The mysterious case of cruise passenger Amy Lynn Bradley is again in the news.  Amy was traveling with her brother and parents when she disappeared 12 years ago while aboard the Royal Caribbean cruise ship, Rhapsody of the Seas.  The ship had left Oranjestad, Aruba, and was sailing to Curaçao, in the Netherlands Antilles.  On March 24, 1998, at age 23, Amy vanished. 

Amy Bradley - Missing - Disappearance - Royal Caribbean The Bradley family was highly critical of Royal Caribbean who they faulted for the delay in responding to the incident and for what they felt was insensitivity toward their plight.  Like most disappearances at sea, the cruise line’s "investigation" seemed designed to protect the cruise line’s image and legal interests.  The FBI investigation, as usual, went no where.    

Amy’s disappearance in 1998 occurred 6 to 7 years before the highly publicized cases of  Merrian Carver in 2004 and George Smith IV in 2005, before the formation of the International Cruise Victims organization, and before five Congressional hearings which led to the passage of the Cruise Vessel Safety and Security Act of 2010.  The Bradleys were fighting the cruise line largely alone. 

The International Cruise Victims organization contains a story about Amy’s disappearance.

The Bradley family’s website is here

CNN Justice is now raising the issue whether fragments of a jaw bone found in Aruba, reportedly that of a Caucasian, may possibly be Amy’s.  You may recall that there was a great deal of speculation that the jaw bone may have been connected to the disappearance of  Natalee Holloway.  Forensic testing concluded that it was not.

By my reading, the CNN article contains no information providing a reasonable basis to connect this evidence to Amy’s disappearance 12 years ago.  The cruise ship had left Aruba and was closer to Curaçao when the family realized that Amy was missing.  So it seems like a stretch to believe that evidence washing ashore in Aruba is tied to this mystery.  Hopefully, additional forensic testing will provide a clue. 

The story brings the public’s attention to this unsolved cruise passenger disappearance and the parent’s continuing search for answers to what happened to their daughter during this ill fated Caribbean cruise.         

Gather covered this sad story today, and summed up the point exactly:

"It is a terrible thing that the families of Natalee Holloway and Amy Lynn Bradley have had to endure these past many years.  It is incredibly sad that there wasn’t more urgency in these cases and that they have never been solved.  It has to be hell on the families to not have any idea what happened to their daughters.  The not knowing can be quite miserable."

 

Update:  Lifetime has a video / movie "Vanished" (with Beth Holloway) about Amy’s disappearance. 

Amy Bradley Royal Caribbean Rhapsody of the SeasThe mysterious case of cruise passenger Amy Lynn Bradley is again in the news.

Amy was traveling with her brother and parents when she disappeared 19 years ago while aboard the Royal Caribbean cruise ship, Rhapsody of the Seas. The ship had left Oranjestad, Aruba, and was sailing to Curaçao, in the Netherlands Antilles. On March 24, 1998, at age 23, Amy vanished.

The Bradley family was highly critical of Royal Caribbean who they faulted for the delay in responding to the incident and for what they felt was insensitivity toward their plight. Like most disappearances at sea, the cruise line’s "investigation" seemed designed to protect the cruise line’s image and legal interests. The FBI investigation, as usual, went no where.

Amy’s disappearance in 1998 occurred six to seven years before the highly publicized cases of Merrian Carver in 2004 and George Smith IV in 2005, before the formation of the International Cruise Victims organization, and before five Congressional hearings which led to the passage of the Cruise Vessel Safety and Security Act of 2010. The Bradleys were fighting the cruise line largely alone.

The International Cruise Victims organization contains a story about Amy’s disappearance.

The Bradley family’s website is here.  

The FBI page contains this description of the case: "Amy Lynn Bradley, while on a family cruise to the Caribbean, went missing from the Royal Caribbean International Cruise Line’s ship Rhapsody of the Seas. On Saturday, March 21, 1998, the vessel departed San Juan, Puerto Rico, and traveled to its first port of call, the island of Aruba. On Monday, March 23, 1998, Rhapsody of the Seas departed Aruba and was traveling in international waters to its next island port of Curacao, Netherlands Antilles. During the early morning hours of Tuesday, March 24, 1998, Amy Lynn Bradley went missing. The vessel later departed Curacao and continued on to the island of St. Martin (Sint Maarten) and further traveled to St. Thomas, United States Virgin Islands, before returning to San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Saturday, March 28, 1998."

The FBI is offering a reward of up to $25,000 for information leading to the recovery of Amy Lynn Bradley and information that leads to the identification, arrest, and conviction of the person(s) responsible for her disappearance.

