Jennifer Hagel Smith, the widow of missing and presumed dead George Smith who went missing in July of 2005 aboard a Royal Caribbean cruise ship now states that he was taking prescription drugs and alcohol the night he went missing. After all this time, this now becomes Jennifer Hagel Smith’s story as she all but takes the side of the cruise lines. Hegel Smith and Royal Caribbean had reached a monetary settlement in 2006.
The widow of a Greenwich man who disappeared during their honeymoon cruise three years ago says her husband mixed alcohol with prescription drugs the night he vanished.
The widow, Jennifer Hagel Smith, says her husband’s family has refused to acknowledge the possibility that George Smith’s intoxication from alcohol and prescription drugs may have been a factor in an accidental death.
Instead, Hagel Smith accused Smith’s family or their representatives of describing a crime scene in the cabin of the ship that didn’t exist.
Jennifer Hagel Smith, Widow of Missing George Smith Says He Mixed Alcohol & Prescription Drugs the Night He Went Missing
Last June everyone wondered why Jennifer Hagel Smith settled with Royal Caribbean. I guess there were over 1 million reasons why Jennifer Hagel Smith settled the law suit with Royal Caribbean following the disappearance of her fiancee, George Allen Smith IV.
Royal Caribbean Cruises has agreed to pay more than $1 million to the estate of a Connecticut man who vanished from his honeymoon cruise of the Mediterranean in 2005.
The Florida-based company will pay $950,000 to the estate of George Allen Smith IV and reimburse his widow, Jennifer Hagel Smith, for legal costs up to $110,000. Hagel Smith will start a fund in memory of her husband with an initial donation of $25,000 that the cruise line will match, according to a copy of the settlement obtained by The Associated Press. (Fox News)
Dana Pretzer interview with Bree Smith on Scared Monkeys radio (Dec. 7, 2006), sister of missing George Smith. (Play podcast, go to time stamp: 66:30)
It is hard to believe that is what one’s life is worth. The rush to a settlement had raised the eyebrows of many who followed the case. What is most puzzling is the continued admissions that some how Jennifer Hagel Smith will be able to use any records that she gains from Royal Caribbean against them in the future. I am sure their is very fine and legal print that Royal Caribbean attorneys put in this settlement that states otherwise.
Hagel Smith noted that the settlement also gives her access for the first time to records kept by the cruise line, including vessel logs, security reports, door activity records, photographs, witness statements and correspondence with the FBI.
“My single goal continues to be to find answers regarding how George died,” Hagel Smith said in a statement. “Reaching a settlement in this case in no way shuts down the investigation.”
read the rest here…
This is quite the set back for the family of missing honeymooner, George A Smith IV. A Miami judge has dismissed the law suit filed against Royal Caribbean Cruise by the family of George Smith.
Judge Jon I. Gordon granted a motion Monday to dismiss the lawsuit faulting Royal Caribbean International for its handling of George A. Smith IV’s disappearance more than a year ago.
“It’s a setback, of course, but it’s not the end,” maritime lawyer Brett Rivkind told Greenwich Time Thursday. “The Smith family isn’t discouraged. Whether the Smith family won or lost, the issue is going to be decided in an appellate court.”
What a bitter pill to have to swallow to have to listen to some smug Royal Caribbean representative say “they exceeded its legal requirements”. Makes one think twice doesn’t it when taking a cruise, especially when one makes such a callous comment when we remember back to the blood stained canvas beneath George Smith’s cabin.
Smith’s parents and sister believe the 26-year-old Greenwich man was murdered, and allege in their lawsuit filed in June that the cruise company tried to cover up the incident to avoid liability and negative publicity.
Royal Caribbean representatives have said the cruise line exceeded its legal requirements when it contacted the FBI and other authorities immediately after learning about Smith’s disappearance.
Royal Caribbean Cruise lines is looking for the court to dismiss the law suit filed by the family of George Allen Smith IV as frivolous. The family of George Smith are claiming that Royal Caribbean hindered the investigation of their missing son who vanished on his honeymoon leaving only a blood splattered trails beneath his cabin.
