The cruise passenger reported missing last week after she disembarked from the Carnival Splendor in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, has been located. We wrote about the incident – Passenger From Carnival Splendor Missing in St. Thomas, USVI.
A family friend left a message on this blog, stating that " . . . she was kidnapped and managed to escape. She ran to the local authorities and now help is on the way . . . " A post on an article in a Virgin Islands newspaper (which has not been verified) explained that "she was allegedly "kidnapped by gun point somewhere close to where it docked."
This account, if true, has not been confirmed by the local police in St. Thomas.
This morning, a local newspaper in St. Thomas, published an article reporting that yesterday (Sunday):
". . . at around 11:05 a.m., Regina Gilliam approached a Virgin Islands Port Authority (V.I.P.A.) officer at the Cyril E. King Airport and identified herself as the missing person from the Carnival Splendor cruise ship. The V.I.P.A. officer was able to verify that she was indeed Ms. Gilliam, and notified 911 immediately . . . "
The article continued:
"Ms. Gilliam was subsequently interviewed by the V.I.P.D.’s Investigations Bureau as part of the force’s standard procedures for missing persons. An investigation was launched to locate Ms. Gilliam on Thursday, when she did not reboard the ship before it was scheduled to depart St. Thomas at 4 p.m.
Mr. Dratte (the V.I.P.D. Public Information Officer) said the force was working with all relevant authorities to ensure Ms. Gilliam’s health and wellbeing, and to protect the integrity of the investigation . . . "
The official account, or course, raises more questions than provides answers. Was Ms. Gilliam really abducted? And if so, when and by whom? Carnival reported her missing when the Splendor left port on Thursday afternoon and she was located on Sunday morning, three days later. Some people are questioning whether she was really kidnapped. At the same time, the Virgin Islands has motivation to downplay the incident; the islands obviously do not want the bad publicity of cruise passengers being abducted playing out in the international press.
Women going ashore from cruise have been victims of foul play in the past, such as in Mexico and in Bonaire, where Royal Caribbean crew members were murdered after going ashore in ports of call. If Ms. Gilliam was in fact kidnapped, this is obviously is a serious matter that should be acknowledged by the police in St. Thomas; those responsible for the crime should be arrested and help responsible, and the USVI tourism people and the cruise lines have a duty to warn the public.
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