The strange and unsolved disappearance of Amy Lynn Bradley
Amy Lynn Bradley would be 45 years old. In fact, she could be 45 years old. Amy disappeared from a cruise with her family in 1998 – she remains missing.
Amy was a pretty, 23-year-old college graduate with her entire life ahead of her when she mysteriously vanished from Royal Caribbean Cruise liner Rhapsody of the Seas. She left without her shoes, ID, or any other belongings, and her family hasn’t seen her in twenty-two years.
Early in the morning of March 24th, 1998, a carefree Bradley danced the night away with members of Rhapsody’s band Blue Orchid. According to the band, they parted ways at 1:00 am. Around 5:30 am, her father saw her sleeping on their balcony.
When Amy’s father returned to check on her at 6 am, Amy was missing. He immediately reported this to cruise authorities. Amy’s brother had reported seeing her after their father and stated she had told him she was leaving the ship to get cigarettes.
In this day & age, a full-scale search of the ship would happen if a guest were reported missing. It’s unclear why, but the crew of the Rhapsody of the Seas was slow to action. When the ship docked in Curaçao, Antilles, they allowed passengers to disembark before searches began.
There is speculation that the short time span between when her father last saw her, then reported her missing, and her brother’s assertion that she was getting cigarettes could be partially to blame for the crew’s lax response.
Eventually, extensive searches were done on the ship and at sea. The Netherlands Antilles Coast Guard searched for Amy for five days. Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines even chartered a ship for an additional four days of searching.
On March 29th, all searches by sea for Amy ceased. Amy’s family flew back to Curaçao to search for their daughter to no avail. They were forced to return home empty-handed.
What happened to Amy?
Was it Amy’s choice?
Amy disappeared without a trace. Investigators found no evidence of death-by-suicide. There was also no evidence that she had fallen overboard.
Could Amy have just run off? Perhaps Amy decided to stay in paradise? Investigators & her family have firmly stated that there is no chance Bradley would have disappeared without letting her loved ones know she was okay.
Blue Orchid’s frontman
During the early days of the investigation, authorities focused on the lead singer of the ship’s band: Alistar “Yellow” Douglas. He contests he danced with Amy until 1am and then parted ways.
All evidence pointed to the fact that Yellow was telling the truth about his interaction with Bradley. It’s very possible that investigators wasted too much time focusing on the wrong man – letting the real kidnappers get away.
Nearly 20 years later, the FBI turned up videos from promotional material the cruise line had been shooting, with images of Yellow & Bradley dancing. The videos offered no insight to what happened to Amy, but should have been accessed during the initial investigation.
Who took Amy?
In the days leading up to Amy’s disappearance, pirates had been reported in close proximity to Curaçao. If Bradley had been taken from the ship by pirates, they would have had to have help. Amy was reportedly very uncomfortable with the attention she received from the wait staff.
Pictures of Bradley that had been taken by the wait staff were removed by the crew, furthering speculation that she may have been singled out. Could a crew member have swept Amy off the boat before anyone could help her?
Since the disappearance
There have been several alleged sightings of Amy in the 22 years since her disappearance.
Within 24 hours of Bradley’s parents returning to Curaçao to search for their daughter, a taxi driver came forward. He stated a young woman matching Bradley’s description frantically asked him where a payphone was and then ran off.
Two Canadian tourists and a man named David Carmichael believed they saw Amy on a beach in Cucurao. Carmichael was certain he spotted Amy being walked down the beach by two burly men. He even recounted her exact tattoos to investigators. Unfortunately, by the time he realized what he had seen, searches of the area were futile.
In 1999, an active-duty Navy sailor allegedly had an interaction with a woman who claimed to be Bradley, who begged him for help. The sailor told her where his ship was docked, but never reported the incident out of fear of repercussion from being in the brothel. By the time anyone was able to check into the allegations, the brothel had burned to the ground.
Judy Maurer told investigators in 2005 that, while in Barbados, she was frightened in a public restroom by a woman who matched Amy’s description being escorted by a man. She helped create a sketch, but it was another fruitless lead.
Yet again in 2005, the family was given hope when they received an image emailed to them of a woman who looked like Amy. The FBI attempted to discover the origin of the photo with no luck. The photo gave the Bradleys hope that their daughter was still alive and was considered evidence that Amy was sold into sex slavery.
A large reward is outstanding for information that may bring Amy home. Amy’s family will never give up looking for their daughter.
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