The Smith family’s lawsuit accuses the cruise line of deliberately portraying the incident as an accident and contaminating the crime scene. The lawsuit, filed in state court in Miami, where Royal Caribbean is based, also alleged the company delayed reporting the incident to the FBI, deciding instead to report the case to Turkish authorities knowing they would be unable to conduct a prompt and thorough investigation.
Of course Royal Caribbean is calling the law suit frivolous and without merit. Then again, I am sure they did the same with the many other law suits that have been filed against them due to other missing persons and crimes committed against passengers aboard their ships. The difference with the Smith’s parents case is that they do not appear to be in any mood to settle. They want answers. And even more answers.
Royal Caribbean called that argument “parochial and jingoistic,” saying that the ship was in Turkish waters and there was no evidence that Turkish authorities failed to conduct a thorough investigation.
Royal Caribbean denied contaminating evidence and accused Smith’s family of disclosing photos of blood and other evidence to the news media, “without regard to the negative impact” it would have on the FBI investigation.
(AP via Yahoo News)
Jennifer Hagel-Smith lashed out this week as the misguided anger that the family of missing honeymooner, George Smith. George Smith’s family has many questions of Jennifer, namely what is she hiding by settling with Royal Caribbean so soon.
“The quick settlement is concerning,” said Bree Smith, in an exclusive interview with the Green-wich Citizen. “We feel comfortable in saying that in our opinion, she is hiding something.” Added Rivkind
Bree Smith, George Smith’s sister, found many of Jennifer Hagel-Smith’s actions and comments rather strange.
“Jennifer said several times in our house, before we cut off contact with her last October, that she did not want to be deposed in a civil or criminal suit,” Bree Smith said.
“I thought that was a strange statement to make. Why wouldn’t she want to testify, to help bring to justice the people who murdered my brother? It is suspicious, in my opinion.”
The circumstances in how George Smith disappeared is bizarre. We all now the many actions of those involved that are less than normal behavior that one would do aboard a cruise ship, let alone the actions that the cruise line took following the disappearance. What we find most disappointing and strange is Jeniffer Hagel-Smith’s 180 degree turn in dealing with the Royal Caribbean and her statements .
In Hagel-Smith’s press release, she also praised “the cruise line president and leaders who heard our voices and began this civilized, informative, and productive dialogue.”
This marked a sharp contrast to Hagel-Smith’s previous claims that she had been “thrown off” the Brilliance of the Seas after George Smith disappeared, and left to fend for herself in Turkey without financial resources or assistance.
The minute Jennifer Hagel Smith signed her name to the Royal Caribbean Cruise settlement; we were waiting for the other shoe to drop. It was only a matter of time before the family of missing honeymooner, George Allen Smith IV, went ballistic and after Jennifer Hagel. Personally, I do not blame them one bit. The once united Smith & Hagel family vs. Royal Caribbean cruise lines is over. Although it would appear that the Smith family may have had their suspicions regarding Jennifer Hagel as to what she may have known regarding their son’s disappearance; Jennifer’s actions of settling all but sealed the deal for this family feud to erupt.
They mourned together and shared anger at how Royal Caribbean responded after George Allen Smith IV disappeared in the Mediterranean last July after a night of heavy drinking. They sat together at a congressional hearing last year as they lobbied for changes in how cruise lines report suspected crimes at sea.
But quietly behind the scenes, Smith’s family harbored doubts about his widow, Jennifer Hagel Smith. Those doubts grew into suspicions that erupted after Hagel Smith reached a settlement with Royal Caribbean two weeks ago while Smith’s family sued the cruise line.
The parents of George Allen Smith IV and his sister Bree Smith have been extremely skeptical of Jennifer Hagel Smith. Hagel was found passed out on a floor far from the couple’s cabin, says she has no recollection of what happened to her honeymoon husband. It was suggested that Hagel may have been drugged as to the reason why she was found in the manner she was.
“She’s definitely hiding something,” said Smith’s sister, Bree. “It’s not clear to us whether Jennifer is hiding behavior that is just embarrassing or of some greater importance to the investigation. We have reported all such behavior to the FBI as it occurred.”
The Smith family plans to depose Jennifer Hagel Smith in their law suit. The Smith family claims that they broke off communication with Hagel Smith last fall after she indicated she did not want to be deposed in a civil or criminal case.
