Cosby to Royal Caribbean: "The family... said that you are liars, that you covered up."
Of. Crimes, and some, big developments tonight in the case of this famous bodybuilding, couple accused, of a heavy crime are they, responsible, for a grisly. Murder but. We begin with a big exclusive in the disappearance, of newlywed, George Smith who, was last seen on board a cruise ship with, his fiancee this summer, the head of security for the Royal Caribbean cruise line Gregg Bertie is going to join us for, his first interview about the mystery we're gonna speak with him in just, a moment but first here's, what George Smith's family told us in an interview that we aired here last, night they said the cruise line is hiding something in George's, disappearance. Evidence. Of a cover-up with. Royal Caribbean, because if they had left that evidence, would. Have been a lot easier for the FBI to work, on the case but. They were seeing, 7:30. Or 8 o'clock in the morning washing that off even before the Turkish police came, on board so and, then it was painted over before the FBI got on the boat so. The. FBI they. Knew there was blood there and what did they say to you Bree no, news no no news, yes that's. What we kept getting no I'm broke right yeah and as they had no update for you right they know that, there was blood there yes it didn't tell you right. Typically. The way they work it's, yeah. And. Joining, us for an exclusive interview is Greg pretty is the director of safety security and environment. For Royal Caribbean cruise lines which is finally breaking its silence about the case we're gonna get to the cover-up in a moment but mr. Purdy first of all why are you finally speaking out now. Well. Read oh we have in in each of these cases we have several things to consider first. And foremost the sensitivity. To the privacy, of the family we. Also have a responsibility, to respect the integrity of the FBI's, investigation, which we are doing however. We, also have an obligation to, to. Our employees, and to our guests, to let them know that that in, this case we handle bit carefully, sensitively, and, appropriately. I'm. Gonna, walk you through a lot of stuff if I could let's start first off I think for folks are just sort of tuning in walk us through first. Of all when you knew that something was wrong on your ship when, did you find that out and what was the first indication. Our. First indication was when two. Guests, pointed out that, there were what appeared to be bloodstains on, the canopy overseeing, the lifeboats, and immediately. The, security, started, an investigation and narrowed down the, search to to, the cabin of the Smiths. We. Started doing announcements, to find them upon we did locate Miss, Smith and we did not find George Smith and we did a full search of the ship let, me ask you if. I could, how. Big was the blood let me cut I'm gonna walk you through a little pieces if I could what, how much blood was there on the canopy. Well. You've seen what I've seen which are the are the photos that you have displayed, and the canopy, is fairly large, but. But that's really all the information that I have. How. Much blood was in the room we were told that there are a number of bloodstains, in the room on the sheets on a towel, also.
A Tissue, in the bathroom, that's correct right. Well. What is correct is that as soon as we as. Soon as we had this reported, we couldn't we. We called, the authorities they, came on board conducted, their forensic investigation. This, did include, taking, some items doing, the. Typical dusting. Of fingerprints, taking. Some samples and taking photographs all, of this was turned over to the FBI who were working in, cooperation with the Turkish authorities that very first day do. We know whose blood it was in the room and again we're told it's on a piece. Of tissue that it's also in a sheets. On a towel, of course we as you point out the canopy do we know whose blood that was, well. All this information, again has been turned over to the FBI and we're cooperating, fully with them on this however though that's more appropriately handled by them let, me walk you through again mr. Purdy you said that you you put out a page at that point went, to the cabin obviously didn't see them in the cabin put, out a page where did you find Jennifer, Smith the wife of George Smith. Upon. Searching through the ship and and after making announcements, we were notified that she was in the spa so we we sent some. Senior officers there to meet, with mrs. Smith, as, soon as we had indications that that George, Smith may in fact be missing we. Inform. Pare we also immediately. Assigned. A senior female officer, named Maria to. Accompany her and to ensure. That she was as comfortable as possible throughout, the day including, when she was taken ashore by, the authorities, for further interviews. As. Part of their investigation but. Maria's stayed with her all. The way up until even even, the medical exam, that you've heard about in. Fact it was Maria who demanded, that that everybody except for the doctor and the nurse leave. The room during that examination, and I want to ask about some. Of the things that obviously your, company, did do because. I know the allegation, is from Jennifer Smith that she was sort of left alone but let me go back to the small she's. Approached by Royal Caribbean, in this father so Jennifer Smith what was the first thing that she said to your, staff when. Your staff asked, where's your husband. Well, again her, specific, comments, and and what is documented. That's all part of an investigation and and, I. Don't. Want to go into what her comments, were but. We, did just ensure that she was treated with care and sensitivity and. That we immediately assigned someone to oversee, her throughout the day and as a matter of fact even, upon the ship's departure we, left her with contact. Information and left her in the hands of the US consulate, was she was, she coherent.
