Yesterday was the seven year anniversary of the disappearance of George Smith from Royal Caribbean’s Brilliance of the Seas cruise ship.
You will recall that Mr. Smith was on his honeymoon cruise with his newlywed bride, Jennifer Hagel, when he went over the railing of his balcony early on the morning of July 5, 2005. Although the cruise line quickly concluded that this was just an "accident," passengers took photographs of a blood-stained awning and heard sounds consistent with violence in Mr. Smith’s cabin.
I have always believed that Mr. Smith was a victim of foul play. Mr. Smith’s wife retained our firm to represent her and the interests of Mr. Smith’s estate. The deeper we looked into the case, the more certain we were that this was no accident.
Last year we wrote a series of articles Disappearance of George Smith IV – Six Years Later. We discussed what happened on the cruise and how the cruise line and the media responded to Mr. Smith’s disappearance.
Two months ago, CBS interviewed a former Assistant FBI Director who discussed a video tape recorded by three passengers last seen with Mr. Smith. The day after Mr. Smith’s disappearance, these passengers (known as the "Russian men" – the two Rozenbergs and "Rusty" Kofman) were eating breakfast in the cruise ship’s dining room when they began filming each other. According to the CBS program, the men were recorded laughing about the situation and mocking Mr. Smith.
The camera then stops on one of the three men (who was not identified) who said: "We gave that guy a paragliding lesson without a parachute."
Obviously this statement is incriminating, considering Mr. Smith went over the railing of his balcony and the Royal Caribbean security report on the morning of the disappearance states that young men were seen leaving the area near the Smith’s cabin at around 4:30 AM.
With this statement as well as other evidence we are familiar with in the case, it is disturbing that the FBI has not made an arrest.
It’s long overdue.