Jamaica CLAUDIA KIRSCHHOCH: Missing from Jamaica - 27 May 2000 - Age 29


Well-known member
http://www.charleyproject.org/cases/k/k ... audia.html
Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance

Missing Since: May 27, 2000 from Negril, Jamaica
Classification: Endangered Missing
Date Of Birth: February 9, 1971
Age: 29 years old
Height and Weight: 5'2, 105 pounds
Distinguishing Characteristics: Brown hair, brown eyes. Kirschhoch has a tattoo of a phoenix on her right hip.
Clothing/Jewelry Description: A multi-colored blue bikini and a t-shirt.

Details of Disappearance

Kirschhoch was an assistant editor for Frommer's Travel Guides in New York City, New York and resided in the borough of Queens. She was chosen to participate in a travel junket to the new Sandals resort in Havana, Cuba on May 24, 2000. Kirschhoch flew to Montego Bay, Jamaica with three other travel journalists on that day. The group was then scheduled to fly to Havana, but learned they would not be allowed entry into Cuba shortly afterwards. All flights back to New York were booked through June 1 and Kirschhoch was re-routed to the Sandals Beaches Resort in Negril, Jamaica with another travel writer, Tania Grossinger, on May 25.
Grossinger told authorities that Kirschhoch became friends with one of the resort's bartenders, Anthony Grant, during their stay. Grossinger was able to arrange a last-minute flight out of Negril to New York during the morning of May 27, 2000. She and Kirschhoch met for breakfast prior to Grossinger's departure. Kirschhoch planned to stay at the resort until more flights to the United States became available.

Kirschhoch was last seen by a Sandals Beaches resort lifeguard as she walked along the beach later that afternoon. She carried a portable radio at the time. Kirschhoch has never been heard from again.

Kirschhoch's parents became concerned when they failed to contact their daughter by June 2. They called Frommer's Travel Guides' offices in New York City and learned that she never returned to work. An investigation was initiated in Negril and all of Kirschhoch's personal belongings were discovered in her hotel room. The only items missing were her bikini, t-shirt and radio -- the same possessions she was seen wearing on the beach on May 27. Kirschhoch's passport, return plane ticket, $180 cash, credit and automatic teller machine (ATM) cards, camera, cellular phone and clothing were located in her room. Kirschhoch's belongings were reportedly taken to the Sandals Beaches Resort manager's office and her hotel room was rented out to other guests, possibly contamining a potential crime scene. Her cellular phone disappeared shortly thereafter, as did the log book that recorded all vehicles' license plate numbers that entered and exited the resort. A security camera videotape near Kirschhoch's hotel room was inadvertently recorded over after her disappearance as well. The resort developed the film in Kirschhoch's camera after her disappearance, but reported that there were no photos on it.

Authorities learned that Grant called in sick on May 28, the day after Kirschhoch was last seen. He remained out of work for four days. The Federal Bureau Of Investigation (FBI) began its own investigation along with Negril authorities and discovered a strand of Kirschhoch's hair in the back seat of Grant's white Toyota Corolla. A search dog traced her scent to the trunk of the car, as well as a pair of Grant's boots and gloves at his residence. DNA testing conducted on the items proved to be inconclusive. A small amount of blood was discovered on the blade of a knife inside Grant's home, but it was too small to merit additional analysis. Grant agreed to a polygraph test after Kirschhoch disappeared, but the results were also inconclusive. Authorities do not consider him a suspect in Kirschhoch's case, but her parents believe that he may know what happened to their daughter.

The Jamaican press portrayed Kirschhoch as an adventure-seeker who was probably responsible for her own fate after her disappearance in 2000. Her loved ones have stated that the description of Kirschhoch is inaccurate and that she prepared herself before venturing to different locales. Numerous sightings of Kirschhoch were reported in Jamaican villages after her initial disappearance, but investigators have been unable to confirm any of the reports.

Kirschhoch's family has alleged that Sandals Beaches Resort employees impeded the investigation into their daughter's disappearance and that they probably know what happened to her. Her family filed a lawsuit against them for willfully destroying evidence and causing emotional stress in 2002; the suit is expected to go to trial in the fall of 2005. Many American journalists covered Kirschhoch's case in 2000 and reported that criminal activity was occasionally widespread in Jamaica and recommended that potential visitors plan their stays accordingly. Her family said the Jamaican police did not cooperate with them and would not let them examine the investigative file.

Kirschhoch was declared legally deceased in May 2002. A judge ruled that it was unlikely she disappeared of her own accord. Her case remains unsolved.


Well-known member
Claudia Kirschhoch disappeared from the Sandals Beach Resort in Negril, Jamaica on May 27, 2000. She was last seen by a Sandals lifeguard walking along the beach that afternoon. She carried a portable radio at the time. Kirschhoch has never been heard from again.