Was, Able to provide any information. Well. This is all this is all part of the investigation. And and I simply, don't want to comment on on what the interviews and what everything has has, revealed there as she doesn't either with we've both been very. Committed. To cooperating, with, the FBI in this investigation but she did not report that her husband was missing you had to track her down is that correct. Well. We, we did she did not report that her husband was missing we we, found, that he was missing based on our our, narrowing. It down to the cabin and making. Announcements for both of them actually and then after locating her in the spa, we, still hadn't ruled out that he may be somewhere, and we continued, to search that. Ultimately and found that he was missing tell us about her appearance. Rihanna, said she might have been wearing clothes from the night before is, that correct. Miss. Mrs.. Hagel Smith was, wearing clothes from night before and we did provide her with clothes. And and, again. Our Maria, Marie helped, her get. Everything, so. That she could be ready to go for the interviews with. The authorities, what, was she doing in the spa at. 8:30, in the morning, after. From what everyone's, been saying is a night drinking, that they were both drinking was, she working out was she just sitting there. Well. As he's, coming the spot people go there for massages, and I understand she did have a massage scheduled, that morning that's really all the details I have for that what. Was her moved, when. She was approached by were cribbing because I think that's important, to go to state of mind and to see how was handled by your cruise line was, she upset was, she incoherent. Was she drunk. From the night before I, I. Agree, that this is important however it's, it's difficult, to understand, this was once, we told her that he may be missing it's it's incomprehensible to, understand, what's. Going through people's minds I don't want to characterize her. Behavior, or or comment. On on how she acted I think. That that's all part of the investigation, did she seem to think maybe he was in another room or went somewhere else or maybe, that it wasn't missing that he just maybe you, know went out somewhere else that night. All. Of these are possibilities and, that's why we immediately inform. The authorities we, wanted to conduct a professional. Investigation. With the authorities, and we gave them access to the. Room items, in the room the CCTV. Tapes that we have on the ship access.
To Other guests, and crew members and we've continued, to cooperate, thoroughly. While maintaining some. Sensitivity, for the privacy, of everyone. Involved including mrs. Hegel Smith let me play if I could this is some comments that she obviously has done a couple of interviews let me play some comments as she said about the cruise line. They. Just basically said. You. Know they want you to get off the ship in Turkey, they want you you know to come for some some questions you're, in Turkey you obviously, you don't speak the language did. They give you money did, I give you transportation. Now did they give you any guidance at all no, and then, finally when I was taken back to the. Dock where. The cruise ship was I seen my bags I see Georgia's suitcases I see my suitcases and I, see ten, Royal. Caribbean. Logoed. Plastic. Souvenir bags on. The dock and. I. Just. Froze mr.. Bertie was she kicked off the ship and treated poorly. And. This is an unimaginable. Event for her to go through and, the, things that she recollects, now may be hard to perceive at the time what, would be sticking. Out her mind we, treated her with care. Sensitivity. We had Murray with her the entire day, and Maria's food noises, go off this is Marie. Maria. Is a shipboard. Officer, on our ship who who the captain a senior officer who the captain assigned to do nothing, that day except, to accompany, miss. Hegel Smith and to and to see make sure that she was comfortable and that she, was being treated properly so. She was never left alone was not kicked off the ship, she. Was never left alone with, the exception, of when the FBI and, the Turkish judge were interviewing her and they they actually required, that Murray step out of the room other than that Murray, was with her the entire time up. Until the end even with the the US consulate, involved, and. Ultimately when the ship left we left her with full contact information, for Royal Caribbean representative. In the port of Kusadasi when. Did you alert the FBI when's your alert the feds. In. Our company, for any kind of alleged, crime. It's immediate, it's indoctrinated, as soon as the ship the ship called us immediately upon, hearing or discovering, that mr., Smith may be missing, that, was at approximately. 