Its Been 9 Years Since George Smith IV Went Missing on his Honeymoon with Jennifer Hagel Smith Aboard the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line “Brilliance of the Seas” … CBS 48 HOURS: “Murder at Sea?” … $100,000 Reward (VIDEO)
It has been 9 years since George Smith IV went missing aboard the Royal Caribbean Cruise line “Brilliance of the Seas” … the mystery an unanswered questions continue.
It has been none years since George Smith IV went missing while on his honeymoon with Jennifer Hagel Smith aboard the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line “Brilliance of the Seas”. Since that fateful day, July 5, 2005, George’s family, his parents George and Maureen and sister Bree, have fought to learn the truth of what happened the night that George Smith went missing. The Smith family is certain that it was no accident. They appeared on CBS 48 Hours Saturday night, Maureen Smith said, “I have no doubt in my mind whatsoever that my son was murdered on that cruise ship.” The family has renewed their push to solve the case, they are offering a $100,000 reward for information leading directly to the arrest and conviction of whoever was responsible for their son’s disappearance.
George’s sister Bree says it the best as she told ’48 Hours’, “I think the reward will propel people forward.” People need to come forward and tell what they know and there needs to be justice.”
Nine years ago – July 5, 2005 – George Smith IV vanished from his honeymoon cruise in the Aegean Sea. His body has never been found.
Contrary to what authorities have said, his mother, Maureen Smith, is certain it was no accident.
“I have no doubt in my mind whatsoever that my son was murdered on that cruise ship,” she tells CBS News’ 48 HOURS.
Now, in a renewed push to solve the case, the family of the Greenwich, Conn. man says they are offering a $100,000 reward for information leading directly to the arrest and conviction of whoever was responsible for their son’s disappearance
Watch the Full ’48 Hour’ VIDEO – Murder at Sea
FACEBOOK – JUSTICE FOR GEORGE SMITH
The reward and media surge come three months after the family launched a Facebook profile to post evidence and information relating to their ongoing search for justice.
“We’re definitely not giving up,” Bree Smith said. “We started our Facebook crusade by releasing evidence we have collected about George’s disappearance. Between the Facebook crusade and the reward, we are hopeful this is the year we will get justice for George.”
Could There be a Break in the Honeymoon Cruise Disappearance and Murder of George Smith ? FBI Has Incriminating Video Tape Which May Lead to an Arrest
George Smith IV of Greenwich, CT has been missing since 2005. Could a video tape lead to an arrest in the case of missing and murdered George Smith?
“We have truth on our side. “My son’s life is not going to be in vain.” - (Maureen Smith, George’s mother – Jan. 2006)
Since first covering the case of missing honeymooner George Smith in 2005 we had wondered whether there would ever be “Justice for George”. Especially when his wife of mere seconds Catherine Hagel Smith settled with Royal Caribbean Cruiselines. However, when the Smith family retained new and eager council as well as FBI Russian organized crime agents entered the case, we began to finally believe that maybe, just maybe that the Smith family could finally get justice.
As reported in the UK Daily Mail, the FBI is apparently closer to answering how George Smith fell overboard on his honeymoon cruise seven years ago after discovering new footage from on board the ship. Twenty-six year old George Smith disappeared aboard the Royal Caribbean cruise ship, the Brilliance of the Seas, during the night of July 5, 2005. George had been partying on his honeymoon with his bride Jennifer Hagel Smith and his new found friends, Josh Askins the Russians. George Smith was brought back to his room by the Russians that night and was never seen nor heard from again. Was there foul play and a robbery gone bad? Josh Askin has testified to a Connecticut federal grand jury that he and the three Russian-Americans, cousins Greg and Zachary Rozenberg and their pal Rostislav “Rusty” Kofman, were in the room with Smith before he went missing. George Smith goes missing with blood stains on the exterior overhang of the ship beneath his cabin. Also according to Jones, Askin was also overheard on the elevator telling others that George Smith had $50,000 in his cabin and that Hagel was playing “$200 hands of blackjack” in the hours before Smith disappeared.
The investigation into the death of Mr Smith, from Connecticut, has remained open and authorities have an incriminating video tape in their possession which may lead to an arrest.
According to Cristin Marandino from Greenwich Magazine: ‘On that videotape there are certain individuals that make very self-incriminating statements following the death of George Smith.
‘This is a videotape that the gentlemen made of themselves. And in their room, sort of passing around a flip phone.’
Check out the Dateline NBC profile the case of the disappearance of honeymooner George Smith aboard a Royal Caribbean cruise ship Brilliance of the Seas in 2005 (VIDEO).