Well-known member
Claudia Kirschhoch
A travel writer vanishes without a trace in Jamaica.
http://www.unsolved.com/ajaxfiles/mis_c ... chhoch.htm

Claudia Kirschhoch

Gender: Female
DOB: 2/9/71
Height: 5’2”
Weight: 105 lbs.
Eyes: Brown
Hair: Dark brown
Defining Characteristics: Tattoo: a phoenix on her right hip
Remarks: Last seen 5/27/00

Sandals Resort, Jamaica


Claudia’s valuables were left behind
In May of 2000, New York-based travel writers Claudia Kirschhoch and Tania Grossinger found themselves stranded in Negril, Jamaica. Their business trip to Havana Cuba, had been suddenly canceled. According to Tania, they were terribly disappointed:

"When we found out that we weren't going to Cuba, we were really, really upset. I had assignments. Claudia was there on work. We were also concerned because when they told us we couldn't go, they also told us we couldn't get back to New York."

Just prior to her trip, 29-year-old Claudia Kirschhoch had landed her dream job with Frommer's Travel Guides. Although she was stranded in Jamaica, Claudia decided to make the best of her trip.

Claudia’s missing person’s poster
At a resort in Negril, Claudia made friends with Anthony Grant, one of the resort's bartenders. She was a big fan of reggae music, and Grant reportedly offered to take her to a nearby club.

Tania managed to book a flight home and agreed to meet up with Claudia in New York City. But later that afternoon, Claudia Kirschhoch mysteriously vanished from the island.

A lifeguard was reportedly the last person to see Claudia. She was walking along a local beach, away from the resort.

On June 2 nd , Claudia's parents were notified that she hadn't shown up for work in New York, as scheduled. Fred and Mary Ann Kirschhoch had an unsettling feeling when they finally reached someone at the resort.

Hotel maids had reported Claudia missing after noticing she had not slept in her bed for several days. But everything in her room seemed normal. All her clothes except one bathing suit were neatly packed away in her suitcase. Her passport, credit cards, cell phone, and $180 in cash were recovered from the hotel safe where she had left them.

She was last seen at the beach
Claudia's mother, Mary Ann Kirschhoch, was devastated:

"Claudia's a really organized, orderly person. If she was planning to go off somewhere, she would have made a phone call. She would have let us know. We felt very early on that something happened to her and that something just was not right."

As soon as they found out their daughter was missing, the Kirschhochs were on the next plane to Jamaica. Once in Negril, their attempts to find out what happened to their daughter hit one dead end after another, beginning at the resort where Claudia had been staying.

As a security precaution, the license plates of all vehicles entering and leaving the resort were carefully recorded in a logbook. But the logbook for the month that Claudia disappeared was missing. Then a videotape from a surveillance camera mounted near Claudia's room had been recorded over. Finally, the room where Claudia stayed was cleared by housekeeping and hotel security before it could be processed for clues.

Authorities had no evidence of foul play, so they began to investigate the possibility that Claudia had drowned. Denver Frater was a Detective for the Jamaica Constabulary Force:

"It's not impossible, but I would say it's highly unlikely. That area-- it's not deep, and the current is not very strong. And if something should go wrong with someone there, the body would be found easily."

News of Claudia's disappearance spread through Jamaica. Many Negril residents believed that Claudia chose to run away from her old life to live in the hills with a Jamaican lover.

Fred Kirschhoch disagreed:

"We know she wouldn't do that. She had no reason to escape, as has been said. She loved her life... her family, her friends, her new apartment. Everything was going right for her. So there was nothing to escape."

Detective Frater received several phone calls from eyewitnesses who claimed to have seen Claudia in the hills with a Rastafarian man. However, each lead proved to be fruitless.

Frustrated by the progress of the investigation, Claudia's parents brought in the FBI and an American search and rescue team.

According to a canine handler on the case, his dog tracked Claudia's scent to the home of Anthony Grant, the bartender last seen with Claudia. At Grant's home, the dog hit on a pair of boots, a pair of gloves, and a knife. While searching Grant's car, the dog also seemed to hit on Claudia's scent in the backseat and the trunk.

Detective Frater recalled what followed:

"The articles found-- boots, knife, particularly the mat in the trunk of the car, was removed by the FBI evidence response team. It was taken to the FBI forensic laboratory in the states. It was checked for signs of human blood. Nothing was found."

Anthony Grant was investigated and polygraphed, but the results were inconclusive. According to Detective Frater, Grant is not considered a suspect in Claudia Kirschhoch's disappearance:

"We interviewed him for several weeks. We just don't find enough evidence to, in any way, believe that Grant is involved in her disappearance, other than that he was associated with her."

The Kirschhochs have struggled to keep the search for Claudia alive, despite dwindling leads and diminishing support. They have offered a $50,000 reward in this case.


