The Compelling Story of Jamie Barnett - Living Through the Loss

I instantly took a liking to Jamie Barnett when I first met her.  

In 2007, Jamie traveled to Fort Lauderdale to attend a meeting between the International Cruise Victims ("ICV") and the cruise industry trade association, the Cruise Line International Association ("CLIA").  Jamie had flown in from Los Angeles for the meeting.

Jamie Barnett - Ashley Barnett - Living Through the LossJamie, a Mississippi-native-turned-L.A.-resident, traveled to Florida as part of the ICV group to convince the cruise industry to agree to safety measures to protect passengers sailing on cruise ships.

You see, Jamie's daughter, Ashley, died on a Carnival cruise in 2005.  Her story is on the ICV's web page - "What Happened to My Daughter?"  Jamie's daughter, beautiful Ashley, was a happy, vibrant young woman when she boarded the cruise ship.  A day later she was dead and alone in a morgue in Mexico. 

Tragedies like this can destroy most folks.  But Jamie has been a force to be reckoned with, as they say.  She took Carnival on for the medical negligence of their medical staff.  Although she can't talk about it because of a confidentiality order - she made the cruise line pay because of their medical malfeasance.

But lawsuits can accomplish only so much.  Compensation and a pound of flesh if you are lucky.  The real battle is fought and won by moving past the lawsuit and investing your energies to protect others.  Like, as Jamie has done, forcing the cruise industry to implement steps to protect the next Ashley Barnett who steps on a cruise ship. 

Jamie's story is told on CBS' 48 Hours Mystery - Dark Waters.  Jamie explains how the loss of Ashley motivates her to protect other moms who kids may sail on the next cruise from hell.  What you will see, hear and feel watching this seven minute segment should provide you with some insight into Jamie's passion - it is quite overwhelming.

Ashley Barnett  Jamie meets with the mother of George Smith IV, who suffered a similar tragedy three months before Ashley's death when she lost her son during a cruise.  The grief of these parents brings meaning to those who crusade for safer cruises. 

Jamie is now the President of the New York chapter of the ICV.  Unlike the cruise industry employees who slog through a 9 - 5 job promoting the business of cruising, Jamie and others in the victim's organization, who have lost children on cruises, live and breathe the urgent need to improve the cruise industry 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  And they will do so for the rest of their lives. 

Jamie's dedication led to the Cruise Vessel Safety and Security Act, which will protect millions of passengers who climb aboard cruise ships each year.  The new cruise safety law will be signed by President Obama in the next few days.  

Jamie has a blog, called "Living Through the Loss," which is a very personal expression of Jamie's struggle facing the horror of losing her daughter while finding strength in the process to help others.

Last week, Jamie attended a reception in the Capital Building in Washington to celebrate the passing of the new cruise safety law.  The reception was attended by members of the ICV, Congressional leaders, and the media.  Jamie shares her fight for the new law over the past four years in the video below:  

 

 

Another video by Jamie on behalf of the International Cruise Victims is available here.

 

Credits:

Mom and daughter           Jamie Barnett

Ashley Barnett                    CBS 48 Hours

Video                                    Jamie Barnett

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Comments (3) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
toni - March 5, 2012 2:17 PM

I feel lucky to have come across your website which has then led me to find Jamie's blog...so heartfelt and emotional! I think it is so brave of her to write so raw without holding back. I know that I found strength in the obstacles she has over come and the way she has the courage to face each new day and carry on her daughters memory. It saddens me that her time with Ashley was cut short but then brings a smile to my face that she had such a special mother-daughter relationship with her.

I am curious, did the boyfriend ever get investigated? Did anything ever happen to him?

The whole story brings such a heaviness to my heart. God bless the Barnett family.

tahoeview - May 9, 2012 3:47 PM

I'd like to know if Jeff ever took a polygraph- the only and obvious question here is did Jamie take the Methadone by accident, or did someone slip it to her ???

Courtney McLaury - February 11, 2013 4:37 AM

I find it *very* odd that the first thing Geoff mentions when they are working on his dead girlfriend is that he has Vicodin and methadone in his possession. That, to me, indicated his fear and guilt. He knew what was up. Geoff bears the brunt of the responsibility in this as he brought the illegal non-prescribed drugs on board. And his story that he went on a cruise to "detox"-what a liar. He went to get high, drink, and gamble. I am guessing he has merrily gone on with his life while the Barnett families lives have stopped. I think he should have been charged with smuggling, possession, and manslaughter. Instead, he walks off scot free, another addict ruining many lives.

As to if Ashley could have ingested the methadone accidently, what form was the methadone in - wafer or liquid? I can see someone taking the methadone accidently if it was in the red liquid form because it looks like cherry Kool-Aid. If it was in the tablet form, no WAY could someone casually pop that HUGE orange wafer. You would have to either add warm/hot water to break it up or break it into four pieces (the wafer is scored on the back) and swallow it one piece at a time. I think she was upset and it is possible that Geoff talked her into taking some to "relax her and calm her down/help her sleep" so he could go party all night and not have to worry about her. Young women have done MUCH stupider things at the prodding of their "man." Ashley had to of been crazy about him to tolerate him buying and using drugs around her...it also had the effect of desensitizing her fear of drugs, which is what is truly tragic about this. That is why I believe wholeheartedly when he offered her up a sip/a piece, she was primed to say yes as she must of been thinking "he does it all the time and nothing ever happens to him...it must be no big deal..."

To the Barnett family, I am so sorry you lost your beautiful daughter.

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