Cruising The Med: Murder Mystery Mayhem
A honeymoon couple board a cruise ship, and he disappears under mysterious circumstances, with blood found in his stateroom and on the awning underneath his balcony, his new wife is escorted off the ship, to the American embassy in Turkey, where she is met by her parents; a young woman is raped aboard the same cruise ship, and a 52 yr old man dies of a heart attack or possible aneurism brought on by heaving endless vomiting, at least 5 members of a family travelling together are offboarded in Italy accompanied by the FBI and Italian authorities, divers are dispatched to make sure the British Cruise ship while in several ports of call, remains safe from potential terrorist attacks, and the family of the missing man are alleged to have boarded the ship in Italy, while FBI agents remain on board to further investigate these incidents.
Is this the script for a new adventure at sea feature film, a movie of the week, a new book about to become a best seller?
NO! This is what happened on the " Brilliance of the Seas" Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship during my 12 nite Cruise of the Mediterranean!
Here is a link to one of many articles FBI Continues Investigation of Missing Greenwich Man discussing the first incident.
With all due respect to the families involved, this is really a very glossed over pretty in pink version of the facts surrounding this incident.
First of all, I saw pics taken by a passenger of the blood that was spotted on the awning...this was NO small amount of blood, and several sources confirmed that blood stains were noticed along the side of this large cruise ship which seemed to draw the attention of the Turkish Naval Security as we arrived into port. I noticed the Turkish Navel Security boat from my balcony - the security officer was focused intently on one area of the ship. Later I would figure out that it was Georges blood dripping down the side of the ship that had caught the attention of the Turkish Naval Security. I wonder if a man his size falling approximately two stories off his balcony would generate that much blood loss simply from the fall? My stateroom attendant and several other people told me that blood was also found in this couples stateroom.
The couple was paged incessantly by the staff on the morning July 5th and neither responded to the pages.I was told that the new Mrs George Smith, aka, Jennifer Hagel, was originally found at approximately 4:00am on July 5th, passed out on Deck 9; on the opposite side of where her stateroom was located not in the gym working out, as his been reported in the press. She was returned to her stateroom via a wheelchair by ship's security personnel at approximately 4:15-4:30am. She was coherent and had told ships security that because she was drunk she got lost trying to find her stateroom door and simply curled up on to the floor in a drunken sleep. After returning to her stateroom, she simply went back to bed, assuming George was still on the ship probably partying with other passengers. Sometime around 9:00am ( possibly earlier) Jennifer was located in the spa having a massage. George was still missing.
My stateroom was located many doors down from their room, my uncle and his wife were in a stateroom that was even closer than mine. He remembers being awakened by a LOUD thump around 3am. He opinioned that the thump was the body hitting the awning..but again..this is MERELY his opinion. However a woman I spoke to a great length while descending the steps that lead from Fira down to the tenders in Santorini(more about that adventure later) also heard the same loud thump at the same time. She and her husband had a stateroom near the Smith's stateroom and reported hearing loud noices, loud male voices telling George to calm down...they heard George ranting, and heard alot of indistinguishable banging sounds. They also heard security knocking several times on the Smiths stateroom door in the early hours of the morning,- no one answered the knocks. Security left, came back about half an hour later, knocked again several times, again no answered. For some reason security then knocked on this woman's door, and asked her and her husband if they had heard any unusual noices or disturbances; she replied no.
Later on that day, this same couple would be interviewed by the FBI and other authorities about what they heard and witnessed. For several days they had complained about loud partying, loud aggressive voices, mostly male, and also commented on how often this young couple in their mid twenties were seen partying with a group of loud obnoxious much younger teens...well...I think it was safe to assume that they were 18..or 19 or 20...but clearly several years younger than the couple. The Smiths were seen buying these young adults alot of drinks.
This article states that the couple were seen in the disco and in the casino on the nite in question.
Well that's true...but what it doesnt mention is that the couple were seen and heard arguing loudly, there was a disturbance that occured in the disco with them at the heart of it, as well as the "group of young adults they frequented" . In the disco or possibly the casino several witnesses saw and heard them fighting and Mrs Smith was seen kicking Mr Smith in the family jewels!