Well-known member
http://www.people.com/people/archive/ar ... 67,00.html

August 07, 2000 Vol. 54 No. 6 Trouble in Paradise By Pam Lambert

After Journalist Claudia Kirschhoch Vanishes in Jamaica, Her Distraught Parents Lead a Desperate Search for CluesFacebook Twitter E-mail As they shared breakfast on the poolside patio of the Beaches resort in Jamaica on May 27, the two women could see the golden sands of Negril glinting in the morning sun, shimmering with the promise of a perfect day. New York journalists Claudia Kirschhoch and Tania Grossinger—who had met just 72 hours earlier but bonded after the cancellation of their planned press junket to Beaches' sister facility in Cuba—were saying goodbye before Grossinger, a freelance travel writer, caught her flight back home. Kirschhoch, 29, an editor for Frommer's travel guides who hadn't been to Jamaica previously, would be returning to New York City on June 1. "We chatted and she said she'd call me back in the city," remembers Grossinger, 63. "Often you just say that, but I really expected to see her again."

But Grossinger never did—and neither has anyone else. The breakfast now stands as the last official sighting of Claudia Kirschhoch before she vanished without a trace. Despite an ongoing Jamaican police investigation, a substantial reward and the help of the FBI, no promising leads have been found. "I thought at first she was dead," says Det. Sgt. Orrel Simpson, 43, who interviewed members of the staff at Beaches—owned by Sandals Resorts International—soon after Kirschhoch was reported missing. "Then, I was sure she was alive. Now I don't know what to think."

Neither do Kirschhoch's anguished parents, who have made three weeklong trips to Jamaica to hunt for the younger of their two daughters. "It's good for us...we feel very connected when we are there," says Fred Kirschhoch, 58, an engineer. "When we talk to people who have kids, the thing we say is, 'Think about when you had a child and they disappeared in a store for five minutes—you were frantic. That's the way we feel, but it never stops.' "

It was in fact Fred and his wife, Mary Ann, at home in Morristown, N.J., who first sounded the alarm that their daughter was missing. When they didn't hear from Claudia, to whom they normally speak every few days, on June 1, and she didn't return phone messages left at her apartment in New York City, they called Jamaica the next day. After a number of calls to the resort, Fred says a staffer told them that Claudia had not slept in her bed since May 27, according to the maids' logs. On June 3, says Fred, another staff member phoned to say that when hotel security drilled the lock on the small safe in his daughter's room earlier that day, they found a credit card, her ticket home and her passport. It appeared she had never left Jamaica.

"We called everyone everywhere, anyone who could help us to start getting the word out," recalls Mary Ann, 60, a retired benefits analyst, fighting back tears. "Everybody was saying, 'We'll find her, we'll find her.' " One of the couple's first calls was to the U.S. embassy in Kingston, which began monitoring the investigation started by Jamaican police as soon as they were called by Beaches on June 3.

But by the time that probe began, Claudia Kirschhoch had been missing for a week. As far as could be determined, her clothes—save for a new blue-and-white bikini—had been left in her room. Authorities began a full-scale hunt in and around Negril, and the search later spread throughout the island, including Kingston, the notoriously crime-ridden capital 100 miles to the east. (Jamaica, a country of 2.5 million, recorded some 849 murders in 1999, although according to police none involved tourists. Authorities say the last tourist killing was that of Chicago screenwriter Terrence Runte, 34, in 1994; a Kingston resident was convicted of murdering him in 1996 even though Runte's body was never found.)

Police questioned a pair of local men with whom Kirschhoch was reported to have gone out on the two evenings prior to her disappearance. They also interviewed a singer at a beach bar who recalled having seen a woman fitting Kirschhoch's description there on May 30 in the company of six or seven men. But all the leads appeared to be dead ends.

Though Kirschhoch's family understands Jamaica's desire to protect its $1 billion-a-year tourist industry, they are offended by suggestions that reckless behavior on Claudia's part could have put her in harm's way. (Sandals spokesman Leo Lambert stated at a June 27 Kingston press conference that he was told Kirschhoch had been smoking marijuana on the beach and skinny-dipping.) "She's not some kid who went off to party," says her sister Deborah Martin, 34, a New York City magazine editor. "She's an adult—she has a great job, a great apartment which she was thrilled about, lots and lots of friends...She's not a risk taker."

Family and friends describe the petite brunette, who graduated in political science from Virginia's Washington and Lee University, as an outgoing young woman who appeared to be at what her sister calls "an exceptionally good time in her life." After several years as a freelance writer and editor, in April 1999 Kirschhoch landed the Frommer's job, a dream come true for someone who, even as a child, had devoured travel books. The position enabled her to move out of the suburban New Jersey home where she had grown up and into a spacious one-bedroom apartment in Queens—just a few subway stops from her job in Manhattan and the restaurants, concerts and clubs she enjoyed sharing with friends. Though she wasn't dating anyone seriously, "She really had everything going for her," says friend Paulette Cooper. "She was beautiful, she was bright, she was charming."

She was also "no babe in the woods," says Frommer's publisher Mike Spring. "She is a savvy traveler. She went on several trips for us before.... There is nothing frivolous about her. The accusations made by Sandals that kind of say 'she got what was coming to her' fly in the face of everything we know about her. Every day people gather [in the office] in hushed voices; they want to be helpful but they don't know how."

