Name: Amy Lynn Bradley
Last seen: March 24, 1998
Location: Curacao, Dutch Caribbean, Netherlands
Status: Still missing. Declared dead in absentia March 24, 2010
Disappeared: Season 9 Episode 3 “Troubled Waters”
23 year old Amy Lynn Bradley was last seen in Curacao, Dutch Caribbean, Netherlands on March 24, 1998. She disappeared while onboard a Royal Caribbean cruise line, the Rhapsody of the Seas, which had just left Oranjestad, Aruba, and was heading to Curacao, in the Netherlands Antilles.
Born in Petersburg, Virginia on May 12, 1974, Amy Lynn Bradley was a resident of Chesterfield County, Virginia. She attended college in Longwood, Virginia on a basketball scholarship and graduated with a degree in physical education. She was planning to start a new job at a computer consulting firm.
On March 21, 1998, 23 year old Amy Bradley decided to join her parents and brother on a vacation aboard the Rhapsody of the Seas, a Royal Caribbean cruise line’s ship en route for Curacao.
On March 24, 1998, Amy’s brother Brad, who was then 21 years old, told authorities that he and Amy had stayed up late dancing at a Mardi Gras party on the ship, and drinking with the ship’s orchestra, Blue Orchid. One of the band members named Alister Douglas, known as Yellow, claimed he parted ways with Amy at 1:00 am.
The ship’s computerized door lock system showed that Amy’s brother Brad returned to their suite at 3:35 am, while Amy arrived five minutes later. Brad said he and his sister sat on the suite’s balcony and talked before he went to sleep. He said he last saw Amy sitting in a lounge chair on the balcony.
Some time between 5:15 and 5:30 am, Bradley’s father Ron woke up and saw Amy still resting on the lounge chair of their cabin’s private balcony. However, when he went to check on her again at 6:00 am, she was gone, along with her cigarettes and lighter. Bradley’s brother who stayed in the cabin, said she possibly mentioned disembarking at Curacao to purchase cigarettes.
The sliding glass door to the balcony was left part way open and a pair of Bradley’s sandals were found inside of her suite, but there were no other signs of her. Her ID was left in the room, and so were her nine other pairs of shoes she bought on the cruise, with none of them missing.
At 6:00 am, two passengers claimed they saw her riding the elevator to the top deck on the ship, carrying her room key, cigarettes, and a lighter. She had a hundred dollars in her pocket as well.
Rhapsody of the Seas was preparing to dock in Curacao’s port at the time Amy Bradley was last seen. Her family realized she was missing between approximately 6:00 and 6:30 am. Her whereabouts have been unknown ever since.
Realizing Amy was missing, her parents immediately reported it to the crew. They pleaded in vain to keep its 2,000 passengers off the ship, to have officials conduct a massive search of the cruise liner. But the crew was preparing to dock that morning at the Caribbean island of Curacao to let people out for an excursion, so they didn’t start searching right away.
Extensive searches conducted later on the ship and at sea by the crew officials produced no signs of her whereabouts. The Netherlands Antilles Coast Guard conducted a four day search that ended on March 27, and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines chartered a boat to continue looking for her, but they ended their search on March 29.
Authorities found no early evidence of foul play, and first suspected Amy may have fell overboard, was pushed, or committed suicide. But it seemed unlikely since Amy was a trained lifeguard and a strong swimmer, and her body was never found in the water. Moreover, Rhapsody of the Seas was extremely close to shore at the time of her disappearance, witnesses would have undoubtedly heard or seen any accident.
Authorities are not certain if Amy Bradley went ashore on Curacao of her own will and vanished while in port, or if other factors were involved. A cab driver later stated that a woman matching Amy’s description approached him and said she urgently needed a phone, but he didn’t realize something was wrong. That sighting was never confirmed, so it’s unclear what happened to the woman.
Family members believe that Amy may have been coerced by an unknown person(s) whom she befriended during the cruise and got abducted. In the days leading up to Amy’s disappearance, rumors of maritime pirates operating out of Curacao were reported where the ship docked, and Amy may have been part of a human trafficking scheme.
Amy Bradley’s family insists she had no reason to run off. She was planning a life back in Virginia, with a new job and home. She has no history of running away and would never abandon her family or her pet bulldog, Bailey, the Bradley’s said.
August 1998 update
In August 1998, a Canadian computer engineer provided an intriguing lead when he correctly described her tattoos to investigators. The man claimed seeing Amy being walked down by two men on a beach in Curacao, five months after she disappeared.
January 1999 update
There was another possible sighting of Amy in January 1999, when a U.S Navy Petty Officer claimed to have witnessed a woman who identified herself by name and asked for help at a Curacao‘s brothel. He said he had decided not to report the incident at that time, fearing that he would get into trouble with the Navy for having been in a brothel, and only contacted Amy’s family after he had retired and saw her picture in a magazine. The sailor’s report has never been substantiated.
March 2005 update
In March of 2005, a woman claimed to have witnessed a woman matching Bradley’s description in a department store’s restroom of Barbados. Sketches of the unidentified woman and her three male companions have been created. The Barbados woman has not been conclusively identified as Bradley.
Foul play is strongly suspected in Amy Bradley’s disappearance, but there is no evidence to support the theory. Meanwhile, the Bradley’s sued the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line for negligence and wrongful death.
A $250,000 reward is being offered by the family to anyone who provides information leading to the safe return of Amy Lynn Bradley. A $50,000 reward is offered for information leading to her verifiable location. The FBI is offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to her recovery.
Her case remains unsolved.
Caucasian female, 5’7″ tall and 120 pounds. Short brown hair, possibly dyed blond, green eyes.
Navel ring and multiple ear piercings. Several tattoos, a Tasmanian Devil on her left shoulder blade, a green and blue gecko lizard around her navel, a Chinese symbol on her right ankle and a primitive Japanese sun tattooed on her lower back.
If you have any information regarding the disappearance of Amy Lynn Bradley please contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation at (202)-324-3000 or call the WE HELP THE MISSING -TIP LINE at (866) 660-4025.
Resources & Further Information
News & Media Links
For Missing Woman’s Family, No Answers – The New York Times 11/98
Amy Bradley, 23 – People 07/01
Who’s taken our daughter ? – NBC News 06/05
Striking Similarities in Two Disappearances – ABC News 01/06
Jawbone rekindles cruise ship mystery – CNN 01/11
FBI Releases New Video Regarding Amy Lynn Bradley Who Disappeared From Rhapsody of the Seas – Cruise Law News 03/17
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