What is truly most puzzling, sad and bizarre is the fact that Jennifer Hagel Smith agreed to a settlement with Royal Caribbean. This after she sat with the family of George Smith through out the Congressional proceedings in an attempt to enact change for how the cruise lines deal with crimes aboard their ships. One of the problems with the untold crimes that go unreported and that actually are committed is all too often their is a settlement and the crime is swept under the run in a shroud of confidentiality.
The parents of George Allen Smith and his sister Bree have been resolute in their fight against Royal Caribbean. The Smith family wants answers, not money. The beauty of the Smith family is that they have same strong qualities as Beth Twitty and Dave Holloway, who have fought to find answer to their daughter’s disappearance in Aruba. The Smith’s show the fight and determination that they want answers and they want change. Settlement does seem to be an option for this family. They are not going to let the cruise line off the hook so easily. Maureen Smith put everyone on notice last summer when she stated, “My son’s life is not going to be in vain.”
“We have truth on our side,” Mrs Smith says firmly. “My son’s life is not going to be in vain.”
That is what makes what Jennifer Hagel Smith did all that horrific. How long was she actually married to George in that she would up in settle with the enemy vs. providing a united front with the Smith’s against Royal Caribbean. What was she really in this for? What did she want her husbands legacy to be? Money? Why would she have not honored her husband George Smith’s memory with the truth of what happened to him and laws which will dictate cruise ship standards for for how they handle and report crimes.
Jennifer Hagel Smith’s actions seem rather unfortunate. How really could blame parents for wanting to know the truth as to why their son is missing and presumed dead? If that means going after his short term bride for answers who took the easy way out and settled with the agenda ridden cruise line, then so be it. She states she wanted closure as to why she settled after one year. However, how could one really have closure without knowing what really happened? She saw the blood stains outside her cabin and still she settles for money rather than for answers.
One thing is for certain … no change or truth will come out of Royal Caribbean if only settlements are reached with confidentiality clauses attached.
In a rather stunning development Jennifer Hagel Smith, the wife of missing honeymooner George Allen Smith IV has reached a settlement with Royal Caribbean Cruise line. The terms of the settlement are subject to approval by a Connecticut probate court.
Royal Caribbean International and Jennifer Hagel Smith have reached an agreement settling any potential claims regarding the death of her husband George Smith IV. The company entered into this agreement to provide closure and move forward.
The terms of the settlement are subject to approval by a Connecticut probate court. Royal Caribbean will continue in its good faith efforts to ensure Ms. Hagel Smith has access to all information regarding her husband’s disappearance. (Yahoo News)
What a crock this settlement is on both the part of Royal Caribbean and Jennifer Hagel Smith. This nonsense occurs constantly on cruise ships and nothing is ever done because the victims of crimes or families of the victims settle for monetary amounts rather that effecting change. Maybe Jennifer Hagel Smith can explain to George Smith’s family how a settlement honors her husband. Royal Caribbean in typical fashion come out with a BS PR statement:
“She has handled herself well under the most trying of circumstances and we applaud her constructive approach to resolving this matter — so much so that our company will also match a contribution by Ms. Hagel Smith to a charity of her choosing. We believe this agreement will help Jennifer to move forward in her life, while honoring the memory of her beloved husband.”
Funny, Royal Caribbean was not saying this same comment when Jennifer Hagel Smith sued them. I can only imagine how the family of George Smith is taking this news. I can almost count on the fact that they will not settle for a financial gain. They will honor their son by helping pass legislation so this does not happen again to others.
Statement form Jennifer Hagel Smith
Does anyone else have a problem with the wording, “Jennifer Hagel Smith is pleased to announce that she has reached a comprehensive settlement”? Is please? Its a grim settlement to the death of your husband, not your wedding announcement. Geez.
Jennifer Hagel Smith is pleased to announce that she has reached a comprehensive settlement with Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd. following the disappearance of her husband, George Allen Smith IV, on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship in July 2005.
