A Decade After Husband's Disappearance, Wife Moves On, Family Still Searches
A decade has passed since the mysterious disappearance of newlywed George Smith IV from a Royal Caribbean cruise ship in July 2005. Though the FBI spent nine-plus years looking for concrete evidence of what happened that night on the Aegean Sea, a CBS News report from January declares that their investigation of the case has officially been closed.
Smith's bride has started a new life for herself, but CBS' "48 Hours" aired a special on the eve of the incident's 10th anniversary, indicating that his immediate family is still looking for answers.
Less than a year after her then-husband's disappearance, Jennifer Hagel Smith (now Jennifer Agne) recounted the events that transpired that night in a New York Times report. Though the bride admits to having had drinks the evening prior, she also states that she was not present when her husband disappeared. In fact, according to the same report, the ship's log book reveals that she was found unconscious on the deck's floor at 4:30 in the morning.
The first year would prove to be a difficult one for the new widow, for as the case itself was gaining national attention, so was she. "I've been judged very harshly since this happened in the media," she declares in the New York Times piece, "But no one is ever going to hurt me more than I've ever been hurt and the truth will come out in the end." As time went on, however, her life would continue marching forward.
Two years after the disappearance, she received a $1.1 million settlement from Royal Caribbean. The settlement, reports the Daily Mail, happened two years prior to her 2009 marriage to Jeff Agne. Facebook posts like the one below show that Jennifer Agne has been able to restart her life. She currently has two daughters with her new husband.
George Smith's mother, father, and sister, however, haven't been able to fill the void he left behind.
On May 11, 2013, CBS' "48 Hours" aired their first special on Smith's case titled, "Murder at Sea?." After the FBI closed their investigation this past January, CBS aired a follow-up special on July 4, 2015, almost 10 years to the day after his disappearance.
In the teaser below, interviews with George Smith's family members reveal just what his loss means to them a decade later. "I miss his voice. I miss his phone calls. He used to call me all the time," his mom recalls before declaring simply, "I just miss him as a son."
The video also details the family's opinions of what they believed happened on the open Aegean waters, and how they felt about the FBI closing the case. "I have no doubt whatsoever that my son was murdered on that cruise ship," declares Smith's mother. His sister Bree Smith also reveals what the decade-long experience has been like, stating "it has just been a complete and awful nightmare for my family ... and we still do not have justice for George."
The frustration for the Smith family has not subsided in the 10 years since George went missing. "The evidence is huge," claims his sister, closing with the question they all want answered, "Why hasn't anyone been arrested?"
§ 48 Hours via YouTube, Jennifer Agne via Facebook, Dailymail.co.uk, cbsnews.com, New York Times, and cbs.com/shows