In 1988, at the age of 23, Amy Lynn Bradley had just graduated from college, was about to start a new job and her family wanted to have one last family vacation before this new phase in her life began. Initially apprehensive of going out to sea for the trip even though she was a strong swimmer and trained lifeguard, she put her worries aside and the family decided to go and have a great time.
On March 21, 1988, Amy, her parents Ron and Iva, and her brother Brad (21-years-old) boarded the Royal Caribbean cruise ship: The Rhapsody in Puerto Rico traveling to Curaçao, Antilles. A typical cruise ship, housing more than 2,000 people, the family had a great time on their first night. On the second night, the family got dressed up to have a fancy dinner. A photo of Brad and Amy was taken by the cruise ship photographer and can be seen below:
After dinner, the family headed to the upper deck of the ship for a party. At 1 a.m. Amy’s parents retreated to bed and Amy and Brad headed to the ship’s nightclub. At 3:30 a.m. Brad left the club and headed back to their room, leaving Amy at the club. Amy returned to their room shortly after, and the two talked for a bit about plans for the next day. Brad then headed to bed, leaving Amy alone on the balcony.
Amy’s Dad woke up sometime before sunrise and briefly saw Amy sitting on the balcony as his room was in the eyesight of theirs. When he woke up again sometime later around 6 a.m, he noticed Amy was no longer sitting on the balcony. Ron got up and went to their room to find Brad sleeping, but not Amy. He noticed Amy’s shoes still in the room but not her cigarettes or lighter. Thinking Amy was up and around the ship, Ron went to look for her.
During that time, the ship was en-route to being docked in Curaçao. Ron went to alert his wife about Amy after failing to find her. The family asked the crew to make an announcement that they were looking for Amy but the ship refused, as they did not want to panic other passengers. After pleading to ship officials to not let any passengers off — the ship docked, as officials didn’t want to disappoint the thousands of passengers aboard.
Ship officials conducted their own “search” of the ship but found nothing. They told the family that the planned schedule must be kept too and that if more time was needed on the island, the family should stay behind to do what was necessary.
The Bradley family decided to stay on Curaçao where they contacted the American Embassy for help. The FBI became involved as well. The FBI learned that a thorough search had actually not been done by the cruise, only the common areas were scanned. The FBI and family then flew to meet the ship at their next stop, so they could re-board and investigate further.
A cruise video promoter gave the FBI footage he had taken at the nightclub that night, which included footage of Amy dancing and holding hands with a man named Allister Douglas, or Yellow. He was a member of the ship’s band: Blue Orchid (see all the clips of Amy from this video here). Two girls also said they saw Allister and Amy together at 5:30 a.m. leaving an elevator to go back into the club. Allister was brought in for questioning, passed a polygraph and was not deemed a person of interest.
The questioning of Allister caused Brad to remember an odd encounter with him though. The morning Amy went missing, Allister had come up to him and told him he was sorry about the disappearance of his sister. Brad began to question how he would have even known Amy was missing, as her disappearance wasn’t public at that point.
Amy’s mom also remembered an odd event that happened during dinner on the night of her disappearance. The cruise photographer took photos of all the patrons and then posted them for sale outside of the restaurant and every single photo that Amy was in, was missing from the board. The photographer told the family he precisely remembered printing them, but to this day it is unknown who took those photos, or why they were missing.
The FBI investigation on the ship did not lead to any arrests and the ship ended up docking and letting everyone off. Brad and Ron went back to Curaçao to search for Amy several times, but with no success but America’s Most Wanted did a special on Amy which brought in new leads.
In August of 1998, 5 months after Amy went missing, Canadian computer engineer David Carmichael was on a beach in Curaçao where he saw a girl being walked by two very tough-looking men. “She looked frightened like she was about to say something when one of the guys motioned her away and gave me a menacing look,” says Carmichael who initially thought nothing of the interaction, until he saw America’s Most Wanted. He even flew to Virginia to meet the Bradleys.
I am haunted by that encounter with Amy. I know it was her.David Carmichael, diver who spotted Amy on a beach on Curaçao (People Magazine)
He also recalled seeing two very distinct tattoos on the woman—a gecko and Tasmanian devil. Amy had those exact tattoos. The FBI immediately sent people to the island to look for her but were unable to find anything on the island.
During this time, the family hired their own private investigator to work the case — I am not going to go into too much detail in this, as the family ended up getting scammed by this “investigator” for more than $100,000 (he did end up getting prosecuted for fraud and was forced to pay the family back their money, but so much time had already been lost).
The case remained cold until May 2002 when a member of the Navy was in Curaçao at a brothel. A woman had noticed him speaking English and came up to him pleading for help before she was lead away by brothel workers. At the time confused, he told her there was a Navy ship closeby that could help, but he never reported the encounter as he was on active duty, feared repercussions and didn’t know anyone was missing. By the time he reported the sighting years later, the brothel had been burned to the ground.
There was another potential sighting in 2005, when a witness named Judy Maurer claimed to have seen Amy in a department store restroom in Barbados. Judy claimed she was in a restroom when a woman entered with a couple of men. The men threatened her if she did not follow through on a deal. When the men left, she approached the woman and the woman told her that her first name was Amy and that she was from Virginia, before she was taken away by the men. A composite sketch was created from this sighting but did not lead to anything.
Also in 2005, the family received photos from the Caribbean of an online advertisement for sex workers — and a woman named Jas looked identical to Amy. The family sent the photos to a member of the FBI, who said he was positive Amy was the woman in the photos. The FBI were unable to track the photos back to any person or place though. This photo is the last know solid lead of Amy Lynn Bradley.
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