"It's hard to figure out what to do," admits Mary Ann Kirschhoch. The family has set up an 800 number, used psychics and crisscrossed Jamaica from backwoods to churches to reggae bars. "There are seven miles of beach [in Negril]. We've walked that seven miles and given out posters to every little store owner and are getting tremendous feelings of empathy," says Fred. "It gives them a picture of us as individuals who are looking for our daughter."

"I just have to keep believing that she's going to come home to us," says Kirschhoch's sister. "I have to believe that. The alternatives are just too horrible to think about."

Pam Lambert
Don Sider in Negril and Olivia Abel in Morristown

Contributors: Don Sider, Olivia Abel.


Well-known member
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.h ... wanted=all

Combing the Beaches for a Missing Daughter; Parents of Queens Travel Editor Find Sympathy and Frustration in Jamaica

In the dying light, the prayers for the missing woman poured out of the hilltop church near Montego Bay, two hours' drive from this beach resort town.

Frederick and Mary Ann Kirschhoch stood up beneath whirring fans. The Moravian congregation was asking God for the safe return of the couple's daughter, Claudia, 29, a travel editor for Frommer's who vanished from Negril around May 27.

Mr. Kirschhoch had grown up with the Moravian church on Staten Island. He knew the hymns by heart. But the Jamaicans sang with an intensity that sounded almost otherworldly to him.

''It was just an outpouring of warmth and comfort and empathy that was overwhelming,'' Mr. Kirschhoch said. ''It's something we'll never forget, no matter what.''

There are few things about Jamaica that these parents from Morristown, N.J., will be able to erase from their memories. This was their second visit in three weeks to help search for their daughter, a resident of Astoria, Queens. They returned to the lush, mountainous island on June 22, even though investigations by the police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and a private detective were coming up empty. (The detective had been hired by Gordon Stewart, the owner of the resort where Ms. Kirschhoch had been staying, and the F.B.I. had sent agents at the request of the Jamaican police.)

Since the first week of June, newspapers, radio stations and television programs have been running reports on the disappearance every few days. Several days before the Kirschhochs arrived, they increased their reward offer for information leading to their daughter's whereabouts, to $25,000 from $6,200; the new amount is about 10 times the average annual income in Jamaica.

[On Tuesday, four days after the Kirschhochs returned home, Mr. Stewart added another $25,000 to the pot. The parents plan to fly back to Jamaica on Wednesday.]

''I have never seen anything like this in Jamaica,'' said Daniel Grizzle, owner of the Charela Inn and chairman of the resort board at the Negril Chamber of Commerce. ''There's never been a search of this magnitude.''

Claudia Kirschhoch arrived in Jamaica on May 24 and stayed at Beaches Negril, part of a 15-hotel Caribbean chain run by Sandals Resorts International, after a trip to Cuba sponsored by Sandals was canceled. She was last seen by Tania Grossinger, a freelance travel writer from New York, at breakfast on May 27. When she did not fly back to New York on June 1 as scheduled, her parents called the hotel. In her room, hotel staff found clothes, luggage, her passport and a wallet with cash and credit cards.

The parents said the only things missing were a blue-striped bathing suit, sunglasses, a portable radio and possibly a notepad. Helicopter and boat searches turned up nothing. The local police said they had no leads.

More than 400 people have been reported missing in Jamaica so far this year, the police said. Most were local teenagers who had run away from home, only to turn up after a few days. Despite being pressed by reporters, police officials said they had no statistics on how many foreign visitors were reported missing, but insisted that the number was low.

The Kirschhochs were methodical in their search. Mr. Kirschhoch, 57, a part-time engineer, approached the task the same way he does when finishing buildings: making a checklist, going through the details, marking off the loose ends one by one.

Mr. and Mrs. Kirschhoch were staying at another Sandals resort in Negril in a room paid for by Mr. Stewart, owner of the Sandals chain. The resort was loud, with partying couples, swim-up bars and blaring reggae, not the kind of place where they would have chosen to spend time.

But this was no vacation, and when Mr. Kirschhoch walked into their room, he opened the tourist brochure and tried to think like his daughter. Where would I go? Whom would I speak with?

He considered her an experienced traveler. She had visited Italy and the Canary Islands, and she had lived for seven months in Paris after graduating from Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va.

''I don't believe that nobody knows anything,'' her father said. Mr. and Mrs. Kirschhoch came because they believed they could describe their daughter to Jamaicans in a way that only parents could. Or maybe people who had information might be more forthcoming with them than with the police.

Mrs. Kirschhoch, 60, a retirement account manager at Honeywell, carried a notebook in which she meticulously recorded their findings. She scribbled questions they wanted to ask hotel workers and other people who had seen their daughter.

Byron Jones was one of those. The young man worked as a lifeguard on a beach that Claudia Kirschhoch might have visited. After her parents tracked him down, he pointed to a far off spot next to a trash bin where he thought he had seen their daughter a month before.