More at the June 2012 issue of Greenwich Magazine.
Dateline NBC Profiles the Case of the Disappearance of Honeymooner George Smith Aboard a Royal Caribbean Cruiseship Brilliance of the Seas in 2005 (VIDEO) … JUSTICE FOR GEORGE
George Smith, missing since 2005 …
“We have truth on our side. “My son’s life is not going to be in vain.” - (Maureen Smith, George’s mother – Jan. 2006)
The disappearance of George Smith aboard who went missing in 2005. Scared Monkeys has followed the case ever since. The family of George Smith are tremendous people who deserve answers. Dateline NBC reviews the Royal Caribbean 6000 page file and provides a profile on the case and new details never before released. Even though George disappeared in 2005, the case is still being investigated and the Smith family never rests in getting JUSTICE FOR GEORGE.
What is most amazing in this case and may provide answers as to what happened to George Smith, the controversial and confrontational settlement between Royal Caribbean, Jennifer Hagel Smith and the Smith family may have been the smoking gun. Part of the settlement was the handing over of their files, a treasure trove of data and information.
This segment shows the last day of George Smith’s life and what took place the night prior to his disappearance and presumed death. The newlyweds George and Jennifer Hagel Smith went to dinner and then headed off to the on board ship casino. Also at the Casino Royal were the passengers Josh Askin and the individuals who would become known as the “Russians” (Rostislav “Rusty” Kofman and cousins Greg and Zachary Rozenberg ). It was reported that some passengers had heard that George Smith had said that he had large sums of money back at his cabin. Whether George did or not is irrelevant, what those that over heard him say; however, is relevant. Did the money play a role in what happened to George Smith, was it a robbery gone horribly wrong?
The party moved from the from the casino to the disco. Josh Askin through his attorney states that when things got a little weird and sleazy. He references that the group was met up with the an off-duty casino floor manager who had his arm around Jennifer and was coming on to her completely forgetting and ship employee – passenger boundaries. Jennifer leaves the disco with Lloyd, the casino floor manager after many witnesses noticed an argument between Jennifer and George. The disco closes and the four Russians help an drink George Smith back to his room. Thanks to the electronic key cards (locklink), there was a trail of who went where and when. It is reported that after George, Josh and the Russians got back to George’s room, they left again with George to go find Jennifer. When she left the disco, she never went back to the room. After looking for Jennifer, they return to George’s room at 4:01 am. Later that morning a passenger in the room next to George’s hears words, things being moved and then a loud thud. Then there is silence.
New Details in Death of of George A. Smith IV Who Died on Honeymoon Mediterranean Royal Caribbean Cruise … FBI Russian Organized Crime Agents Join Investigation … Could it lead to Justice for George?
WILL THERE FINALLY BE JUSTICE FOR GEORGE?
“We have truth on our side. “My son’s life is not going to be in vain.” (Maureen Smith, George’s mother – Jan. 2006)
It has been six years since George A. Smith IV disappeared on July 5, 2005 while on his honeymoon in the Mediterranean on a Royal Caribbean cruise with his then wife, Jennifer Hagel Smith. George’s body was never recovered; however, his body left bloodstains on an exterior overhang of the ship. Sadly, no one was ever held responsible for the death and disappearance of George Smith. Now the focus is on four men, among them three Russian-Americans from Brooklyn, New York.
Flash-forward to 2012 … there might just be new details into George Smith’s death that could lead to answers and the truth as what happened to George Smith on that fateful night in 2005. Much of the information comes from the legal settlement with Royal Caribbean cruise line where they also agreed to hand over its investigative file on Smith’s disappearance, which includes witness statements made to Royal Caribbean and Turkish authorities by those who last saw Smith, as well as from cruise ship employees.
Attorney Michael Jones, who represents Smith’s family, said cruise line documents obtained in a settlement over the Greenwich man’s estate and the lawyer’s own questioning of the four young men who are believed to have escorted a heavily intoxicated Smith back to his room that night raise doubts about their account of events.
Attorneys for the men have said their clients did nothing wrong.
One of the men, Josh Askin of California, failed an FBI-administered polygraph test, Jones said. When questioned by Jones about Smith, Askin did not answer, instead invoking his Fifth Amendment right.
“The evidence suggests that Josh Askin and the boys know more than they have let on,” Jones said. “It’s time for them to come forward and tell what they know about George’s disappearance.”
US/Mexico: The Search for Missing & Murdered David Hartley Continues on Falcon Lake … Friends & Family Protest at Mexican Consulate in Colorado
There are questions abound and rightfully so in this case; however, what no one can question is the violence on the US-Mexican border. Did it come as a surprise to Americans that there were Mexican pirates operating so close to the US border? Not Somalian pirates, Mexican ones.
