American honeymooner vanishes on Mediterranean cruise
By Kitty Bean Yancey, USA TODAY 7.14.05
As the search continues on the Caribbean island of Aruba for an Alabama teen missing since May 30, an American honeymooner has disappeared under mysterious circumstances while on a Mediterranean cruise.
Smith IV: Vanished aboard 12-night Mediterranean cruise with his new bride.
Andrew Sullivan, AP
George A. Smith IV, 26, of Byram, Conn., was last seen in the early hours of July 5 aboard the Brilliance of the Seas as it sailed from Mykonos, Greece, to Kusadasi, Turkey.
Shipboard, air and sea searches have been unsuccessful, "and the circumstances surrounding his disappearance remain unclear," says a statement from Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines.
Royal Caribbean spokeswoman Lynn Martenstein says the FBI has been called in to investigate.
Smith was discovered missing after early-riser guests on ship balconies "saw what they thought might be blood" on a lifeboat overhang, she says.
Cabins above the stains were searched, she says, and no one was found in the quarters shared by Smith and his bride, Jennifer Hagel. Their stateroom also had a veranda.
Hagel, who responded to pages for the couple on the ship's public address system, said her husband was not in the cabin when she awoke. She was questioned by Turkish authorities and released, Martenstein says. Then she flew home.
Fellow passengers say the couple were seen partying the night of Smith's disappearance.
Cruisers were told of the incident later that day when the captain announced the possibility of a man overboard, says passenger Trish Biebricher of Fort Myers, Fla. "Every night we got together to find out who talked to who and what they'd heard" about why Smith might have ended up overboard.
The Associated Press quoted a Turkish official as saying that the couple drank heavily in the casino and that bloodstains were found in their cabin.
"They were seen in the casino and disco," Martenstein says. "We do not know what happened."
Searches for Smith were suspended Saturday, Martenstein says. The FBI continues its investigation, "but we do not comment on pending matters," FBI spokeswoman Lisa Bull says.