Not finding him, they took Mrs. Smith in a wheelchair to her cabin and laid her on the bed, she said she later learned.

Mrs. Smith says she is tormented about what crew members might have discovered had they surveyed the room and surrounding area more vigorously.

Less than an hour before she was taken to her room, other crew members had gone there to investigate a noise complaint from a passenger in an adjacent cabin. Both Mrs. Smith and the company say the employees who responded to the noise complaint decided not to enter her room after the noise subsided.

"Security left believing all was well," the company's statement read. "We had no justification for invading a guest cabin on the basis of one simple partying noise complaint."

At least two passengers have since described hearing a thud from inside the Smiths' room sometime after 4 a.m. but before Mrs. Smith was returned to her room before 5.

"That thud was literally minutes before" she was put in her bed, Mrs. Smith said. "It's so close in time that it's haunting to think about it now. If the security had talked to each other, maybe they could have figured it out. You just have all these what-ifs."

Although investigators found blood in the cabin later that morning, she said she noticed nothing amiss in her cabin when she awoke, after the ship had docked and let people off at Kusadasi, Turkey.

Remembering the 10 a.m. his-and-her massages she had booked at the spa two flights up, she said she did not bother changing out of her sundress from the night before, slipped on her flip-flops and left the room, assuming that her husband must have slept at a friend's.

Royal Caribbean officials said that Mrs. Smith actually arrived about an hour and a half early for her massage and was in the treatment room when crew members came looking for her.

"Three men approached me in white uniforms," she said. "They said they found blood on the awning" over the ship's lifeboats, below their cabin. "They believe he went overboard and they can't find him."

The cruise ship staff had received calls that morning from passengers who, in the daylight, had noticed blood on the awning.

"I was in shock," she said, choking up. "It was a horrible, horrible memory."

Mrs. Smith's lawyer, James Walker, her in-laws, George and Maureen Smith of Greenwich, and their daughter, Bree, have criticized the company for washing away blood that was found inside and outside the Smiths' cabin, and for allowing a member of the crew to enter the cabin to retrieve Mrs. Smith's belongings.

"They're shifting blame," Mrs. Smith said. "I'm a 25-year-old girl on her honeymoon with her husband. It should not have been my call to preserve the crime scene."

Company officials said they washed the area only after Turkish authorities had given them permission to do so.

Left behind in Turkey later that night, Mrs. Smith says she was abandoned. The cruise line says she left on her own. She made her way to Cromwell, Conn,. where her father is a retired policeman and her mother is a realtor. Within a week, she met with the F.B.I., and agreed to give blood and hair samples to their agents and to take a polygraph test that she said she passed.

Six months later, she has little doubt that her husband of 11 days was a victim of foul play, and she has hired Dr. Henry Lee, a noted forensic expert, to get to the bottom of it.

Though neither she nor her in-laws have found the strength to hold a memorial service for Mr. Smith, she did get his parents' consent to become the executor of his estate and persuade a court to declare him dead.

"I've been judged very harshly since this happened in the media," Mrs. Smith said. "But no one is ever going to hurt me more than I've ever been hurt and the truth will come out in the end. You can't worry about the little things along the way."

The teaching job she once looked forward to is now on hold. "Finding justice for George is my job," she said. "Your whole life just changes when something like this happens."



Copyright 2006The New York Times Company
Sir Robert

'Tempus Omnia Revelat'
SirRobertAnderson@gmail.com
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Howard Brown
Assistant Commissioner
Username: Howard

Post Number: 1330
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Friday, January 06, 2006 - 11:43 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Pretty interesting post,Sir Bob.

Of course,the only hitch to a sk operating on a cruise ship would be that it would be fairly easy to notice the coincidence of Passenger X on the ship's log each time a corpse turned up.

...then again,one could operate that way if he went from ship to ship.
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Sir Robert Anderson
Chief Inspector
Username: Sirrobert

Post Number: 719
Registered: 2-2003
Posted on Friday, January 06, 2006 - 12:19 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I find the number of passengers going overboard a tad high...It's not as if the likes of Carnival Cruises aren't safety conscious. I realize folks are partying and drinking, but still...

What is interesting here is thinking about what a jurisdictional nightmare this must be for the police...
Sir Robert

'Tempus Omnia Revelat'
SirRobertAnderson@gmail.com
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David O'Flaherty
Assistant Commissioner
Username: Oberlin

Post Number: 1162
Registered: 2-2003
Posted on Friday, January 06, 2006 - 1:17 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

The case has led to a Congressional investigation of the lightly regulated cruise ship industry and has put a spotlight on the often rowdy atmosphere on cruise ships, where alcohol is readily available and where, as a Royal Caribbean official said shortly after Mr. Smith's disappearance, "People stay up late and do all sorts of things."

Good lord, that's what cruise ships are for, staying up late and "doing things". I cannot believe some dullard in Congress has determined that the party atmosphere on cruise ships was a contributory factor to someone murdering this poor guy. I guess they're just going to start legislating all parties. It's as if someone read And Then There Were None and tried to legislate gatherings at manor houses.

Someone is seizing on an excuse to kiss up to the Pat Robertson crowd.

Dave
I think a serial killer operating on a cruise ships would quickly be found out since they would be easily discerned as a common element in all murders.
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Howard Brown
Assistant Commissioner
Username: Howard

Post Number: 1333
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Saturday, January 07, 2006 - 7:07 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Gang:

On AOL, they have a photo of this lady and the husband...the story is here [ and you know if its on AOL,by God,its gotta be true !]

Some woman said she saw him give the husband a kick to the tentacles and that they were doin' up some absinthe.

