Speculation Rampant on Brilliance Mystery

July 14, 2005

The case of the missing man from Royal Caribbean's Brilliance of the Seas is becoming ever more mysterious.

You may recall the story: A 26-year old man from Greenwich, Connecticut, sailing on a honeymoon cruise in the Mediterranean, was reported missing when the ship docked at the Turkish port of Kusadasi. At that time, Royal Caribbean said in a statement that ship officers were alerted to something possibly awry when a passenger spotted blood on an awning over a lifeboat early that morning. A shipwide search then found that one passenger indeed was not onboard; George Allen Smith IV was not in his cabin, reportedly, when his wife awoke -- and she was unaware of his whereabouts.

His bride, 25-year-old Jennifer Hagel, told investigators she figured he was out with friends (for more on our original report, click here).

Fast forward: Hagel, after being questioned, returned to the U.S. And now, reports that blood stains were also found in the couples' cabin are circulating. According to an Associated Press dispatch, an unidentified Turkish official said "investigators found blood in Smith's cabin and on the railing -- although it is not clear whose blood it is." A bloody handprint was found on the balcony railing.

Other details are also emerging. That same official also told reporters that the couple had spent the prior evening in the casino and were drinking heavily.

"We're cooperating in the investigation. It's multi-jurisdictional and the F.B.I. is taking a lead role," Lynn Martenstein, Royal Caribbean's spokeswoman, told Cruise Critic today. Martenstein downplayed much of the media speculation as irresponsible at this point.