2:15. A.m. Miami, time and the the. Our, management, immediately. Called the FBI yet that's 3:00 a.m. in the morning we contacted, the 24-hour, number got. The FBI involved with the Turkish authorities and, and assisted. With everything, they required, of us or requested, and continued, to do so today let. Me show what the family is said about the crime scene sort of being covered up here's what they had to tell oh. You. See blood dripping, down the side of a boat you, know you've got a crime scene and that boat should have been stopped locked, down, passengers. Should have been questioned, no-one, should have been allowed to get off the boat, you. Know that was a crime scene and it should been treated as a crime scene in Royal Caribbean did not treat, it as we have evidence to the fact that there was enough blood in, the room to, warrant, our, suspicion. Mr.. Bertie was, that the spot that we saw the canopy, was, that painted, over as some people have suspected. The, canopy, has never been painted over to this day the canopy was washed at the end of the day after, the Turkish authorities came, on board conducted, a complete forensic, investigation, again taking samples taking, photographs and. Taking certain items from the cabin they gave us express permission to. Clean the canopy as well as the stateroom we kept this we did clean the canopy, and. That's just with a high-pressure, water wash we, kept the stateroom, sealed. For the following six days while we were in communication with, the FBI so, we really felt that we followed this by the book correctly, and and responsibly. Throughout so you get the stateroom blocked off you said for six days is that what you just said yes. And what. Was the decision to sort of wash it over and the other in hindsight I guess now you're looking back do. You wish in retrospect youyou would kept those preserve those. Well. In, in hindsight it's, difficult to say what you would could or should do it each case is different and and the bottom line is that we did everything requested. Of the authorities, and only cleaned, or disturbed. A scene after, we had been given expressed permission from the authorities, Turkish. Authorities in this case in communication, with the FBI, we're crew members they've, been following that we can we continue, to make the ship repeat the crew and people. Available to the FBI for the investigators, that's my question where crewmembers interviewed. Yes. In fact crew members were were interviewed, as, well as some passengers, including. The folks in the casino, and also in the gambling area. Again.
It's It's the FBI's. Investigation I'm not, aware. Of this or don't want to go into the specifics of who they were interviewing but we have made all of our crew members all of their records. And. And, all of our manifests, for who was onboard the time available to the FBI mr., Purdy if you could stick with us I'm gonna ask you what the result of some of those questions if you believe the crew members are not, involved in any shape or form we're, gonna have a lot more of, this, groundbreaking details. About the cruise ship mystery right after the break and also coming up we've got some new details. Sara rapist police, suspect, that he's suspect, he's going back to the scene of the crimes they're, going to join me live looking, for your help tonight and, also some big developments in the hunt we're two bodybuilders, on the run cops, have caught them and have just released new information about their capture and there's, no place like home for the holidays but. What if your home is a Playboy, Mansion I got a tour of the mansion and all its decorations. That's coming up. When. Winter skin hits I it when, it's way beyond dry I'm itch unlike, ordinary lotions, Gold Bond moisturizes. And mitigates to soothe and relieve dry itchy skin. Gold. Bond medicated lotion, the moisturizing, fix that mitigates, the itch, say. Hello to, the arc ahead mr.. Aachen head is a hypersensitive. Sound testing, device that Buick engineers, employ to help craft their quiet tuned cabins, but, this process works, so well, mr.. Rockin, head who hasn't had much to do lately. Don't. Worry mr., arcane head there are plenty of other car companies that still need your help. Introducing. The all-new quiet. Tuned Buick, Lucerne beyond. Precision. We. Have eleven Palestinian, names from each other hand in planning Munich. From a clean director, Steven, Spielberg, comes. The film Time magazine, calls his, oldest, feed yet a masterpiece. Unit. Is spectacularly. Curbing says Entertainment, Weekly. Munich. Rated R in select theaters everywhere January, 6th. Do. You have any I can't believe it's not butter I'm, craving. That rich butter, taste, Haney knows the. Gold key. I. Can't. Believe it's not butter made. With sweet cream buttermilk for a fresh, butter, taste that's naturally, cholesterol free.