The search continues in the United States-Mexico border lake for missing and presumed murdered David Hartley. However, to date there has been no body found. Searches continue, even though there were threats of an ambush from drug gangs temporarily thwarted efforts.
The story is bizarre to say the least. The wife’s story had initially been questioned by Mexican authorities. That’s is a dicey comment to state publicly, no matter if authorities believe it to be true or not with Tiffany’s story. Remember, this is Mexico, where police corruption and drug cartels rule the day.
But on Monday, a Mexican official seemed to question whether the attack took place at all.
In a statement, Marco Antonio Guerrero Carrizales, district attorney for the Miguel Aleman Province, writes, “We are not sure. We are not certain that the incident happened the way they are telling us.”
CBS News correspondent Don Teague reports that family members have countered by criticizing what they see as a lackluster search effort by Mexican authorities.
Let’s keep in mind that this area is prone to violence. There had been previous attacks and people were warned about the area. Personally, I would go no where near Mexico or have my family members there, but that’s me. Please try to not compare Mexico is the US and how things are done. Mexico is not only a completely different country, its a completely different world.
However, there is a witness and blood evidence that was discovered to support. Zapata County’s sheriff Sigifredo Gonzalez stated that he has blood evidence from the life vest of Tiffany Hartley, the wife of David Hartley, that supports her story. But does it really? All it supports is that David Hartley is dead. I would like to think we as a society have not become so jaded that we dismiss the words of the wife over that of Mexican authorities. However, that is not to say we do not have the right to speculate and question if the story does not add up, like in the case of murdered honeymooner George Smith.
Jennifer Hagel Smith, Widow of Missing George Smith Says He Mixed Alcohol & Prescription Drugs the Night He Went Missing
George Allen Smith IV vanished from a honeymoon cruise in the Mediterranean July 5, 2005. Now after all this time, Jennifer Hagel Smith says, it was alcohol and prescription drugs as Hagel Smith throws George Smith and his reputation under the bus.
So much for not speaking ill of the dead when they cannot defend themselves. Especially when the deceased person is your missing and presumed dead husband. However, Jennifer Hagel Smith for some reason now feels the need to drag the memory of missing honeymooner George Allen Smith IV through the mud. Jennifer Hagel Smith claimed in court that George Smith mixed prescription drugs with alcohol the night he vanished three years ago on the Mediterranean Sea.
Jennifer Hagel Smith said her husband’s family has refused to acknowledge the possibility that George Smith’s intoxication may have been a factor in an accidental death. She said they have insisted Smith was a victim of foul play.
Richard Sheeley, Hagel Smith’s attorney, said Smith’s parents and sister have “conjured up a conspiracy that never existed between the cruise line, investigators and, eventually, even the young woman they once welcomed into their family as a daughter.”
Jennifer Hagel Smith was in Superior Court responding to a legal challenge by Smith’s relatives to a nearly $1.1 million settlement she received from Royal Caribbean cruise line.
Doesn’t this remind one of the phrase, in all due respect? Jennifer Hagel Smith states that she is not saying that prescription drugs and alcohol caused her husband’s death … she’s just saying. Well if we are to take that tact Miss Hagel Smith then there are many things and people that could have been responsible for George Smith’s death isn’t there???
Hagel Smith is not saying the prescription drugs and alcohol caused her husband’s death, Sheeley said.
“But it could have contributed to an accident that caused his death,” he said.
The claim that George Smith used alcohol and prescription drugs the night he disappeared came in a new legal filing Friday in Stamford Superior Court.
He (Hagel Smith attorney) said that there was only a “spec” of blood found in the cabin, and that what was originally believed to be blood on a towel turned out to be makeup. No wonder there was no blood in the cabin … it was all below on the deck!
So why does Jennifer Hagel Smith only now bring up the prescription drug and alcohol angle? She blames the relatives of George Smith for her actions. You know, George Smith’s loved ones who actually want answers. Unlike Jennifer Hagel Smith and Royal Caribbean who would want to hide what happened forever in a million dollar settlement. Why wouldn’t George Smith’s family be upset over the Hagel Smith/Royal Caribbean settlement? The family wanted justice for George, not money!
Michael Jones, a lawyer for Smith’s family, said Sheeley’s comments were not accurate, but declined to elaborate. He said Smith’s family continues to believe he was a victim of foul play.
Hagel Smith did not want to disclose her husband’s use of prescription drugs, but was forced to do so because of his family’s “relentless” litigation, Sheeley said.
Hagel Smith has received numerous documents, including cabin access records and statements made to investigators, Sheeley said.
