Over seven years ago, newlywed cruise passenger George Smith disappeared from Royal Caribbean’s Brilliance of the Seas into the Aegean Sea. The cruise line quickly concluded that Mr. Smith probably sat on the railing of his balcony and fell overboard, but there is absolutely no proof of that.
What Royal Caribbean knew but did not reveal to the families of George Smith and his bride, Jennifer Hagel, was that it had seized a video camera from other men last seen with Mr. Smith. The day after Mr. Smith’s disappearance, these passengers were eating breakfast in the cruise ship’s dining room when they began filming each other. According to a CBS program this year, the men were recorded laughing about the situation and mocking Mr. Smith.
The camera then stops on one of the three men who said: "We gave that guy a paragliding lesson without a parachute."
Our firm represented Mr. Smith’s widow and we hired forensic expert Dr. Henry Lee back in 2005 to investigate the case. The cruise line never revealed this video to us, or to Dr. Lee, or to the public. Instead, it launched a scandalous media campaign to portray Mr. Smith as a drunk and his bride as unfaithful.
This Friday, the Nancy Grace program is airing a special look back at this case entitled "What Happened to George Smith?" The program will take a look back on some of the developments in the case. This "mystery" is no mystery at all. Those involved should be prosecuted.
We have written a series of articles about Mr. Smith’s case, including 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.
I am not a fan of Nancy Grace. Her program lost focus on the cruise line’s cover-up and the incompetency of the FBI in investigating the crime, while unnecessarily pitting the Smith family against their daughter-in-law. But her program is one of the few that continues to cover Mr. Smith’s disappearance. I’ll be watching this Friday.