Royal Caribbean has agreed to provide Jennifer with additional access to substantial information and documents in order to assist her in obtaining answers regarding George Smith’s disappearance last summer. She will be permitted to review all relevant vessel logs, security reports, door activity (“lock- link”) reports, photographs, security tapes, correspondence to and from the FBI and other law enforcement authorities, as well as all statements of passengers and crew members obtained by the cruise line. This information will be provided upon completion of the settlement. A similar offer is readily available to the Smith family. (News Flash to Royal Caribbean … I hardly doubt the mother and father will want money for their dead son.)
Royal Caribbean will pay a financial settlement. The proposed settlement will be presented to the Court of Probate, District of Greenwich, in the State of Connecticut for the Court’s consideration and approval.
“This has been the most difficult and challenging year of my life,” said Jennifer. “I will always love George and cherish our time together. I feel blessed to have such a strong network of loyal family, friends and supporters who have provided me with such tremendous strength and encouragement. They have walked and sometimes carried me through this heartbreaking time. I am forever grateful.”
“My discussions with Royal Caribbean have been very open, as well as extremely productive and informative. This journey has always been a matter of principle for me, and I know that George would be proud of what has been accomplished thus far, in good faith, as we continue to seek answers. I appreciate Royal Caribbean’s cooperation, sincerity and efforts moving forward, which I believe will play a major role in helping all of us find closure. The memory of George will always live on in my heart, that of our families and everyone who knew him.”
Go here for Reward and tips information as to what happened to George Smith.
Representatives of the Cruise Lines International Association, CLIA, has asked the Coast Guard to draft a “comprehensive reporting regime” for cruise lines to follow. This in the wake of the widely publicized disappearance of George Allen Smith IV aboard a Royal Caribbean cruise. The controversy surrounding George Smith’s disappearance lead to a Congressional hearing lead by US Representative Christopher Shays, R-CT.
U.S. Rep. Christopher Shays, R-Conn., also held hearings on cruise line safety, questioning whether the industry did enough to track and report crime and other problems that occur on its ships.
Crye said that while cases of missing passengers, injuries and crimes aboard cruise ships are rare, the public scrutiny has caused the industry to consider establishing more uniform reporting standards.
Shays’ hearing raised questions about who is contacted and under what circumstances should the contact be made. Multiple agencies, such as the FBI, U.S. Coast Guard and foreign police, can sometimes get involved, although they each have different reporting standards. Crye said his trade group has asked the Coast Guard to draft a “comprehensive reporting regime” for cruise lines to follow.
“We’re ready to execute it as an industry,” Crye said.
Comments from the Shays hearings on the cruise line industry and safety issues.
“Ocean travel puts passengers and crew in a distant, isolated environment and subjects them to unique risks and vulnerabilities. Like small cities, cruise ships experience crimes â€” from petty to profoundly tragic. But city dwellers know the risks of urban life, and no one falls off a city never to be heard from again. Cruise passengers can be blinded to the very real perils of the sea by ship operators unwilling to interrupt the party for security warnings. And after an incident occurs, a thorough investigation can be profoundly difficult when the crime scene literally floats away, on schedule, to its next port of call.
“Jurisdictional and bureaucratic tangles can also impede investigation and resolution of crimes at sea. For purely economic reasons, most commercial ships fly under foreign flags. Passengers cannot assume the protection of U.S. laws and law enforcement will be available in time, if at all. When events involve citizens of different nations, in the territorial waters of a third, all three can assert some jurisdictional claim. While these legal and diplomatic niceties are being resolved, the crime trail grows cold and crucial evidence may go overboard or melt into the crowd ashore.
Full House of US Representative memo
Victims rights advocates; however, hope that Shays and Congress will pass legislation rather than hoping that the cruise line industry voluntarily complies with incidents reports. One would think that if the cruise line had been sincere it would not have taken all the negative publicity to act now. The George Smith case shed a spot light on the cruise ship industry as the Smith family has been unrelenting in their efforts for answers and laws/guidelines for cruise ships to adhere to so such events never occur again. The Smith family and Congress took notice of the numerous occurrences that has happened aboard cruise lines. They have had their chance to fix the problem, now its time for someone to tell them what to do.
