Naugatuck journalist, Joan Lownds, wrote a compelling book about a mysterious murder onboard a cruise ship in 2005 that drew international media attention. The hook for the media was an attractive young couple on their honeymoon, but Lownds dug beyond the headlines to reveal a multi-billion dollar cruise industry lacking in basic safety standards. Every year there were sexual assaults and murders that went unreported on cruise ships. Dozens of passengers simply vanished off ships and investigations were whitewashed and unreported.
Her book, “Man Overboard” was published in September 2011, and wove the story of George Smith IV and Jennifer Hagel Smith, with the astonishing effort of George’s family to reform the cruise industry.
Dateline NBC is airing an update on the mystery of George Smith’s murder this Friday night, January 6th, at 10 pm. According to the preview at Dateline’s Website, “Dennis Murphy tells the story of an active, ongoing investigation whereby FBI agents won’t talk on the record. However, the cruise line, Royal Caribbean has conducted its own internal investigation and ‘Dateline’ has the exclusive update about what happened aboard the ship in the early hours of July 5, 2005.”
Naugatuck’s Joan Lownds documented the story in her book, “Man Overboard”.