Possible Break in Case of Missing Groom

Possible Break in Case of Missing Groom
George Smith IV
The Advocate/Andrew Sullivan/AP

updated 08/05/2005 at 08:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/05/2005 08:00AM

There has been a potential break in the mystery of George Smith IV, who was on a 12-night Mediterranean honeymoon cruise with his new bride when he vanished between Greece and Turkey on July 5.

Some people of interest have apparently emerged in the case, in particular two Russian men who live in New York and a California teen, all of whom were onboard reputedly partying with Smith right before his disappearance, NBC News reports.

The network's legal analyst, Susan Filan, said on Friday's Today show that there are some conflicts in the stories that the two Russians and California teen have given authorities. She also cited reports of some possible sexual misconduct under the influence of alcohol involving the Russians and a female passenger.

Smith, 26, whose great grandfather of the same name was a pitcher for the Brooklyn Dodgers, and Jennifer Hagel, 25, both of Greenwich, Conn., had been married in Newport, R.I., before setting sail on board the Royal Caribbean's Brilliance of the Sea.

Smith was reported missing when the ship docked at Kusadasi, a resort area on Turkey's west coast. Divers and helicopters later turned up no sign of him, despite a four-day search.

Smith and Hagel reportedly had been drinking heavily and gambling at the ship's casino before his disappearance, and Hagel woke up the next morning, didn't notice anything wrong, and went to the gym, the Associated Press reports. Cleaners tending to the couple's cabin reportedly found bloodstains and alerted the captain. Blood was also found on the side of the ship, says NBC, citing an FBI investigation into the case.

Clete Hyman, a passenger on the ship, said on Today that he heard what sounded like a loud party and a drinking contest in Smith's room the night of his disappearance.

"But then, all of a sudden, there became some very loud arguing out on the balcony," Hyman said. The arguing involved several male voices, he said, and then he heard noises in the cabin that sounded like furniture being moved around. He said he then heard a "horrific thud" – which the news report said likely caused the bloodstains on the side of the ship.

The bloodstains and a handprint on the side of the ship prompted a Turkish prosecutor to ask Smith's family to provide blood samples for comparison.

A Turkish prosecutor said that several passengers had been questioned but that no one, including Smith's bride, was suspected of foul play. NBC News reiterated on Friday that Hagel is not a suspect.

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