''There was a black lady, a local lady, talking to her,'' he said. ''She told the lady she wanted to go to Westmoreland, maybe to the Black River area.''

''Can you be sure it was her?'' Mr. Kirschhoch asked. His wife held up a flier with two photographs of their daughter and a description: 5 feet 2 inches tall, slim build, long dark brown hair.

Mr. Jones stared ahead, pondering.

''How tall was she?'' Mr. Kirschhoch asked.

''Maybe five-six.''

''Can you remember what day it was?''

''No, mon, I can't remember.''

Most of their mornings, they walked along stretches of the seven-mile white-sand beach and passed out fliers. They believed this did some good. They could not follow up on each of the 377 telephone tips the police had received. Many came from people who called whenever they saw a white woman with a black man. In one instance, a psychic told the police to search caves along the Negril coastline. None of the tips had panned out. (Two toll-free numbers have been set up: (88 967-9300 in the United States and (88 991-4000 in Jamaica.)

Sometimes people whom the Kirschhochs met on the beach held their hands and told them how much they felt for them. But after the parents walked away, some people said that the American woman must be dead, or had somehow made her way to Cuba, and that if the search turned up anything, it would be something horrible.

''Somebody must have kidnapped her,'' said Carmen Purchase, a baby sitter. ''Because she's gone so long, then maybe she's dead.''


Well-known member

At night, the Kirschhochs went to the half dozen or so reggae clubs in town, places like Alfred's and Roots Bamboo where bands performed on the beach. Their daughter liked reggae, and maybe someone had seen her. At one concert, the band asked the parents to get on stage and speak to the crowd.

Wherever Mrs. Kirschhoch went, she stared at every young white woman. Was it Claudia? She looked under beach umbrellas. She looked in car windows. Those with tinted glass upset her because she could not tell what was going on behind them.

The Kirschhochs also spent much of their time meeting with newspaper reporters and speaking on radio talk shows. They allowed a production crew from ABC News to follow them around. Mrs. Kirschhoch broke down and cried once while describing her experience with the crew members. ''I feel like I'm traveling around with my kids, which is kind of comforting,'' she said. ''They're Claudia's age.''

But the news media attention also exhausted them. It seemed never-ending. On June 27, they flew from Negril to Kingston, the country's capital, for a news conference arranged by Sandals.

Jamaica depends on its $1 billion-a-year tourism industry for more than half of its foreign exchange earnings, so some people were sensitive about news reports on missing travelers.

The police tried to sound optimistic. Two officers at the news conference said they had a ''95 percent feeling'' that Ms. Kirschhoch was still alive.

Half an hour into the conference, Leo Lambert, a Sandals spokesman, suggested to reporters that the missing woman might have had an adventurous spirit. He said that she had admitted to Ms. Grossinger, her fellow guest, that she smoked marijuana, went skinny-dipping and had gone out one night with a hotel bartender. The statement took her parents by surprise. (Ms. Grossinger declined to comment on Mr. Lambert's statement because of the continuing investigation.)

Mr. Stewart, the owner of Sandals, later removed Mr. Lambert as spokesman in the case and called the parents to apologize. But at the conference, the Kirschhochs had to face the journalists.

A reporter from a Jamaican newspaper asked Mr. Kirschhoch whether his daughter had ''social problems.'' Another asked whether she was ''loose.''

''I think Mary Ann and I know our daughter better than anybody,'' Mr. Kirschhoch said. ''Those things are not like her. They're not true. They're absolutely not true.''

As photographers clicked away, he stood at the lectern, seething. Just the day before, he had chewed out an editor of The Sunday Herald over the phone. The Jamaican tabloid had run a front-page headline saying that Claudia Kirschhoch ''broke loose'' on the island.

That was the phrase Jamaicans used to describe how young tourists, mostly North Americans, sometimes came here to drop out of society. In the 1970's, Negril drew American hippies looking for surf, spirituality and drugs. . Many Jamaicans spoke of foreign women who went into the hills to live with Rastafarians, and they believed Ms. Kirschhoch might be among them.

Indeed, the police said, one Australian woman had come down from the hills after hearing of the Kirschhochs' search and said she was going to call her own parents, who apparently had no idea where she was.

''A lot of people here have a very romantic notion that Claudia just came over here and dropped out,'' Mrs. Kirschhoch said one morning on the beach. ''That's not the Claudia I know. But that would be the best scenario for them. And for us too, I guess.''

After the news conference, the Kirschhochs boarded a small propeller plane bound for Negril. The entire flight, they stared out the window at the mist and undulating hills. The island looked much larger than it did on any map, and the canopy of trees seemed dense enough to hide a lot of things for a very long time.