Hereyago....

http://articles.news.aol.com/news/article.adp?id=20060106192109990007&ncid=NWS00010000000001
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Sir Robert Anderson
Chief Inspector
Username: Sirrobert

Post Number: 722
Registered: 2-2003
Posted on Saturday, January 07, 2006 - 11:00 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

" She said the group was drinking absinthe, a highly potent drink."

Holy Cow - this really IS a Shades of Whitechapel case !
Sir Robert

'Tempus Omnia Revelat'
SirRobertAnderson@gmail.com
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Sir Robert Anderson
Chief Inspector
Username: Sirrobert

Post Number: 724
Registered: 2-2003
Posted on Saturday, January 07, 2006 - 11:27 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Here's an earlier account from a Greenwich newspaper.

Man's disappearance aboard ship unsolved

By Hoa Nguyen
Staff Writer

August 18, 2005

On a sweltering July morning, the Turkish port of Kusadasi swarmed with thousands of people.

The popular Aegean harbor was host to seven cruise ships that morning. While passengers lined up to leave the vessels, vendors and tourist guides stood by the harbor, eagerly waiting their arrival.

"There were over 13,000 people in Kusadasi on July 5th. All of them were from cruise ships," Turkish tour guide Levent Solmaz said in an e-mail. The "ancient ruins of Ephesus was very busy and I was told that the merchants in the downtown were very happy. The following day, our newspapers mentioned about this exceptional crowd. It really is a big deal when these cruise ships call Kusadasi harbor."

Few people knew about it at the time, but as cruise ship passengers poured into Kusadasi, the captain of Royal Caribbean International's Brilliance of the Seas called Turkish police at 9:30 a.m. A passenger was missing and blood was discovered on an overhang of the vessel and inside the cabin he shared with his newlywed wife, officials said.

Six weeks later, amid intense media attention and speculation on what may have happened to George Smith IV, 26, of Greenwich before he disappeared, many things remain unchanged.

Smith is still missing. The U.S. Attorney's office in New Haven said the FBI is investigating and has no updates on the case. A relative of Smith said the family is still not commenting. The family of Smith's wife, Jennifer Hagel, of Cromwell, could not be reached for comment.

But still, public interest in the incident remains high and it remains a daily topic of conversation on several television shows.

"In a way, this story has gotten a life of its own in that I believe that there are a lot of rumors going about, and so this has caused a lot of people guessing on what has happened and has caused this case to continue," said Cletus Hyman, a deputy chief of the Redlands, Calif., police department who stayed in the cabin next door to the Smiths on the cruise ship.

Hyman said that he and his wife did not know the Smiths, except to recognize them as they passed by in the hallway a couple of times. On the second night of the cruise, the Smiths kept Hyman awake with loud noises, he said.

"There were other times that they came in and they were loud. But these were not long sessions, just short ones," Hyman said.

Then on the morning that Smith disappeared, just after 4 a.m., Hyman heard a group of loud people enter Smith's cabin. They seemed to be having a party, Hyman said. Later on, he heard loud voices speaking in a foreign language arguing outside on Smith's balcony.

"At one point, we did hear what sounded like someone ushering people from the room," Hyman said. "People apparently did leave the room and after that we did hear what possibly sounded like furniture moving."

He then heard a loud thud outside by the balcony area, said Hyman, who has told his story to several media outlets as well as to the FBI.

"I believe that the media attention has brought people out that may have information that can be helpful," Hyman said.

The latest passenger to offer more information is Josh Askin a 20-year-old San Diego man who is reported to be among a group of three young people who were in the company of Smith before he disappeared. The man has retained an attorney, C. Keith Greer, who was traveling yesterday and could not be reached for comment.

In interviews he has given to media outlets, Greer said that Askin and the other two men helped an inebriated Smith back to his cabin where they discovered that Hagel, who had left the disco a few minutes before Smith did, was not there. After a short unsuccessful trip to find her, they returned to Smith's cabin where the three said goodnight to the Greenwich man, Greer said.

That is the last time his client saw Smith, Greer said.

The next morning, a room cleaner noticed blood inside Smith's cabin and other people noticed the pool of blood on the overhang below the cabin. Turkish authorities were called and began investigating.

Meanwhile, most of the other passengers had plans in Kusadasi to visit the ruins of Ephesus and places such as the House of the Virgin Mary, which is where Jesus' mother is said to have spent the last years of her life.

Later, when the passengers returned to the ship, they learned through announcements made by the ship's captain that a passenger was missing.

The rumors of what befell Smith began almost immediately and six weeks later, they persist.

"It's like why 'CSI' is so popular," said Barbara McCulloch, a passenger who was on the same cruise as Smith, comparing interest in the disappearance to the popular television show.

"It's like there's a bunch of clues there, where you've got this closed situation," said McCulloch, whose cabin on the cruise ship was a couple of decks below the floor on which Smith and his wife stayed.

McCulloch said that in the early morning hours of Smith's disappearance, she heard a woman scream. When her daughter, who was staying in a nearby cabin, woke up later that morning, she saw blood on the overhang and took a picture of it.

The media attention in the disappearance has been nonstop, said the Illinois woman, who, after telling her story to a number of news outlets, still gets bombarded with media requests.

"It's crazy," McCulloch said.

In Greenwich, the Cos Cob Liquor store owned by Smith's father, George Smith III, remains open for business although employees there won't talk about what happened to Smith.

The shop is one of the oldest liquor stores in town and the elder Smith toiled over the business during good times and bad, such as when the Mianus Bridge collapsed and few people were willing to brave the traffic on the Post Road to come to the store.

His son was supposed to have taken over operating the store upon returning from his honeymoon.
Copyright 2006, Southern Connecticut Newspapers, Inc.
Sir Robert

'Tempus Omnia Revelat'
SirRobertAnderson@gmail.com

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