Family fear woman was sold as sex slave after mystery cruise ship disappearance
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The family of a missing woman who disappeared on a Caribbean cruise almost 24 years ago fear she may have been abducted and forced into sex work.
Amy Lynn Bradley was 23 when she vanished from the Royal Caribbean ship Rhapsody of the Seas.
She had been on the luxury trip from Aruba to the Antilles with her parents Ron and Iva and brother Brad, and was last seen asleep on her cabin’s balcony at around 5:30am on Tuesday, March 24 in 1998.
Amy’s mother Iva told reporters: ”When we discovered Amy missing, we begged the ship's personnel to not put the gangway down, to not allow anybody to leave the ship."
The FBI eventually boarded the ship, but their investigation went nowhere.
While initial investigations centred around the idea that Amy had fallen overboard, there have been several suspected sightings of the missing American woman over the years.
A taxi driver told Amy's father that she approached his cab on the morning of her disappearance and said she needed to get to a telephone.
Canadian tourist David Carmichael reported seeing a woman who looked a lot like Amy on a beach in the Caribbean island of Curaçao a few months after her disappearance.
He hadn’t heard of Amy’s disappearance before the strange, tense, meeting with and English-speaking woman with two sinister ‘minders’ but after reading about the case said he was “100% certain” he had met the missing woman.
The woman's distinctive tattoos were “identical” to Amy’s, Mr Carmichael claimed.
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The following January a US Navy officer reportedly met Amy in a Curacao brothel. He said that she begged him for him help and told him she was "being held against her will and was not allowed to leave".
But the sailor decided not to report the incident at that time, fearing that he would get into trouble with the Navy for visiting a brothel.
It was only after he retired that he contacted Amy’s family. His claim has never been substantiated, and the brothel where had claimed to have seen the missing woman mysteriously burned down before the allegation could be investigated.
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In the same year, the Bradleys were scammed out of $210,000 (£157,000) by a team of Navy SEALs who claimed to have information on Amy’s whereabouts and promised to bring her home but disappeared as soon as the family gave them a down payment.
Another witness, a tourist named Judy Mawer, reported seeing a woman in her 30s answering Amy’s description in Bridgetown, Barbados in 2005.
The very distraught-looking woman later spoke to her in a ladies’ toilet, claiming that her name was Amy and she was from Virginia before two men arrived and dragged her violently from the toilet.
In the same year, explicit photos of a sex worker called 'Jas' were posted on a website advertising "all inclusive Erotic Vacations" for $2,750 (just over £2,000) and family members noted the uncanny resemblance to missing Amy.
"When I first looked at the picture, it wasn't the Amy I know,” her mother said. “The picture looks like a harsh and tormented Amy”.
Iva told NBC News that certain members of the crew had taken a particular interest in Amy and noted that while pictures of the passengers were taken by the cruise operators, all the photos of Amy later disappeared.
A reward of $260,000 (£195,000) for information leading to Amy’s recovery is still listed on the FBI website.
- Missing Person
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