Tuesday, December 05, 2006

"Is My Daughter-in-Law Going to Jail?"

The time: yesterday afternoon about 4:40 pm. The place: the local grocery store. The speaker: George Allen Smith III, father of George Allen Smith IV, who disappeared on his honeymoon aboard Royal Caribbean Cruises' "Brilliance of the Seas".

The rest of the snatch of conversation overheard by your scribe as he was heading back to his car went like this: "...and he said no, and it made me mad." Tempting as it was to linger over the bananas and hear more, your faithful reporter is not an eavesdropper, and he certainly had no intention of hearing even as much as he did. But now that it has been heard, it needs to be discussed.

A reasonable person might reasonably assume that Smith would prefer to see his daughter-in-law, Jennifer Hagel-Smith, behind bars. Now, we all know it is dangerous to infer overmuch from a brief bit of dialogue, especially without any context of what was said before or after these words. But try as I might to force some other construction upon them, their meaning to me seems pretty much the same as what the reasonable person would think.

Let's back up a bit. Initial reaction here in Greenwich to the news of young Smith's disappearance and presumed death was shock and dismay. The young couple had talked of parenting a George Allen Smith V, and the image presented was of two people very much in love. But then other details started to emerge....

Such as the detail that Jennifer and George had had a battle royal in one of the ship's bars. The local rag reported the following on January 23, 2006:

"Witnesses say Smith and his wife, Jennifer Hagel Smith, were heavily intoxicated and argued in the ship's bar the night George Smith disappeared. Passengers say Smith called his wife names and she responded by kicking him in the groin hard enough to double him over."

Oops. Is it possible that the "marriage" ended then and there? Cyberspace is full of speculation and rumors about what may have happened after that. Jennifer reportedly was found passed out/sleeping in a corridor on the opposite side of the ship from their cabin, while the cabin itself bore evidence of a fight, including bloodstains. Did the mysterious two Russians allegedly present duing the fight at the bar go on to settle matters with George on Jennifer's behalf? Jennifer herself has not been a model of lucidity or veracity in her various statements, according to published reports. Here's a recent post from the website cybersleuth.com:

"She knows exactly what happened. if not, she at least suspects what happened. I've never believed her story and she seemed too removed from it. She should have been distraught; after all, they were newly married and on their wedding trip.
If she didn't know what happened, why would she settle and move to Boston, getting on with her life as though he was just a blip on her radar? Something's not right with her..."

Comes now your scribe with his bag of groceries and his snatch of overheard conversation. What do you think, dear reader? Does George Smith III think that Jennifer is in some way responsible for the disappearance/death of George IV? Be it noted that the two bereaved families are now at legal loggerheads in that Jennifer has accepted some sort of settlement from the cruise line, which the Smiths with their desire to file a lawsuit seem to view as a form of betrayal.

And who said life in the 'burbs was dull?


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