updated 1/24/2006 9:11:28 AM ET 2006-01-24T14:11:28

It’s been months since George Smith IV disappeared from his honeymoon cruise on the Royal Caribbean and still no answers regarding what happened that fateful night.  New reports from the Associated Press suggest that Smith and his wife, Jennifer Hagel Smith may have been drugged on the night of his disappearance.  The newest theory was circulated by Hagel Smith’s lawyer.

Court TV’s Catherine Crier, former Connecticut prosecutor Susan Filan and private investigator Vito Colucci joined Scarborough Country Friday to discuss the most theories floating around about the case.

To read an excerpt from their conversation, continue to the text below. To watch the video, click on the "Launch" button to the right.

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST, ‘SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY’:  Catherine, what do you make of the AP report? 

CATHERINE CRIER, COURT TV:  I think basically it's a result of Jennifer saying, I don't remember much.  Gee, at first, she thought she woke up in her bed.  And now she's sort of putting it back together with what the cruise line is telling her, that she was actually found on the floor somewhere.

She may have had basically an overindulgence, resulting in a bit of a blackout.  And it may be, well, gee, one of the reasons could have been drugs.  I tried to find out whether the two young Russian men that were accused of rape, whether that victim had said anything about date rape drugs, anything else around this cruise, other activities that mentioned drugs of any sort like that.  Nothing's come up.  Let's reach out for another theory right now. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Susan Filan, you're close to the investigation.  What do you think, drugs? 


I think that what the lawyer is trying to do is put some more heat on Royal Caribbean to prove their negligence in the way they have handled George's disappearance and the investigation.  And what he's basically saying is, you find a woman passed out, and you just put her back in bed and don't offer her any medical assistance?  What if she had been drugged?  What if she had been given one of these date rape drugs?

But I don't really think that if it's just coming to light now, through her attorney, it could have escaped law enforcement all that while.  And, again, they have ruled her out as a suspect.  So, they have had to do an assessment of her credibility.  And I have to believe, Joe, that this would have come up in some way before now. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Vito, but here's the deal.  Are we to believe that it's just a coincidence that this young woman wakes up sprawled out on the floor, in the middle of a long cruise, the same night that her husband is killed? 

VITO COLUCCI, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR:  You know, I'm going to differ with Susan, Joe.

If you want to knock Jennifer out of commission, if you want a chance to get at George, OK, whether to rob him, to hurt him in any kind of way, you have got to knock Jennifer out of commission.  You already see them drinking, OK?

A lot of these drugs out there the most popular one right now is something called roofies.  It's tasteless, odorless, colorless.  You can mix it with water.  No one knows.  And guess what one the biggest side effects is?  Semi-consciousness. 

So, it's also a possibility here, Joe.  But if you have got trained investigators that jump in on this right away, they would know; 24 hours, it's in the bloodstream; 48 hours, you can take urine samples.  So, we can't eliminate that.  If you want to move her out of commission—everybody is thinking more the sexual part.  Forget the sexual part.  You eliminate her, you're able to concentrate on George. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Catherine, you're shaking your head.  Why? 

CRIER:  Well, because you just listen to the facts of this case, we know there's an awful lot of drinking going on, on cruise lines.  In fact, a lot of people have gone overboard because of this kind of thing.

The reports were, the activities there in the casino area, heavy, heavy drinking on her part.  Remember, the altercation with the husband, in fact, at one point, someone sort of groping her, and she doesn't realize it's not George. 

And she wandered off by herself.  It's not that I know what happened.  It's just that it is a relatively reasonable explanation that she may have wandered off and passed out, which doesn't mean that all the activity in his cabin didn't take place, but I have not heard anything that would substantiate slipping her a mickey. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Susan Filan, let's move on to the Russians. 

I spoke earlier today to somebody that's very close to these Russians, very close to the people that were with George and Jennifer that night.  They say that we are completely off base talking about the rape charges and sexual assault charges the next night, because, after all, the Italian authorities didn't press charges after investigating that possibility. 

I guess Royal Caribbean's also said the FBI's investigating that sexual assault.  Can you tell me if that's the case? 

FILAN:  Well, I can tell you that law enforcement has known about that complaint since day one, and that this victim is somebody who recanted her statement.  It happens a lot in rape cases. 

And, again, the allegations here are of a very violent, graphic, sexual nature, involving gang rape.  And it was allegedly videotaped.  So, maybe this is why she didn't want to press forward with the charges.

Women have a very, very difficult time, still, in 2006, making these kinds of complaints.  And it's quite possible that the Italian authorities don't have the same point of view on assessing a victim that the United States authorities have. 

Maybe she got the bum's rush, didn't like the way she was being treated, and said forget it.  It's just easier to go on with the cruise and get myself home, and I will deal with it myself with my psychiatrist. 

But I certainly think that it was known to law enforcement from day one, and that's what helped them focus in on these Russians.  I mean, talk about two bad apples.  You have got George's disappearance; 24 hours later, you have got this horrific allegation of sexual assault.  And what does Royal Caribbean do?  They get them off the ship right away. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, they get them off ship 24 hours after—I guess 48 hours—Catherine, 48 hours after they have reason to believe that these guys were the last ones seen with George. 

CRIER:  Yes. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Do you fault the cruise line for not getting them off immediately? 

CRIER:  Well, no.  I fault the cruise line for not hanging on to them in one capacity or another. 

Where my complaints with the cruise line come is after they discovered that George was missing from the room.  A lot of what they did that night, the wee hours, I don't see much problem with yet, based upon the information we have.

But I think that their examination of this case and their knowing these guys had been causing trouble before George Smith disappeared, knowing that they were somehow involved, knowing about the rape allegations, to simply put them off and let them wander away, I have some problems with that. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Catherine, what's your theory on this case?  What happened? 

CRIER:  Well, I'm not sure I know. 

Based upon the information, I'm troubled by the fact that these guys say they took him back to the room at 3:30.  We know he was quite intoxicated.  We know that there was some sort of thump noise.  Security guards went to the room at 4:30, didn't hear any more noise, therefore, didn't investigate. 

While they did take Jennifer back to the room and saw nothing, she saw nothing when she got up, put on her flip-flops, and went to the massage at 8:30 the next morning. 

So, they can't necessarily be criticized.  But there's that 3:30 to 4:30 a.m. period that something could have gone wrong of a felonious nature.  So, I'm not satisfied that this was, gee, he got up on a chair, sat on the railing and just fell over by himself. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, that's the one thing.  I don't buy that theory. 

CRIER:  Yes. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Something happened.  We just don't know what it was. 

Vito, we got to go, but I got to ask you, do you think we're going to solve this case? 

COLUCCI:  Well, Susan's from Connecticut, like I am.  And she knows the FBI is Connecticut is a very, very good branch. 

I still feel they're going to solve this.  They got in at a real late time here, Joe, and they're doing the best.  They got their best people working on it.  I know that for a fact. 

Catch 'Scarborough Country' each weeknight at 10 p.m. ET

© 2013 Reprints


Discussion comments