Have a comment? Please leave one below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

Photo credit: Bradley family

 

 

As we all know, 100 years ago today the Titanic struck an iceberg.  By the following morning over 1,500 people were dead.

The horror of the event, it seems to me, has largely faded by the passing of time.  Does anyone really stop and reflect on the fear and suffering experienced by the doomed passengers and crew?  Or the sadness of the families who lost loved ones in the disaster?

When someone says Titanic, most people probably think of the movie with Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet.  Most people would rather think of a love scene between Jack & Rose than 1,500 soon-Costa Concordia - Giglio Italyto-be-dead people gasping for air in dark, deep and icy waters.   

At this very moment there are several cruise ships, on Titanic memorial cruises, heading to the spot where the cruise ship sank. There are many accounts of smiling passengers in period costumes similar to what the first class passengers were wearing in 1912, with women in corsets and men in top hats.  Lots of excited passengers enjoying their cruises; fine meals, cocktails, dancing, and laughter.

This seems rather macabre to me. When they find themselves at the watery grave tonight where 1,500 souls perished, will they be remembering the real event or celebrating the Titanic movie, now in 3-D?

Carol Burnett said "death plus time equals comedy."  And Angela Carter said "comedy is tragedy which happens to others."  Both thoughts, I suppose, are true.  One of my Dad’s favorite saying when things went wrong was "other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?"  Yes, its funny as long as it’s not your family and it happened long ago.

But the Titanic is not the last cruise ship where someone died.  Over the past 100 years, there have been hundreds of maritime incidents which have accounted for the deaths of thousands of passengers and crew members.  Many fires, collisions, and sinkings – not to mention over-boards, violence and crimes – have occurred during cruises since the Titanic sank. 

When I think of the Titanic, my mind goes to the tragedies suffered by hundreds of people whose have lost loved ones during cruises in the last decade or so.

In 1998, Amy Bradley disappeared during a Royal Caribbean cruise.  In 2004, Merrian Carver disappeared during a Celebrity cruise and Ashley Barnett died under mysterious circumstances on a Carnival cruise ship.  In 2005, George Smith disappeared during his honeymoon cruise.  In 2006 Richard Liffridge died in a fire on a Princess cruise. And last year, Disney youth counselor Rebecca Coriam disappeared from the Disney Wonder.  In the last 10 years, there have been over 170 people who have disappeared from cruise ships.  The families of the missing and dead are living through their own Titanic horror every day.  

This morning I clicked on the web cam on Giglio Porto, showing the Costa Concordia on its side, under dark angry clouds. There is nothing funny about this latest disaster.  A 100 years from now, will there be memorial cruises to Giglio? Will the cruise passengers be dancing and laughing then? 

Whistler mountain bikingLast night our family arrived back in Miami after a three week vacation in the Pacific North West.  We enjoyed Pike Place Market in Seattle, kayaked in the Orcas Islands (amazing), mountain biked in Whistler, and hiked Mt. Rainier.  What a blast.

Aside from a spectacular wipe-out on a mountain bike trail by my youngest son, we returned to Miami safe and sound.  

Given the nature of my profession, I am ever mindful that some family vacations do not turn out to be happy memories. 

An experience while visiting Orcas Island reminded me of that.  My wife and law partner Lisa was visiting a quilting store when she overheard the store owner talking about just returning from a Holland America cruise to Alaska with her partner.  Lisa asked how they enjoyed the cruise.  The store owner’s face turned grim.  She paused and said a young man disappeared during the cruise.     

The store owner was referring to twenty year old Blake Kepley, who disappeared during an Alaskan cruise with his family aboard Holland America’s Oosterdam on July 22nd.  Like many cruise ship disappearances, the cruise line has not disclosed whether there are closed circuit television images of the young man which may explain what happened.  This lack of transparency causes great stress to the surviving family members who must struggle not only with the misery of losing a child but the confusion of not knowing what really happened.

Kayaking Orca's IslandWhen I hear of incidents like this, I see images of other young men and women who have disappeared from cruise ships without explanation.  Like Amber Malkuch from Holland America’s ZandaamRebecca Coriam from the Disney WonderMerrian Carver from the Celebrity Mercury MercuryAngelo Faliva from the Coral Princess, George Smith from Royal Caribbean’s Brilliance of the Seas, and Amy Bradley from Royal Caribbean’s Rhapsody of the Seas.

I do not know how these families endure their grief.  In the case of Amy Bradley, the Bradley family has suffered through twelve years of missing their daughter with no answers from the cruise line. 