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Interviewed Several of them some of them have made statements. And it's, it's in the hands of the FBI this point and we continue to cooperate fully with them to get them any information that we, can provide are. You confident that everybody's providing information, because there's been a lot of questions about two, Russian boys from Brooklyn and also, a guy from California Josh. Who's a student, from California. Again. With the specifics, of who the FBI are, talking, to that that's for them to address we have work. To make everybody available. Within. Our power that they, requested, to speak with can you rule out tonight that passengers, were not involved in some, way well. It's not my job to to, rule out who. Was involved or who was involved or actually, what happened we don't know what happened, but what we do know is that our crew and our officers on board handled, the situation. Responsibly. In a manner that follows, our company policy and in a way that was compassionate, in which which. Retained. Our company value having safety, be the priority, above all else you, did get a lot of complaints I understand into folks hearing noises hearing. Things going on in the room correct. We. Had on this and today that George, Smith went missing we had a complaint. At 4:00 approximately. 4:00 in the morning that was a noise complaint describing, possibly. Drinking games are loud party, and as is our policy our security, responded, to that complaint when, they came to the room they knocked, on the door it was quiet they determined, that the situation, had been resolved, had there been any sign. Or report, of a fight or of any kind of violence in that room our policy requires that they go in and make sure that all, occupants, of that stateroom, are physically, ok but but unfortunately, that didn't happen it was a noise complaint they, handled, it the way they're trained to and as is appropriate for a noise complaint, number. Of people though we were hearing that, Jennifer, actually maybe, didn't make it to the room that maybe was so drunk didn't, make it to the room do you know, if she stayed in the room that night where, was she. Well. I will. Just leave it that we located, Miss, Smith in the morning in the spa and and her whereabouts are, really the subject for, the FBI to address, do, you know if she spent, the night in the room certainly would know by the condition of the room you told me about that there was some blood in the room is.
It Clear that she spent the night in the room. Well. I'm, not, gonna comment on on where, she was or what or what, various. People that the FBI we're, discussing were interviewing, where, they were that wouldn't be appropriate at. This point we. Are here to set, the record straight on some facts but certainly we do have a responsibility, to respect the integrity in the investigation. We've said over and over that we're cooperating, and part of that cooperation is really standing. Behind that we're going to stick stick with respecting, the integrity of the investigation. So. We're simply not going to discuss the the whereabouts. Of, mrs.. Hegel the night before or anything that. The FBI is working on let, me just ask you because the balcony, everyone, has said this the, the way physically. Your ship is laid out the, way the balcony is for him to kind of go over it, he. Would probably either have to been playing over it or pushed, over helped, over that. A guy even his height would, not have just accidentally, fallen over. Well. You're correct the ships and it's not just the balconies but everything on the ship as you can see in your pictures it's designed to be inherently, safe high rails rails, throughout, the ship, but. It doesn't mean that there had to be it there, are all kinds of possibilities. It could be horseplay could be an accident, could be our. Worst or worst thoughts that it was it was purposeful, so at this point you can truly pure, speculation so. I'm not I'm not here to speculate and I'll leave that to the FBI we will cooperate fully with them on this investigation as we, have been and hopefully they will come to some conclusion. And give this family some measure, of closure, on this case you know real quickly the family has essentially said that you guys are liars that you've covered up why. Do you think both families feel that way. Well. I think that, it's, hard to understand and I'm, a father and if something, like this happened to me that you know you can't, say you know how people gonna feel this is something that is actually immeasurable. And until you're in there in their, shoes you really you really don't know so this, is a horrible. Tragedy and. They. Want, to find. Answers they want to get, them any way they can and and that's natural for them to want, us to provide some more information we. Simply don't know but we just want to assure them we're doing everything we can to make sure that the right people get the right information so, that we can get some closure on this case this, is a horrible, tragedy although. It's extremely rare, and, we have literally. Thousands, of people are coming to work every day to, try, and avoid situations. Like this do you believe it'll be seven one even, one incident, is too many for us and do believe it'll be loud I hope. That it solved - sincerely, hope that this is solved and that this family, who. You. Know had just been through a horrible time can find some. Way to to, move forward. What. Is your final message of the family I can tell you that I know the George Smith family is watching tonight hopefully, Jennifer Hegel's family is as well. Yes. And our, fine, our my final thought. For the family is that our hearts, our hearts and thoughts are with you as family members as. Fellow. Humans we we feel for this family, we. We. Want them to get closure we want to do everything we can to help that come to pass, mr.. Purdy thank you very much we appreciate you, being with us hope to have you back on again thank, you very much for responding. And talking again the first comments from, the director of safety and security from, the Royal Caribbean cruise line now let's get some reaction if we could to that exclusive, interview, right now let's bring in if we could let's. Bring in Vito Colucci is a private investigator also. Maritime. Attorney Jack, Hickey and also Clint Van Zandt a former, FBI agent and and this NBC, analyst you know Vito now that we've heard from, Royal Caribbean, do. You feel like it's a cover-up or do you feel like what. Do you feel like the straws were dropped. Rita. You know that, make any sense with that mr., Purdy said when, you have a crime, scene whether it's in a restaurant, a big. Concert, and there's, a possible, murder that goes on everything. Stops, in its tracks okay, you do not have business, as usual, people do not get off the boat to go tour and have a good time we've seen the passengers, say they saw this crime scene being cleaned I can assure you the FBI did not see the blood on the canopy you know this was to let everybody continue, to have a good time and it doesn't work that way it's unfortunate.