Thirteen cruisers are presumed to have gone overboard in the past two years, according to the International Council of Cruise Lines. Nearly 11 million people took cruises in 2004 â€” 8.3 million of them Americans, the council says.
According to the FBI, about 50 U.S. cruisers are crime victims or disappear each year. Half the reported incidents involve sexual assaults; 20% are assaults; and 10% involve a missing person.
Shays said in an interview Thursday that cruise lines aren’t forthcoming about reporting bad things that happen to passengers. “Statistics are only provided on a voluntary basis,” he said. “They have a huge incentive to underplay crime.”
After the uncalled for and insensitive remarks of the CEO of Carnival Cruise; the family of missing Honeymoon groom, George Smith, demanded an apology and his resignation. Last week the CEO of Carnival Cruise, Robert Dickinson, called the incident of the disappearance of George Smith aboard a Royal Caribbean Cruise ship a “nonevent.”
Relatives of George Smith the fourth say they are upset that Carnival Corporation Chief Executive Robert Dickinson called the incident a “nonevent” at a cruise shipping convention on Tuesday.
Smith’s family sent a letter to Carnival today, objecting to Dickinson’s comments.
Dickinson issued a statement saying his comments were part of a larger discussion on cruise industry issues and were not meant to minimize the tragedy of Smith’s disappearance. He said he regrets any pain he may have caused the family.
The statement made by Robert Dickinson was not only callous but one of the more stupid PR blunders in a recent slew of PR nightmares for the cruise ship industry. While attending a cruise industry convention last Tuesday Dickinson let everyone know exactly what his company thinks of its paying passengers. If anything were to unfortunately happen to any of the millions that frequent Carnival Cruise every year, it would be a nonevent. This is in essence what the CEO is saying about the patrons of his company. The comments that he made at the conference were as follows:
According to the letter, Dickinson said cable news networks were looking for another high-profile crime to cover after the Scott Peterson murder case and the disappearance of Alabama teenager Natalee Holloway in Aruba.
“And so now comes the Smith case. But I mean, it’s a nonevent. It’s more entertainment than anything else,” Dickinson said, according to the family’s letter.
“The facts of the case, the story of the husband and wife, the bride and groom, and it’s just absolutely bizarre, but it has nothing to do with safety on cruise ships. And the fact that we have to get up here and defend our safety record is absurd,” Dickinson said, according to the letter.
The family of George Smith was obviously outraged.
Smith’s family called the comments “despicable.”
“The lack of compassion illustrated by Mr. Dickinson in calling George’s murder a ‘nonevent’ is beyond belief,” Smith’s family wrote. “His view that George’s murder is a ‘nonevent’ is definitely not shared by George’s family and friends whose lives have been devastated by his murder and the subsequent cover-up by Royal Caribbean.”
Robert Dickinson, Carnival Cruise CEO, realizing the PR blunder and the nightmare and firestorm this had created offered a delayed letter of explanation as to his comments.
“My comments were within a larger discussion on cruise industry issues and were not meant to minimize the tragedy of George Smith’s disappearance,” Dickinson said. “I regret any pain my comments may have caused his family.”
With the spot light of the media, individuals and Congress taking a close look at the cruise ship industry due to a perceived lack of safety aboard ships and alleged cover ups of crimes, this was about the last thing a cruise ship official needed to say.
Carnival president Bob Dickinson is blaming the media for making the public believe there is an increase in crime on board cruise ships. He calls Smith’s disappearance a “non-issue” that was hyped by cable news.
“It’s a non-event,” he said. “It’s more entertainment than anything else. The facts of the case, the story of a husband and wife, the bride and groom. It’s just so absolutely bizarre.”
Dickinson told an assembled crowd that he has had to defend cruise safety because of the Smith case. He called that absurd.
The International Cruise Victims (ICV), a group of concearned relatives wants greater accountability for cruise lines. Due to the rash of disappearances of which the cruise industry claims is a relatively small number, “ICV says the industry is neglecting its duty to protect passengers from crime and to assist those who are victims of crime.”
Brett Rivkind, a lawyer representing alleged murder victim George Smith’s family, agrees. “When you serve passengers alcohol and encourage them to party, you’ve got a duty to protect those passengers,” he said.