MOST CURRENT UPDATE: Could There be a Break in the Honeymoon Cruise Disappearance and Murder of George Smith ? FBI Has Incriminating Video Tape Which May Lead to an Arrest.
Its one thing for Scared Monkeys or another cruise line watch-guard group rails on the cruise industry for its putting profits ahead of safety and sanitary conditions. or the fact that so many missing persons cases and crimes aboard cruise ships have gone unsolved and unreported. However, when travel columnist Joel Widster writes a story like this it should really make the cruise industry stand up and take notice: Take a cruise? No thanks, not me. ‘Potential of disease, accident, crime enough to keep columnist off high seas’. This is hardly a glowing commentary for the cruise line industry. In fact, it is a endorsement to never step foot on a cruise ship.
But after the recent rash of stories about such cruise-industry problems as noroviruses, missing passengers, pirates and sinkings, I think my chances of taking a cruise are now slim to none.
Am I being too hard on the cruise industry? Are the stories all overblown? I don’t think so. In fact, I think my landlubber resolve is well warranted. I am concerned about both health and safety aboard ship. I also think cruising is costly, inconvenient and environmentally unfriendly. (MSNBC)
Joel Widster refers to cruise ships as bacterial filled tubs as the noroviruses appear to to popping up too frequently and the conditions on cruise ships make it that much more commonplace. Check on the web site that tracks illnesses aboard cruise ships.
… cruise ships are frequently affected by outbreaks of norovirus because they dock in countries where sanitation can be poor and because the tight quarters aboard ship facilitate transmission of the virus. Further, the boarding of “new and susceptible passengers every 1 or 2 weeks” creates a condition where the disease can be sustained over successive cruises; in fact, the CDC says that outbreaks extending beyond 12 successive cruises have been reported.
George Smith, the missing honeymooner, aboard a Royal Caribbean Cruise in 2005 also gets a mention in this article. The number of missing persons and crimes aboard cruise ships is staggering.
Another pressing but often unreported problem is the rising incidence of sexual assault on board cruise ships. During a March 2007 Congressional hearing, Professor Ross Klein of Memorial University of Newfoundland, who monitors the cruise industry, used the industry’s own numbers to demonstrate that cruise passengers may have a 50 percent greater chance of being sexually assaulted aboard ship than on land. According to the International Cruise Victims Organization, many incidents of shipboard sexual assault go unreported because passengers “often feel alone and frustrated by the jurisdictional uncertainties and poor treatment by cruise companies.”
Update: Isn’t this priceless … Royal Caribbean is blaming their passengers for norovirus. So much for the customer always being right. In Royal Caribbean’s case … the customer is always to blame. There’s a nice PR slogan.
Royal Caribbean’s new Liberty of the Seas will dock at the Port of Miami Saturday with sick passengers on board.
Since the ship set sail on its Caribbean vacation last Saturday, 172 of the ship’s 3,846 guests and 10 of its 1,425 crew members have experienced the illness, thought to be a Norovirus brought onboard by a guest previously exposed to it.
A spokesperson from Royal Caribbean said those “affected by the short-lived illness responded well to over-the-counter medication administered onboard the ship.” (Local 10)
(Hat tip: RR)
Judge Dismisses Amended George Smith Family Law Suit again Against Royal Caribbean … Its no Hagel-Smith Settlement
A Miami judge, Judge Jon Gordon, dismissed the amended law suit “with prejudice” that was filed by the parents and sister of missing George Smith against Royal Caribbean. A previous law suit had been dismissed as well. What a fine precedent this sets for future families of cruise ship crime. Is it any wonder why so many crimes aboard cruise ships go unsolved.
The Smith family sued Royal Caribbean stating that they tried to cover up the incident of George Smith’s disappearance. Royal Caribbean, the Miami based Cruise ship company has stated that they had exceeded their legal requirements in dealing with the missing George Smith.
The FBI is still investigating. Smith’s parents and sister alleged in their lawsuit that the cruise company tried to cover up the incident to avoid liability and negative publicity.
Royal Caribbean representatives have said the cruise line exceeded its legal requirements when it contacted the FBI and other authorities immediately after learning about Smith’s disappearance. (Forbes)
Judge Jon Gordon had dismissed this law suit with prejudice which means the law suit cannot be re-filed; however, it can be appealed. The Smith family attorney, Brett Rivkind, said that they would appeal the ruling.