Re: Claudia Kirschhoch-NJ Missing in Jamaica- May 2000
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2007, 08:37:33 PM »


Well-known member
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/08/ ... 3376.shtml

February 11, 2009 7:14 PM PrintText
Natalee-Like Case, 5 Years Later
ByBrian Dakss .Add Comment

(CBS) Natalee Holloway's story bears a striking similarity to the disappearance of another woman, 29-year-old travel magazine editor Claudia Kirschhoch, who vanished in May 2000 in Negril, Jamaica.

Claudia has never been found.

Her mother, Mary Ann Kirschhoch,
The Early Show co-anchor Hannah Storm Tuesday she's glad Natalee's mother is keeping up the pressure on authorities in Aruba.

"In some people," Mary Ann says, "it strikes that you try to find answers, and you're just so overwhelmed, but so determined to get answers. And I know that seems to be what's happening with Beth Twitty.

"And she is such a fighter. I can tell, because she's doing what we did. She's directing the investigation, basically. If it wasn't for Beth, I don't think it would be running the same way, absolutely not. I know it didn't happen in Jamaica unless we insisted on things happening and asked questions, and that's what she's doing."

Mary Ann and her husband, Fred Kirschhoch, sent Natalee's family an e-mail.

"We offered any kind of help we could give," Fred told Storm. "Naturally, we could empathize with their situation. And we pressed them to keep on and stay (in Aruba), and try to keep media attention on them. Pressure is required in order to keep (local authorities) in the investigation. We found that as soon as you drop that pressure, they stop."

When Claudia disappeared, Mary Ann and Fred hired a private investigator, and went to Jamaica several times.

Fred says Claudia befriended a bartender while she was in Jamaica, and he and Mary Ann believe the bartender may have had something to do with Claudia's disappearance.

"Initially," Fred recalls, "(the bartender) lied about whether he had been with (Claudia). Then it was proven that he was lying. Then we had a search-and-rescue dog there that indicated that Claudia had been in his car, and possibly in his house. Her scent was found on his boots. He had changed the seat covers in his car.

"He really looked like a suspect to us. But the police seemed to – and I think (Natalee's family) finds the same thing in Aruba, that they take an interview to a point, then they kind of back off. And that's exactly what happened to us. And that's why it didn't get pushed far enough, in our opinion."

The bartender was never charged with anything.

Mary Ann and Fred are suing the Sandals resort where Claudia stayed. They say surveillance videos were taped over, Sandals confiscated the film in Claudia's camera, and waited before reporting Claudia missing.

"They didn't report her missing at all," Mary Ann says. "It wasn't until we called on the day that she was expected back in her office here in the city that, when we called the office there, they said, 'Claudia isn't at her desk. It's not like her. We're worried.' So my heart just dropped. And we started calling. We called Sandals. They had to get back to us. They said they didn't know anything."

The Kirschhochs had Claudia declared legally dead in May 2002, so they could proceed with their suit against Sandals.

"That was overwhelming for us," Mary Ann says. "I mean, it took us months to recover after having done that, because you're going over the whole story."


Well-known member
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/2001 ... news4.html

Claudia Kirschhoch still a mystery a year later

By Garwin Davis, Staff Reporter


AMERICAN TRAVEL writer Claudia Kirschhoch's ill-fated visit to Jamaica last May was supposed to have been for only eight days, but twelve months later her mysterious disappearance is baffling even to local law en forcement officers.

And to think that but for a last-minute change in itinerary, it might not have happened, at least certainly not in Jamaica. Ms. Kirschhoch was originally slated to go to Cuba via Montego Bay on a press trip sponsored by the Sandals Resort chain of hotels. But with the hotel sensing that there would be hurdles getting the American journalists into Cuba, the trip was cancelled and everyone re-routed to another of the resort chain's property, Beaches Negril.

On her third day at the resort, May 27, 29-year old Claudia Kirschhoch, a New York City editor for Frommer's Travel Guides, disappeared virtually into thin air and without a trace. She has since been the subject of an intensive search, which had, included agents from the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Also, a search and rescue dog handler from Oregon, U.S.A., was brought in to assist with the search. But even with all the enhanced resources, major forensic testing and also the use of a FBI polygraph machine; law enforcement officials are no where closer to solving the case than a year ago when Ms. Kirschhoch disappeared.

"In my over 23 years in law enforcement, I have never seen anything like this," explained Denver Frater, the officer in charge of crime for the parish of Westmoreland. "I am really baffled; I mean there is nothing to suggest that she is dead."

Mr. Frater said that his officers are still actively on the case and continue to pursue leads as quickly as they are passed on to the police. "Every now and then there will be report of a sighting to which we always react swiftly," he noted. "It has been a while, though, that we have gotten anything real interesting."

The crime chief also confirmed that Anthony Grant, the former Beaches Negril bartender was not a suspect in the case, saying that there has never been enough evidence to treat him as such. "Yes, he interacted with her but there was nothing to upgrade his status from being a witness to a suspect," Mr. Frater said. "There is presently no investigation of Mr. Grant taking place."

