23-year-old Amy Lynn Bradley was born on the 12th of May 1974 in Petersburg, Virginia, to her parents Ron and Iva Bradley.
On the 21st of March 1998, Amy and her family boarded the Royal Caribbean cruise ship Rhapsody of the Seas. This cruise goes towards Curaçao, a Dutch Caribbean Island. Amy and her family went aboard this cruise as a celebratory event for Amy getting a new job.
On the night of the 23rd March / the early hours of the 24th of March, Amy and her brother Brad decided to stay up late. They spent their night at the Mardi Gras nightclub party on board the ship, where they spent time dancing and drinking alcohol.
One of the ship’s band, Blue Orchid, members, Allister Douglas also known as Yellow, spent some time dancing and drinking with Amy that evening. A videographer who was also on board the ship, Chris Fenwick, was able to catch some photos of the pair dancing together. Allister said that he left the party at around 1:00am.
Brad, Amy’s brother, headed back to the family’s cabin at around 3:30am. The computerised door system detected him entering the cabin at 3:35am. Amy then entered the cabin at 3:40am. The brother and sister pair then sat on the cabin’s balcony and chatted for a while before heading to bed.
Brad went to bed first, with Amy going to bed a few minutes after him.
Between 5:15 and 5:30am, Amy’s dad Ron woke up to check on his kids. He said that he saw Amy sleeping on the lounge chair of the cabin’s balcony. He told local newspapers: “I could see Amy’s legs from her hips down…the balcony door was closed because if it was open I would have gotten up and closed it.”
When Ron woke again at 6:00am, Amy and her cigarettes and lighter were gone. Ron then left to go and find Amy and started to search the common areas of the cruise ship. When he couldn’t find her, he returned to the family cabin at around 6:30am and informed them that Amy was missing. Speaking later, Ron said: “…I didn’t really know what to think, because it was very much unlike Amy to leave and not tell us where she was going.”
Amy’s family immediately went to the crew of the ship, where they pleaded with them to make an onboard announcement about Amy’s disappearance whilst the passengers of the ship were still on board. The crew declined and said that it was too early to make an announcement.
The crew then made an announcement at 7:50am, when most of the passengers of the ship had already left and gone onto Curaçao. The announcement said: “Will Amy Bradley please come to the purser’s desk?”
The fact that the crew spent so long delaying making an announcement and allowing the passengers to disembark significantly lowered the chances of finding Amy alive.
Between 12:15pm and 1:00pm the crew searched the ship for Amy, but there was no trace of her found anywhere. The Netherlands Antilles Coast Gaurd started a four-day search for Amy, which included three helicopters and a radar plane. Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines chartered a boat to continue to look for Amy.
Despite the extensive searches, no trace of Amy was ever found. Amy has not been seen or heard from since.
There are several theories as to what could have happened to Amy.
The first theory is that she either fell overboard or committed suicide. This theory was quickly ruled out by police as Amy was a strong swimmer, and during the searches, her body was never found. There was also no evidence of foul play, and no indication to anyone that Amy wanted to / had the desire to end her life.
The only evidence that supports a foul play theory was the discovery of a jawbone that washed ashore in Aruba, another Dutch Caribbean country in 2010. The authorities tested the jawbone and ruled out that it belonged to another missing person, Natalee Holloway. They did no further testing on the jawbone, despite having 9 missing holidaymakers, including Amy. The jawbone is thought to be of Caucasian descent.
Another theory is that Amy was kidnapped and sold into the human trafficking industry in the Caribbean. This theory is backed up by a sighting of Amy by a US Navy Officer. This officer claimed that he had seen Amy in a brothel in the Caribbean, specifically Curaçao, where the cruise ship was docked. He said that she told him her name was Amy Bradley and that she was being kept there against her will and was not allowed to leave. The officer said this happened in January 1999, but he did not come forward with the claim until he had left the US Navy as he feared he would lose his job. Whilst this seems like a strong sighting, there is no evidence to back this claim up.
This theory is also supported by a photo of a woman who strongly resembled Amy that was emailed to the family in 2005 by an organisation that tries to track down victims on websites that advertise sex workers. The woman in the photo was said to appear “distraught and despondent”.
In addition to this, the theory of Amy being sold into sexual slavery would explain the various sightings of her around Curaçao. In August 1998, a Canadian computer engineer saw a woman matching Amy’s description walking on a beach with two men in Curaçao. The engineer says that the woman kept trying to get his attention and that he was “two feet away from her” before he lost sight of her at a cafe. The man says that the woman had the exact same tattoos as Amy, and he is completely sure that it was her.
Another sighting of Amy occurred in 2005 when a woman named Judy Maurer said that she saw Amy in a public bathroom in Barbados. She said that a woman entered the bathroom with three men, who threatened her if she didn’t follow through with a deal. After the men left, Judy approached Amy and asked if she was okay. Judy said that the woman was distraught, but told her that her first name was Amy and she was from Virginia. The men then re-entered the room and took the woman away. Judy contacted the police immediately, and composite sketches of the three men were made.
The videographer/photographer was able to develop and sell all the photos he took on the cruise to the passengers. However, when Amy’s family went to get photos of her, they had already gone. This suggests that someone had already taken them.
The story that the band member “Yellow” gave to police about the night he was dancing with Amy did not match the CCTV footage that the authorities found. Throughout the same night, Amy and her brother were at the nightclub, a waiter approached Amy’s family several times with a note asking Amy to meet the band member “Yellow” for a drink once they had reached Curaçao. This has led several people to believe that the waiter was also involved.
Amy Lynn Bradley was legally declared dead on the 24th of March 2012, with nobody or no witnesses.
The FBI is offering a $25,000 reward for any information that leads to Amy, or that leads to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for Amy’s disappearance.
Amy’s family are also offering a $250,000 reward for information that leads to her safe return and a $50,000 reward for information that leads to her current whereabouts.
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