When I hear of incidents of loved ones lost at sea I pray that my children, and all children, remain safe when they travel and vacation.  And when I return home, I am thankful that my family stayed safe from harm.    

Over a decade ago, maritime attorney Jeffrey Maltzman (photo below, middle) opened up the Miami office of the California law firm of Kaye Rose and Partners.  Over the course of the past ten years, Mr. Maltzman created a firm of around twenty-five lawyers which represented Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Princess Cruises in a variety of passenger and crewmember cases.  He teamed up with ace litigator Jeffrey Foreman (photo below, left), broke away from the Kaye Rose firm, and re-named his firm Maltzman Foreman.  

Mr. Maltzman’s firm handled cruise line crisis management issues, such as when the Star Princess caught fire off of the coast of Jamaica.  He defended some of the most high profile cases against the cruise industry, including many cases involving young women who Jeffrey Maltzman - Foreman Friedman - Cruise Lawyers  disappeared on the high seas or were the victims of violent crimes, including:

The disappearance of Amy Bradley from Royal Caribbean’s Rhapsody of the Seas.

The disappearance of Merrian Carver from Celebrity Cruise’s Mercury.

The sexual assault of Janet Kelly on a cruise ship (a confidentiality order prohibits us from mentioning the name of the cruise line).  

The sexual assault of Laurie Dishman on Royal Caribbean’s Vision of the Seas.

Mr. Maltzman’s firm was well known for its methodical and exhaustive investigation into the background of personal injury claimants and cruise ship crime victims.  A good example of the aggressive style of defending cruise line cases is found in articles "Defense Team Found the Needle in the Haystack" and  "When Winning is Everything, Maltzman Foreman is There."  After winning a case filed by a group of elderly passengers against Cunard, the firm was quoted saying "there’s a saying that pigs get slaughtered . . . If you make them look like they’re greedy . . . that usually has an impact. So we tried to paint them as greedy, exaggerating, malingering."    

We have litigated many cases against Mr. Maltzman’s firm.  I have given him kudos in at least one prior blog article involving a disastrous bus excursion crash in the British Virgin Islands where a passenger was killed.  

However, the result of the harsh personal style of attacking sexual assault victims and grieving families members is that the cruise industry, particularly Royal Caribbean, has created life time enemies.  Many passengers who were raped or lost children on cruises and then subjected to the "make them look greedy, exaggerating, malingering" treatment have not forgotten their ill treatment following their personal cruise tragedies.  These victims created the International Cruise Victims (ICV) organization.  The ICV soundly defeated the cruise industry in the arena of public opinion.  Ken Carver and firm clients Laurie Dishman and Janet Kelly all appeared on national television and testified before our U.S. Congress regarding cruise crime issues.  There have been hundreds of articles in national and international publications involving the ICV members over the last several years.  Their compelling stories were integral in Congress passing the 2010 Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act which now protects Americans on the high seas. 

Whereas the Maltzman firm was skilled at winning the small battles involving individual cases, it was consistently trounced in the larger war being fought by victims demanding cruise line transparency and accountability.

So this year began with word that Mr. Maltzman had suddenly and unexpectedly left the firm he created long ago. The firm, now called Foreman Friedman, dropped Mr. Maltzman’s name and added the name of Mr. Maltzman’s partner, Darren Friedman (photo above, right).  What happened?  Who knows?  Who cares?   Mr. Maltzman will create another dynamo of a new firm, no doubt.  Now there will be two firms where there was once one, both aggressively defending high profile cruise cases with a "winning is everything" attitude. 

 

Photo Credit: South Florida Business Leader

MIndy Jordon Disappearance - NCLEarlier today, I mentioned the recent disappearance of a young Chinese woman from the MSC Magnifica.

It appears that she may have been a murder victim, according to the police in Italy who are investigating the case.

If this is true, this is hardly the first time that a cruise passenger has been killed at sea.

Cruise passenger Karen Roston was thrown overboard by her husband during an Admiral Cruises vacation. He was later convicted of the crime.

Mindy Jordon went overboard from a NCL cruise ship when she went on a vacation with a husband reportedly with an abusive and violent background.

The case of George Smith, of course, is perhaps the clearest example of a crime at sea, after he was reportedly thrown overboard by a man, who was also sailing on the Royal Caribbean Brilliance of the Seas as a passenger, who reportedly gave Mr. Smith a “paragliding lesson without a parachute.”

Micki Kanesaki DisappearanceA Chinese cruise passenger murdered his wife by pitching her overboard during a cruise aboard the Macau Success. He falsely claimed that his wife committed suicide.