This suggestion is certain to irk relatives and friends of Ms. Kirschhoch, particularly her parents, who have always maintained that Grant knew more than he was letting on and could be the key to the unravelling of the mystery which surrounds their daughter's disappearance.

And, in a telephone interview with The Gleaner only several days ago, Fred Kirschhoch said that contrary to reports that the FBI had vindicated Grant, he was made to believe otherwise. "The FBI asked Anthony Grant if he knew about Claudia's disappearance and the polygraph result, according to what they told me, indicated that he was lying when he said he didn't. They also asked him if he was involved in her disappearance and again he flunked. We know he is capable of lying which is why he has to be a main suspect."

Mr. Kirschhoch said that in conversations with people versed in the legal profession in the United States it was felt that there is enough evidence as there is to warrant an indictment. He also added that there was another worker employed to the Beaches Negril grilled further. "It is my understanding that this person is no longer working at the hotel and has since migrated to England," he noted.

Grant's attorney, Michael Erskine is adamant that is client is only a victim of circumstances and had been unfairly maligned. "The only crime that he is guilty of is that he went out with the young lady," he said. "He has done nothing wrong and if they had anything on him it would have come out already. In fairness, I think they owe my client an apology."

Leo Lambert, Group Public Relations officer for the Sandals hotels said the case remains a mystery for him too and that his company has always been available to assist the Kirschhoch family in whatever way possible. Tourism liaison officer, Superintendent Ionie Ramsey-Nelson said that the case also continues to puzzle her and that she was strongly of the belief that Ms. Kirschhoch was still alive.

"I would have to see the body for me to change that view," she noted. "The amount of people we have had on the ground in Negril if foul play was involved I believe we would have known."

Mrs. Ramsey-Nelson said that it was unfair for anyone to suggest that the authorities hadn't utilized all the resources at their disposal to finding the missing travel writer, noting that the government had bend over backwards to facilitate the case.

"I have never seen so much resources put forward for a missing person case in this country," she said. "I have never worked so hard on anything in my life. We brought dogs in to assist even though the law had stated otherwise. We even had a meeting with the Kirschhochs to ask them to advise us on what more they feel we could do. I tell you this one is so mysterious that it hurts. I believe in my heart of heart that one day everything will come to light and this country will be vindicated. Can you believe there is a long standing J$2million reward and nobody if they had the information would not have come forward. There is something that doesn't add up here and I can't say I know what it is."


Well-known member
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/2000 ... Lead2.html

Cover-up accusations at news conference for missing journalist

THE SEARCH for Claudia Kirschhoch, 29, the missing Ameri-can travel writer, who vanished from Beaches Negril hotel, Westmoreland, on May 28, became enveloped in controversy yesterday at a news conference in Kingston.

The joint press conference called by the Sandals hotel chain and Fred Kirschhoch, the father of the missing American journalist, turned contentious with Mr. Kirschhoch charging that the hotel was withholding information relating to his daughter."

In response, Leo Lambert, the Sandals chain's public relations director, said he had been given information which suggested that the woman had been smoking dope (ganja) and fraternising with several local men.

Miss Kirschhoch, who works with Frommers Travel Guide, of New York, went missing on May 28. She was among a group which was refused entry to visit Sandals Resort in Cuba and was put up by Sandals at its Beaches Negril hotel.

Mr. Lambert who had earlier given a chronology of what he said were events from her arrival in the island up to the time she disappeared, stated that he had received information from one of the travel writers -- Tanya Glossinger -- who was in Jamaica at the same time as Miss Kirschhoch.

He said he had declined to make it public taking into consideration the presence of her parents, but that the information had been passed on to the police.

But after a brief speech from Mr. Kirschhoch in which he expressed gratitude to the Jamaican Government and Sandals Resorts International for their assistance, he told reporters there was information that Mr. Lambert was withholding.

This, he said, included the story behind the disappearance of Claudia's cellular phone which had been in her hotel room. Also, a log book which was used to record vehicles arriving and leaving the hotel's property was reported to be missing.

Mr. Kirschhoch said too, that a part of the footage from the surveillance camera at the hotel since the arrival of Claudia was not visible, and film rolls that were found in her room turn out to be blank when they were sent to be processed at a photo studio in Negril.

According to Mr. Lambert, since he had been accused of withholding information he was now forced to reveal what he said had been told to him by Tanya Glossinger, one of Claudia Kirschhoch's colleagues.

Miss Kirschhoch, he said, was reported to have gone out on the first night with one of the bartenders at the main bar at Beaches Negril hotel.

Also, she was reportedly seen in the company of about six men a few nights later. There were further allegations that she had been smoking "dope" which he said he later learnt to be a reference to ganja (marijuana) and that she was visiting night clubs and at times going "skinny dipping" in a lake.

"I know my daughter and the stories that I have been hearing about her are not true", Mr. Kirschhoch said." She is not like this. I think they are being disrespectful to her".

Holding aloft a notepad, Mr. Lambert said the conversations between himself and Tanya Glossinger were recorded by him and he invited journalists to examine them.