I was told that at both these incidents, they were escorted out of the disco and casino by security personel, altho I cannot confirm that.
The FBI boarded the ship to investigate. I was told by several sources that George's parents had flown into one of the ports of calls, either Greece or Naples, and boarded the ship, undoubtedly to investigate first hand what had occured but I can't confirm this.
Several other sources also shared with me that George had been bragging endlessly about having 50k dollars in cash in his safe, and there was alot of sexual innuendos being banted about with regards to the newly married Mrs Smith and these young men they were partying with. NONE of this is verifiable AND I have doubts about the veracity of the statements, but several sources did mention this to me independently of each other.
I later found out that these same young friends who the Smiths had befriended, were implicated in the alleged rape of a young woman - In not certain of her age- on the eve of the ship arriving in Naples. I do know that these young friends were part of a large family ( cousins, siblings, aunt, uncles, parents) travelling together...and that they were considered obnoxious, loud mouthed, overbearing, and allowed to roam recklessly throughout the cruise ship, they drank alot, they partied alot, and they were none to bright. As the entire family was being escorted by the FBI off the ship, the daughter was heard telling her Mom " we ought to go shopping since we will be hear alot longer now". They were removed or" Off boarded " by the FBI and local authorities, pursuant to an investigation into the rape that they allegedly instigated. Coincidently, they were the same guys at the heart of George's mysterious disappearance.
An extensive land, air, sea search was conducted, but the body was never found.
I question whether George did fall into the ocean by accident, but I'm not expert. There was too much blood on the awning and along the side of the boat to have been caused simply by a short two story fall, not to mention the blood in his stateroom. The awnings are not flat, they form a slight pyramid, that would cause a body to roll off, and they do not have a rail that would prevent anyone from falling into the sea, so they are a great place to dump a body you want to feed to the fishes. Coupled with the blood that several stateroom attendants say was found in their stateroom, it's hard to imagine that this was simply an accident.
No matter what's happened, its a sad situation, and one that will most likely leave us with many questions and too few answers.
As for the alleged rape...its been kept low key....few people know it even occured...no announcement was made by the captain, as he had done about the "tragic accident that occured where a man fell overboard". I can understand why it was best not to make any announcement about it....the identity of the rape victim and her family needs to be protected...especially if she is younger than 18, and Im sure the investigation into what happened is still ongoing,not to mention, for PR purposes, this isn't exactly the best kind of press a cruise line wants. Rumours were spreading that the guys that raped her, video taped the act. .
Several passengers began video taping the "offboarded" family while they were confined to the ship in Naples.
I'm not sure why these passengers were filming them....but look for the film to" mysteriously" appear on the internet! ( who me, cynical?? - yupp cuz I know human nature)
Incidentally the pics taken on board of the newlyweds were immediately removed(for those of you who have never gone cruising - pics are taken by onboard photographers when you board, you have dinner, you meet the captain...etc and are displayed for you to view and purchase ) I would not be surprised if a pic of this couple taken on board "mysteriously" appears on the internet! * rolls eyes* ( yupp Im cynical but I know human nature!)
While at sea enroute back to Barcelona, a plane appeared out of the blue, flying very low over the cruise ship. Several of us suspect that this plane belonged to paparazzi as opposed to terrorists! But one can never be too certain!
Shortly after the London Subway Bombings by Islamic Terrorists( I won't sugar coat this like the BBC did) our cruise ship security became somewhat tighter. I was told divers around the ships are considered post 9/11 security protocal so they may have in fact been present in all ports of call..but I was only aware of them after the bombings.
So there you have it...now I promise to update you all later on the highlights of the cruise.
My three favorite ports of call:
Cap Ferrat ( the port of Call is Nice (Villefrance) but we had all seen Nice, Monacco, Cannes - so we hired a driver to take us to Cap Ferrat - its beautiful, quaint, and the shopping is great!
Mykonos - I could have stayed there forever!
Barcelona- Is a beautiful city full of life, energy, beauty, art, and great food, and the famous unfinished Gaudi church which defys description!
Cruising The Med: Setting The Record Straight
Cruising The Med: The Final Word
Cruising The Med: Honeymoon Murder Mystery