Cruise Passenger Mystery Deepens

United States authorities are probing the disappearance early last month of a Connecticut man who was on a honeymoon cruise through the Mediterranean. They say it appears foul play may have been involved.

George Allen Smith IV was halfway into the cruise with his bride, Jennifer Hagel, when he vanished while the ship was off the Turkish coast, according to The Early Show co-anchor Hannah Storm.

"The captain came on and announced to everyone that there was a passenger missing," says Linda Bruck, who was on board the Royal Caribbean's "Brilliance of the Sea" with her husband, Larry Bruck.

They say they didn't see Smith or Hagel, but heard all the rumors.

"That there was a possibility he had winnings that people knew he had won and that they were after," is how Larry Bruck describes one such rumor.

"The most outrageous rumor I heard was that there was an old boyfriend on board," says Linda Bruck.

Another passenger thought something might be amiss when Smith disappeared.

Clete Hyman, who was in an adjoining cabin to that of Smith and Hagel, recently recalled what he heard through the walls in the early morning hours of July 5: "The impact, it sounded like something really heavy, and my first thought was maybe throwing furniture overboard," Hyman said on "Scarborough Country" on MSNBC. "All of a sudden, there (was) some very loud arguing out on the balcony."

Candid testimony like that is unlikely to be repeated anytime soon, Storm observes, since Turkish authorities turned the case over to Washington, and the FBI and U.S. Attorney's Office are now in charge of the investigation.

Witnesses have been gagged, and the U.S. officials are doing all the talking.
  • Brian Dakss

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