He made this comment shortly after Andrew Parker of the United States Embassy in Kingston, said he had made contact with Tanya Glossinger who denied some of what Mr. Lambert had said she told him about Claudia.

In separate radio interviews on RJR and HOT 102, Ms. Glossinger denied the quotes attributed to her by Mr. Lambert.

Supt. Ione Ramsay-Nelson, Police Liason Officer for Tourism, said the police had responded to 377 calls relating to the disappearance of Miss Kirschhoch, but they were still clueless about her whereabouts.

Meanwhile, the reward for information leading to the discovery of the woman has been increased from $500,000 to $1 million.


Well-known member

A search dog picked up the scent of a missing New York-based travel writer in the car trunk of a resort bartender in Jamaica. The FBI is testing the trunk’s lining and the bartender’s boots for clues, the agency said this week.

Results of the forensic tests should be available in about six weeks, the dog handler, Harry Oakes Jr., who operates a private search group, told the Daily Record of Parsippany.

Miami FBI spokesman Terry Nelson told the newspaper that no suspects have “been zeroed down.”

Messages left for Oakes and the Miami FBI, which is assisting Jamaican police, were not immediately returned.

Oakes and his search dog, Valorie, were in Jamaica Aug. 13–20, nearly three months since the disappearance of Claudia Kirschhoch, a Morristown native.

Her father, reached Wednesday, dismissed suggestions that the dog found evidence relating to Claudia.

“To jump to that conclusion is totally ridiculous and very upsetting to us,” Fred Kirschhoch said. He declined to comment further.

Oakes, who operates International K-9 Search and Rescue Services, of Portland, Ore., volunteered to search for free, the newspaper said.

A Change of Story

The bartender has admitted having a date with the 29-year-old resident of Queens, N.Y., a day before she was last seen, a Sandals Resorts International official said last month.

Anthony Grant, a bartender at the Sandals-owned Beaches Negril, originally told investigators that he did not know the Morristown native, according to the Sandals official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Kirschhoch, an editor for Frommer’s Travel Guides in New York, arrived in Jamaica on May 24, as part of a Sandals-sponsored tour for travel writers that was to continue to Cuba. But when the Cuba leg was canceled because of visa problems, and all flights back to New York were booked, she opted to stay at Beaches as a guest of Sandals.

Grant eventually told FBI agents that he took Kirschhoch to a local bar the night of May 26 and then accompanied her to the hotel, the Sandals official said.

She was last seen the following day in the lobby at Beaches.

Her parents, who still live in Morristown, reported her missing on June 2 when she failed to check out of Beaches or call.

Most of her belongings were still in her hotel room, except for her notebook, which she took wherever she went, a blue bathing suit, and a cell phone.

The Sandals official said Grant has been fired for violating a policy prohibiting staff members from dating guests.

A $50,000 reward is being offered for information leading to Kirschhoch.

Her family has a toll-free number, (88 967-9300, for tips on the case.


Well-known member
http://articles.nydailynews.com/2000-07 ... -bartender

Cops Link A Date To Missing Writer

Sunday, July 30, 2000

Authorities in Jamaica reportedly are questioning a bartender in the disappearance of a Queens travel writer.

Anthony Grant, who poured drinks at the Sandals Beaches resort in Negril, failed a lie detector test and told the FBI that he had gone on a date with Claudia Kirschhoch on May 26, the night before she disappeared, an official with Sandals Resorts International told The Associated Press.

A detective with the Negril Police Department identifying himself only as Sgt. Simpson said last night, "We're not questioning Mr. Grant now." He declined to comment on whether Grant was a suspect.

A spokeswoman for the FBI, which is involved in the investigation, declined to comment.


Well-known member
Kris on Aug 25, 00 at 12:59pm Update on the search for Claudia Kirschhoch: Newsday has an article this week about discoveries by the search dog and her handler, who volunteered their services to Claudia's parents. The FBI is analyzing evidence taken from the home of a Beaches bartender, Anthony Grant, who went on a date with Claudia the night before she was last seen.

(The article in Newsday, titled "Their Girl Is Gone," was written by Sean Gardiner. Because a friend sent it to me, I do not know the date.)

Grant was not immediately forthcoming about his date with Claudia because of Sandals's policy about automatically firing staff who meet guests socially. I don't know whether he's been fired now; I assume so. His lawyer denies that Grant knows anything at all, disputing the findings of the search dog. The experienced search dog and handler have assisted in the OK City post-bomb search and the Turkey earthquake victim search.

For completeness' sake, I'll add that the items taken from Grant's home for analysis include a pair of work gloves and a pair of leather boots. Other news sources say they also took a blanket and a small knife. One of Claudia's hairs was found in the backseat of Grant's car, determined to be "pulled out by the roots with force," but Grant does admit Claudia was in the car on their date on May 26.

http://www.fodors.com/community/caribbe ... cident.cfm

Forum statistics

Latest member