crimesider

New $100K reward in case of vanished cruiseship honeymooner

Newlywed George Smith IV vanished July 5, 2005 from a cruise ship where he was honeymooning with his bride, Jennifer Hagel Smith Elie Camaro

Nine years ago - July 5, 2005 - George Smith IV vanished from his honeymoon cruise in the Aegean Sea. His body has never been found.

Contrary to what authorities have said, his mother, Maureen Smith, is certain it was no accident.

"I have no doubt in my mind whatsoever that my son was murdered on that cruise ship," she tells CBS News' 48 HOURS.

Now, in a renewed push to solve the case, the family of the Greenwich, Conn. man says they are offering a $100,000 reward for information leading directly to the arrest and conviction of whoever was responsible for their son's disappearance.

News of the reward was disclosed to 48 HOURS, which will air "Murder at Sea?" this Saturday, the anniversary of the disappearance. The broadcast has also learned that a fresh team of FBI agents has been assigned to the case.

George Smith IV, and his bride Jennifer Hagel Smith, were on their honeymoon in waters between Greece and Turkey on the Royal Caribbean ship "Brilliance of the Seas," when the new groom went overboard, in what the ship's captain said was likely an accident.

murder5.jpg
The family of George Smith is offering a $100,000 reward for information leading directly to an arrest and conviction in his disappearance

"I am convinced people know what happened to George," his mother Maureen Smith tells 48 HOURS. "I know that maybe someone will come forward now with this $100,000 reward," said Smith.

George Smith IV vanished after a night of heavy drinking and gambling in the ship's casino. A passenger in a neighboring room heard men arguing on the Smiths' balcony. Another passenger heard furniture being moved. His bride was later found passed out in a hallway. The next morning passengers photographed a bloodstain on a lifeboat canopy beneath the couple's balcony.

48 HOURS' investigation includes revelations of questionable alibis, failed polygraphs and a provocative video that involves three of the four men who were the last to see Smith alive.

Michael Jones, the Smiths' attorney, believes the videotape recorded just hours after Smith went missing by those three other passengers on the cruise - Rusty Kofman, and Zach and Greg Rozenberg - is key to cracking the case.

"They pass a video camera around filming themselves commenting about George's death in a very callous way," Jones has previously told 48 HOURS. "But the really incriminating statement is one of them stands up at the end of the tape and sort of hunches his shoulders and flashes gang signs and says, 'Told ya I was gangsta' and in the context of the discussion about George's death, almost as if he's bragging about having done something to George."

Jones said the man who made those remarks is Greg Rozenberg.

Lawyers for Rusty Kofman and Zach Rozenberg declined to comment to 48 Hours about the tape. Greg Rozenberg's attorney said his client wasn't aware Smith was dead when the tape was made and was just making a stupid comment. All the men in the video say they had nothing to do with George Smith's death.

Speaking about the family's new $100,000 reward, Smith's sister Bree told 48 Hours, "I think the reward will propel people forward," adding, "People need to come forward and tell what they know and there needs to be justice."

"It's 9 years of fighting and we're gonna keep fighting and at this point in time I think we needed an extra little push," said Smith's mother, Maureen.

Watch a preview of 48 Hours: Murder at Sea?, which airs Saturday, July 5, 10p ET/PT.

Popular

Comments

Follow Us

Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.

Watch Now