Sunday, July 19, 2009

Husband Admits Killing His Wife Aboard Carnival Elation

Earlier this week we passed along the gruesome story of a murder aboard Carnival Elation during a cruise to Mexico. Unlike in past cases, where it was unclear whether a passenger accidentally or intentionally went overboard and was assumed dead after a search, a passenger, Robert McGill admitted to the FBI that he was responsible for his wife Shirley's death. The medical examiner's office for San Diego County said she died of strangulation and blunt force injury to the head and torso. Her body was discovered in the bathroom of the couple's stateroom.

Until yesterday, the accounts Cruise Diva has read and seen on television have been objective. Most are the result of Associated Press reports appearing in newspapers and cable and network televised news (online, in print, and on air). The McGill's had each celebrated their 55th birthdays within the past week and were, apparently a happy couple—childhood sweethearts who'd lost touch and reconnected with one another and married four years ago. The case has all the intriguing elements of a mystery. Details are trickling out. McGill admitted he killed his wife"with his bare hands" and the medical examiner's report apparently confirms that. We don't know why he did it or what the domestic dispute, obviously overheard by other passengers, was about.

What we do know is that McGill snapped and it happened on a cruise ship. It could have happened anywhere, but it seems more "newsworthy" that it occurred out to sea on a cruise vacation. The most sensational item reported until yesterday was the statement by an unidentified passenger that McGill went to dinner after leaving his wife's lifeless body in their bathroom. That's why yesterday's account of the murder at AOL News online bothers me. The text seemed straightforward enough and it was accompanied by photos of the accused, his deceased wife, and the crime scene (a shot of the cruise ship). All of that was appropriate. Unfortunately, AOL News just couldn't resist including a set of "Lost At Sea" photographs that had absolutely nothing to do with the incident at hand. It's unfortunate when passengers go missing from cruise ships, but we don't see any relationship between them and this week's story about an incident of domestic violence.

Some "news" outlets just can't help sensationalizing anything that goes wrong on cruise ships.

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