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  • Writer's pictureRobin Lyons

Trouble on the High Seas

If you’ve ever been on a cruise, you know it can be a ton of fun. If you go with a group of family members or friends, it makes it even more fun.

A couple, their three daughters, two of the wife’s brothers and her father boarded the cruise ship headed to Alaska.

On day two of the cruise, the first full day at sea, something went terribly wrong. That evening, while the ship remained within the admiralty and maritime jurisdiction of the United States as delineated in the Special Maritime and Territorial Jurisdiction of the United States title 18 U.S.C., Section 7, an FBI Special Agent assigned to the Anchorage, Alaska Field Division received a phone call from one of the cruise line’s corporation’s security officers. The call alerted the authorities that there had been a homicide on the ship.

Meanwhile, on the ship, many guests were attending a scheduled Sherlock Holmes themed murder mystery when they heard an announcement over the public address system that summoned medical and security personnel to a cabin. Some of the event attendees thought it had been part of the performance. Sadly, the urgency heard in the breathless staff person’s voice was authentic shock and stress.

Prior to the distressing public announcement and the call to the FBI, the couple and two of their daughters were in their cabin when the couple began arguing. The verbal exchange got heated—they sent their children to the relative’s adjoining cabin.

The wife had been angry about her husband’s behavior that evening. During the argument, she told her husband she wanted a divorce, and she wanted him to depart the ship at their upcoming port. The husband became enraged and began hitting his wife. After she screamed, the girls tried to re-enter the cabin but were told by their father, “Don’t come in here.” The girls went to the adjoined balcony to look into the cabin and saw their father beating their mother.

Before any of the ship’s staff could respond to the cabin, the wife’s brothers and father entered the room in time to catch the husband dragging his wife’s bloody, limp body to the balcony. One brother grabbed her by the ankles and pulled her back into the room.

A cruise guest reported she had heard a ruckus on the deck below and looked over her balcony to see a man attempt to climb over the deck railing of the cabin beneath. Thwarting his attempted suicide, the ship’s security arrived and placed the husband in restraints.

The wife didn’t survive her injuries. The local authorities arrested the man. He remained in custody for almost three years before he pleaded guilty to one count of murder in the second-degree. A little over one year later, a federal judge sentenced him to 30 years in prison.

In a strange twist in this horrific true-crime, five weeks after his sentencing, correctional officers found the husband unresponsive in his cell and pronounced his death. The Department of Correction’s press release stated,

“No foul play is suspected. The death is not COVID-19 related.”

Source: U.S. Department of Justice, FBI, Alaska Department of Corrections, People, Juneau Empire

p.s. A very cool thing happened, Top 40 True Crime Blogs notified me that they had selected my true-crime blog to be one of their Top 40. Thank you so much!

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