“We think the decision is not well-reasoned,” Rivkind said. “We’re confident an appeal court will conclude that the conduct that has been alleged is sufficient to rise to a level of outrageous conduct. A jury should decide.” (Boston Globe)
It is rather peculiar that in a day and age with all the frivolous law suits that are allowed to go forward in the US and Florida that this case is dismissed? Dismissed with prejudice in fact. This would appear to be the type of case that a jury should hear, not a judge’s single ruling. If the Smith family is stating that Royal Caribbean performed “outrageous conduct” and Royal Caribbean thinks they exceeded its legal requirement, then what does Royal Caribbean have to fear by going to trial? Just another cover up at all cost in the name of the tourist dollar. Its a shame what happens to common families when they try to find out what has happened to their missing loved ones when tourism is involved.
The case of missing Honeymooner, George Allen Smith, goes beyond a legal one for Royal Caribbean. It is as much a PR battle as anything. Interesting that Royal Caribbean was fine with making an over one million dollar cash settlement with the wife of George Smith, Jennifer Hagel Smith, but wants no part of actually going to trial with this case. Royal Caribbean would pay off Jennifer Hagel-Smith, but not want to defend in court their position. Instead they cower behind a judge’s dismissal ruling.
What an example this sets for future families of missing people and crimes aboard cruise ships, “You better settle or else”. So families have no recourse against the billion dollar cruise industry? There is supposed to be no justice? Only monetary pay-off settlements to protect their precious tourism. Families that stand up and say to the cruise lines … we do not want your money … we want answers … are then punished. THAT’S JUSTICE???
Royal Caribbean agreed this month to pay more than $1 million to Smith’s estate. His widow accepted the deal, but his parents and sister dismissed it as a “sellout.”
Maybe the next time anyone things of going on vacation or going on a cruise you may want to remember the following words from Royal Caribbean representatives as this is what they think of all of us, “the cruise line exceeded its legal requirements”. Key word is “requirement”. Not that they cared to really help or get to the bottom of why one of their passengers was missing with a blood stain below his cabin. Only that they met the bare minimum of what was required. Exceeded? Hardly.
JUSTICE FOR GEORGE
Last June everyone wondered why Jennifer Hagel Smith settled with Royal Caribbean. I guess there were over 1 million reasons why Jennifer Hagel Smith settled the law suit with Royal Caribbean following the disappearance of her newlywed husband, George Allen Smith IV.
Royal Caribbean Cruises has agreed to pay more than $1 million to the estate of a Connecticut man who vanished from his honeymoon cruise of the Mediterranean in 2005. The Florida-based company will pay $950,000 to the estate of George Allen Smith IV and reimburse his widow, Jennifer Hagel Smith, for legal costs up to $110,000. Hagel Smith will start a fund in memory of her husband with an initial donation of $25,000 that the cruise line will match, according to a copy of the settlement obtained by The Associated Press. (Fox News)
It is hard to believe that is what one’s life is worth. The rush to a settlement had raised the eyebrows of many who followed the case. What is most puzzling is the continued admissions that some how Jennifer Hagel Smith will be able to use any records that she gains from Royal Caribbean against them in the future. I am sure their is very fine and legal print that Royal Caribbean attorneys put in this settlement that states otherwise.
Dana Pretzer interview with Bree Smith (Dec. 7, 2006), sister of missing George Smith. (Play podcast, go to time stamp: 66:30)
Hagel Smith noted that the settlement also gives her access for the first time to records kept by the cruise line, including vessel logs, security reports, door activity records, photographs, witness statements and correspondence with the FBI.
“My single goal continues to be to find answers regarding how George died,” Hagel Smith said in a statement. “Reaching a settlement in this case in no way shuts down the investigation.”
Since the settlement by Jennifer Hagel Smith there has obviously been a strain in the relationship with George Smith’s parents and sister. They are suing Royal Caribbean in a separate lawsuit, that was initially dismissed but since amended. The bizarre situation that exists in the Hagle Smith settlement is that according to CT State law, the parents of George Smith are entitled to some of the proceeds. Hopefully they can use that in their quest against Royal Caribbean for real answers. As we have discussed with Bree Smith in the past, she and her parents want answers to George’s disappearance not settlements.
Under state law, Hagel Smith will be entitled to the first $100,000 and 75 percent of the balance of the settlement after estate bills are paid, according to her attorney, Elizabeth Byrne. Smith’s parents will be entitled to 25 percent of the balance after the initial $100,000 is paid to his widow, Byrne said.
Cross posted at Missing & Exploited
The following are updates on three of the most past covered cases in the news. It is hard to imagine after all the time that has gone by, none of the three missing person cases have provided answers for their parents. Our hearts go out to each one of their parents. All parents of missing loved one’s deserve a conclusion. Check up the most recent updates at Missing & Exploited.