Video: George Smith's friend

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As a recently married young man with plans to take over his father’s business, George Smith’s future looked bright.  But George, known for his good looks and easy-going style, disappeared while on his honeymoon cruise.

Joe Darula, George’s high school buddy, is one of the few friends speaking out about the tragedy.  He wants answers. 

“Someone knows something,” says Darula.  “It’s just strange how people weren’t getting interviewed for like four or five days after, and then now everyone is coming out.  Why didn’t that happen right away?”

Joe is telling the world about his friend, the man behind the mystery, hoping somebody will come forward with information. 

“He’s just a nice, all-around great guy, a gentle giant, pretty much,” describes his classmate.

Joe’s father, Bob Darula, was George’s high school football coach.  He says the missing honeymooner was occasionally quiet, well-liked and warm.

The gentle giant was a star linebacker with the Greenwich High School football team, the senior in high school with ambition.  His high school yearbook reads: “All men are great in their dreams.  Reality just narrows the competition.  I am better than my reputation,” ironic words coming from a man already with a stellar reputation, not to mention his family’s.

The Smith family is well known in Greenwich.  Almost anybody you talk to knows somebody in the Smith family.  George’s great-grandfather was a Major League Baseball player who lived in town.  And his grandfather was a local dentist. 

George’s father runs a liquor store in the center of town, one of the oldest in a town famous for its wealth.  The plan was for George to take over his dad’s store.  Before he left on his honeymoon, George was already working long hours there.  A chance encounter at the liquor store brought Joe and George back in touch.  The two had drifted since high school. 

“It was kind of eerie, because I saw him three weeks before. I was going to a graduation party, so I was buying some things.  And I just talked to him,” recalls Joe Darula.  “He said, ‘We got to get together when I get back.’  And I told him to give me a call.” 

That call never happened.  The only phone call Joe got was from high school friends with horrifying news. 

For Joe, the tragedy is difficult to understand.  “He wasn’t known to get out of control or anything; he just never did anything wrong.  So that’s why it’s more shocking that something like this would happen.”

Bob Darula says he wonders about the family as well. “Being a parent, I am thinking, what is the parent thinking?  His wife is newly married, and what a way to have a honeymoon, to lose your husband and lose your child?”

Now, there are more questions than answers.  For Joe Darula, he is still waiting for his friend to call.

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