The People are not going to have a good time after you have a crime scene you have to do an investigation, you have to secure that reader and that's not done he said before Congress, the cruise line handle George Smith's disappearance. Correctly, and responsibly. No, not, even close Rita, you know Clint let me bring you in he said that the room was blocked off for, six days at the first we heard of that he. Said it was washed off not painted, off but. He said that he was following the lead from Turkish authorities, it's. Not the right thing to do well. Again I agree with VTOL you know not number one as an FBI agent before, the days of whistleblowers, we would say don't embarrass, the bureau as far as cruise lines are concerned, they're, their watchword, is don't inconvenience, the, passengers, and as much as I or veto or someone else would like to say freeze. That crime, scene freeze. Everybody, on the ship get, a team of of, experienced. Investigators. On board let's, do the interviews, before they share their story before the crews on. The ship starts to talk to people and the stories get tainted that's. How the crime scene should be conducted. Now the cruise line is going to turn around and say we're, losing millions of, dollars if, that ship, doesn't move we, night we may not be able to get to the next port or not and I think that's why these hearings, took place before Congress, last, week i sir has to be a balance, between the needs of the investigation. And the, financial. And fiduciary. Responsibilities. That a cruise ship has to, its passengers, and shareholders, Jack let me bring you in because we know that the family is planning on finding a civil lawsuit involving. Also wrongful death and a number of things beginning. Of next year do, you see grounds here yeah, I see grounds, here and what we're missing is you know my perspective, is that I used, to represent the cruise lines for 17 years and now I fight them in court in Miami every single day there. Are grounds here because there's there's two phases and mr., Purdy didn't even comment on the first phase the first phase is there. Was a complete failure of security. I guess, he actually did he said well you know there was a noise complaint but that doesn't really jive with what Clete. Hyman, says plead I'm in the assistant. Police chief in, the cabin, next door he, complained, about I believe a fight and of course whatever, he complained, about is going to be at issue there so there are grounds there and his. Statements, mr. Purdy statements, don't, jive with, all the evidence we've seen you know you, Reeta. That he said for the first time and there's the first time I'm hearing it that. The room, was blocked off for six hours look. At the statement, of the cruise line he's at six days I asked him six days he agreed with six days well. That's that's, even, more incredible, because just look at how that contradicts. The cruise lines own written, statement, submitted, to MSNBC, just, the other day where, they said that no Jennifer, Hagel was not abandoned. On the docket, Kusadasi, she, was handed, her, husband's, wallet and some other things, aha. If, she, has handed, her husband's, belongings then. There's, no way that that room was sealed off they breached that they they, breached that and then you went in and that's a you guys lots of questions all of you so I got to cut you off because unfortunately we let mr., Purdy because it is their first time responding, go long we're gonna have all of you back again very soon thank you very much and still ahead everybody we're going to move on to another story gun is on for an accused serial rapist, who escaped from custody, find, out of this. Now. Passengers, tell us what they heard that night his. Wife tells us what, she knows about that.