A drunken passenger killed his wife during a cruise on the Carnival Elation to Mexico.

A lawyer was arrested for allegedly strangling & throwing his wife, Micki Kanesaki off an Italian cruise ship several years ago.

A woman from Vancouver, Canada, Fariba Amani, who was cruising aboard the Bahamas Celebration cruise ship operated by the Celebration Cruise Lines, disappeared under mysterious circumstances during a cruise with her boyfriend.

Farabi Amani DisappearanceThere are many others who met with foul play on cruise ships.

A Brazilian crew member, Camilla Peixoto Bandeira, working aboard the MSC Musica was strangled to death by her boyfriend.

23 year old  Amy Lynn Bradley disappeared from Royal Caribbean’s Rhapsody of the Seas under highly suspicious circumstances where it appears that she was abducted.

Carnival passenger Annette Mizener appeared to have been thrown overboard from a Carnival ship cruising to Mexico.

A Holland America Line (HAL) crew member sexually assaulted, violently beat, and tried to throw a woman from her balcony on HAL’s Nieuw Amsterdam. The crew member was arrested and sentenced Jennifer Ellis-Seitz Balconyto jail, although in most such cases there are no arrests or prosecutions.

Other young, healthy and seemingly happy individuals have disappeared from cruise ships, with the cruise line wildly speculating that they probably committed suicide, like Denisa Markoska, and Angelo Faliva.

A murder investigation was opened after after a 53 year old woman went overboard from the Costa Fortuna.

A young woman, Jennifer Ellis-Seitz, disappeared over the rails of her cabin’s balcony resulting in the FBI investigating the conduct of her husband when other passengers commented on what they considered his highly strange behavior. The FBI eventually declined the case after finding no evidence of foul play. There was, of course, no automatic man overboard system in place.

It was the mysterious disappearance of Merrian Carver from the Celebrity Mercury back in 2004, and the resulting cover-up by the cruise line, which motivated her father, Ken Carver to create the International Cruise Victims organization.

Several lawmakers have asked whether a cruise ship is the perfect place to commit a crime, largely Camilla Peixoto Bandeira - MSC Disappearancebecause of jurisdictional nightmares like this.

The cruise industry is quick to label disappearances at sea as “suicides” even when the facts suggest otherwise. Read: “Suicide” – One of the Cruise Lines’ Favorite Excuses When a Passenger Disappears at Sea.

Mike Driscoll, editor of Cruiseweek, a cruise publication, was recently quoted as saying “Most over-boards to date have been suicides.”  He offered no statistical evidence to support this inaccurate claim. In fact, the majority of disappearances involve highly intoxicated individuals who go over the rails. Whether you view this phenomenon as the result of reckless conduct by the drunken passenger or the irresponsibility of the cruise line in over-serving their guests to make profits from the vast amount of alcohol sold during a cruise, there is no question that alcohol is involved in most disappearances from cruise ships.  You can track the last 288 case of overboards maintained by cruise expert Dr. Ross Klein and easily Annetter Mizener Disappearancesee that alcohol plays a significant role in most overboard cases.

Unfortunately, it also appears that a cruise is a perfect location for a murder, particularly when there are few automatic man overboard cameras installed on ships which would document and, possibly, deter criminal activity.

Have a thought?  Please leave a comment below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

March 3, 2017 Update: Cops believe missing Dublin-based mum was murdered on cruise ship and thrown overboard in suitcase.

November 16, 2018 Update: There have been at least four additional murders, or murder attempts, on cruise ships since we first published this article. In  July of 2017, the FBI arrested the husband of a  a 39-year-old woman who was murdered aboard the Emerald Princess operated by Princess Cruises in Alaska. In January of 2018, the boyfriend of a 50 year-old woman was arrested for murder aboard the Carnival Elation after he threw her off their balcony to a lifeboat below. In October of 2018, a passenger was arrested after he tried to throw his partner off of the Radiance of the Seas in Australia. Earlier this week,  a man killed a 52 year-old woman on the Royal Princess operated by Princess Cruises after allegedly choking her and throwing her over the railing following which she fell and struck a lifeboat.

Photo credits:

Mindy Jordon – International Cruise Victims

Denisa Markosa DisappearanceMicki Kanesaki – Orange County Register

Fariba Amani – Global News Canada

Jennifer Ellis-Seitz balcony – TODAY

Camilla Peixoto Bandeira – A Tribuna newspaper

Annette Mizener – ABC News

Denisa Markosa – Fokus newspaper (Macedonia)

Royal Princess Murder – Mail Online