Most of us have taken a family vacation at some point in our lives. It’s a perfect way to relax and enjoy the wonders of the world with our loved ones. Typically, vacations are an escape from the stresses of everyday life—and the last thing anyone would expect during a carefree few days with their family is to get into serious trouble.
With this in mind, Amy Lynn Bradley boarded a cruise ship in 1998 with nothing on her mind but taking in the tropical breeze and having some laughs with her parents and brother. However, after a night of dancing, she suddenly vanished…
On March 24, 1998, 23-year-old Amy Lynn Bradley and her family boarded a Royal Caribbean cruise ship called Rhapsody of the Seas headed to the Antilles islands in the Caribbean. The family couldn’t wait to enjoy the warm weather and beautiful scenery.
The cruise ship was packed with other tourists eager to enjoy their vacations, too. The Bradleys—Amy; her father, Ron; mother, Iva; and brother, Brad—boarded in San Juan, Puerto Rico, with their first stop in Aruba. Then, their ship departed for the island of Curacao.
While en route to Curacao, Amy and Brad went to a nightclub. Brad left first, and Amy soon followed suit. Around 5:30 a.m., Ron checked on his daughter, who was asleep. He returned at 6 a.m. to wake her up. To Ron’s shock, Amy was nowhere to be found…
Amy’s bed was empty, and Ron immediately panicked. Where could his daughter have gone within the half-hour window? He immediately spoke to Brad about the previous night’s events…
Brad told his father he saw Amy dancing with a man named Alister Douglas, nicknamed “Yellow,” before he left. He was a member of the band Blue Orchid that was performing at the club that night. Could he have played a role in Amy’s disappearance?
Ron and Iva immediately alerted the cruise ship authorities to Amy’s sudden disappearance. They pleaded with them not to dock the ship, fearing anyone involved would escape. Unfortunately, the crew denied their request, and the ship docked in Curacao as planned.
Once docked, authorities checked the ship, but they came up empty-handed. Police even questioned Alister, the last man seen with Amy, but there wasn’t enough evidence to detain him. The family was frustrated that many of the passengers had departed the ship before the search was over. If Amy was kidnapped, her captors could’ve easily escaped.
Police immediately issued a missing persons alert for Amy. People all over the island of Curacao were made aware of the situation, and her family desperately hoped someone would come forward with any information.
Authorities wondered whether Amy, intoxicated, might’ve fallen overboard after she left the club, but there was no evidence to support that theory. The Bradleys were devastated, and without any information about Amy’s whereabouts, they were forced to return home without their daughter.
Although there was no evidence to support the claim, Amy’s parents firmly believed she was abducted. Brad noted that the cruise ship employees seemed to give her “extra” attention while she was in the club. Upon returning home, the Bradleys used every outlet possible to let the world know what happened, and the community rallied around them.
Shortly after they returned home, Ron and Brad flew back to Curacao to continue the search for Amy. While on the island, the men posted flyers of Amy everywhere. They were offering $260,000 to anyone who could help them find her.
Amazingly, within 24 hours, a taxi driver on the island told the men he saw Amy in a frantic state just minutes after the Rhapsody of the Seas docked. She allegedly ran up to his car window and asked where the nearest telephone was, and then she ran off. Her family was now convinced she was still somewhere in Curacao.
With the help of local police, Ron and Brad scoured the entire island. They checked every hotel, store, and beach, but Amy was nowhere to be found. Disappointed and distraught, they had no choice but to return home yet again without Amy.
As time passed, more people came forward with stories about spotting Amy, which only strengthened the Bradley family’s certainty that she was kidnapped. They feared she was in the Caribbean being held against her will…
In one such “sighting,” two Canadian tourists visiting Curacao believed they spotted Amy walking along the beach. The woman they saw had the same tattoos: the Tasmanian Devil spinning a basketball on her shoulder, a sun on her lower back, a gecko lizard on her navel, and a Chinese symbol located on her right ankle.
In another, a man named David Carmichael said he saw a woman who matched Amy’s description walking along the beach flanked by two men. When she approached David, he said, the men hustled her away. The Bradley family had local police search the area where the alleged encounter took place, but they found nothing.
Another man from the Navy reportedly saw Amy inside a Curacao brothel. He said a woman approached him and said her name was Amy Bradley and she needed help, but she was quickly whisked away by brothel workers. Because the sailor wasn’t supposed to be in the brothel, he didn’t immediately go to police. The brothel has since burned down.
There was another possible sighting of Amy in a restroom in Barbados. A tourist named Judy Maurer claimed to have run into the woman, who looked terrified. However, Judy quickly left, and she never saw the woman again.
Then, in 2005, an anonymous source emailed the Bradley family photos of a scantily-clad woman who supposedly was their daughter. Detectives, however, couldn’t track down the original source, but the family saw the pictures as evidence Amy was, in fact, forced into sexual slavery.
All of these leads have given the Bradleys hope that Amy will one day return home. They hired a private investigator in Curacao, and he made it his mission to find her. Until he does, the family thinks about her every day and will continue to keep her memory alive.
The FBI is offering $25,000 to anyone with information that will help bring this upsetting case to its conclusion. Hopefully a tip comes in soon, and the Bradley family can finally get the closure they’ve been waiting so long for.
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