Evil at Sea: The Disappearance of Amy Bradley

Published: Updated: 11 comments

While cruising to Curacao with her family aboard the Royal Caribbean International ship, Rhapsody of the Seas, Amy Bradley, 23, vanished in 1998.  

What started as a family vacation turned into a parent’s worst nightmare that continues to this day.

“In 1998, my husband, Ron, won a trip, and so we went as a family. Our first stop was Aruba, and then after that was Curuçao. When we were on the ship, we noticed immediately there was a tremendous amount of attention toward Amy from the crew members. After dinner, the waiter came out of the dining room and asked me where Amy was, and I asked him why, and he said, ‘Well, we want to take her to Carlos ‘N Charlie’s.'”

Iva Bradley, on “Dr. Phil

“When the waiter asked, I thought it was maybe a little forward of him to be asking those types of questions,” Ron Bradley said. “When Amy came back, I said, ‘The waiter wants to take you to Carlos ‘N Charlie’s with his friends.’ And then Amy looked at me and said, ‘They’re creepy. And I’m not going anywhere with them.'”

Carlos N Charlies Aruba

Carlos ‘N Charlies, now Charlie’s Bar and Restaurant, is where Natalee Holloway’s classmates last saw her before her 2005 disappearance. Holloway left the bar with Joran Van Der Sloot, a longtime suspect in her disappearance who finally confessed to killing her in October 2023.

“There was a dance troupe that was allowed onboard the ship,” Iva continued. “There was a bass player who I noticed. And he was a very unsavory looking character. Amy told her brother, Brad, that the bass player had been hitting on her. She said that he was a real jerk.”

The band was Blue Orchid, and the bass player was Alister “Yellow” Douglas.  

So, it does not make sense that in the early morning of March 24, 1998, Bradley danced at a ship disco with Douglas, as seen in a video.

Here is a still shot of the two dancing. In another part of the video, the two dance closely and appear to hold hands.

Amy Bradley dancing with suspect Alister "Yellow" Douglas.

Later in the video, Bradley is dancing near the elevator alone. She returned to her cabin around 3:30 a.m. (Her brother was on “Vanished” and said it was about 4:15 a.m.)

Her brother last saw her on the balcony after she returned to the cabin. (I read that he was with her at the disco, and I’ve also read that he wasn’t) Her father, Ron Bradley, last saw her sleeping on the balcony around 5:30 a.m. when he briefly awoke. He then fell back asleep.

Between 5:50 a.m. and 6:00 a.m., Amy’s father awoke again, only to find his daughter was not in the cabin. It appeared that she took only her cigarettes and lighter when she left. She also did not bother putting shoes on, suggesting she fully intended to be gone briefly and return to the family cabin. Her family believes she left to get coffee.

Iva recounted years later on “Dr. Phil”: “Ronnie woke me up at 7:00 a.m., and he was gray, and he said, ‘I can’t find Amy,’ and I knew immediately there was something terribly wrong. My son went up to look for Amy. He was approached by the band members, and they said, ‘Sorry to hear about your sister.’ How in the world did they know anything about Amy being missing?

“At approximately lunchtime, the captain said, ‘She is not on the ship. We have searched every nook and cranny.’ And I said, ‘Well, you’ve got to put a picture out.'” And he looked at me and said, ‘I cannot do that. It will disturb the other guests.’

“My son was in a fetal position. Ron was vomiting blood, and I had no feeling in my arms.

“The captain made the comment to us that she could have fallen overboard. And I told him absolutely no way. He said that we should get off the boat in case she ended up in Curaçao.

“My gut feeling to this day was somebody saw her, somebody wanted her, and somebody took her.”

What happened to Bradley remains a mystery.

A witness claimed she saw Bradley with Douglas at 6:00 a.m. in the disco. The witness was up early because she was going to disembark in Curacao, so she decided to wait at the disco. Douglas brought Bradley a dark drink – presumably coffee or Coca-Cola. The witness left the disco shortly after that. The witness took a polygraph, passed, and later testified before a Grand Jury.

Other witnesses saw Douglas after he left the disco in the glass elevator. He was alone (I also read that Bradley was with him).

The video of Bradley and Douglas dancing was shot by Chris Fenwick, who produced an entertainment video for a client on board. When he discovered Bradley was missing, he began looking through his recordings because he had been in the disco around the same time as Bradley. When he realized he had captured Bradley on his video, he made a copy and turned it over to the FBI. Nothing came from this. (Read more about this here)

Royal Caribbean has not cooperated with Bradley’s family in the investigation. Cruise lines will not ruin their reputation or keep people from cruising on their ships because of a missing person or mysterious death case.

A few months after Bradley vanished, a taxi driver claimed that a woman matching Bradley’s description approached him and urgently asked him to use his phone. 

David Carmichael said he saw Bradley in August 1998, walking with two men on a beach in Curacao. The woman tried desperately to get his attention. Carmichael said the woman had tattoos identical to Bradley’s. 

“A friend, Brian, and I were scuba diving on the island of Curaçao,” David said on “Dr. Phil.” 

“I noticed three people walking along the beach. One of them was a young girl, and she was flanked by two fellows. She had two tattoos. One of them was of a gecko, the other was of a Tasmanian Devil. The girl walked towards me. She started to stare at me. Just as she was about to say something, the fellow motioned her away. In May of 1999, I saw the segment on Unsolved Mysteries. The minute I saw her picture and saw her face, I realized that was the girl on the beach.”

An American sailor reported that he went to a brothel in Curaçao in 1999, and a young woman approached him who told him her name was Amy Bradley. She asked for his help. At this point, two men in the bar escorted her upstairs. Fearing he would get in trouble with higher-ups for being at the brothel, he did not mention the sighting until months later.

“And when he saw Amy’s picture on the front cover of People magazine, that’s when he contacted us because he realized it was the same girl,” Iva said. By that time, the brothel had conveniently burned down.

Seven years after Bradley vanished, Judy Maurer from Ohio said she saw a woman in a department store bathroom in Barbados, who she believes was Bradley.

Maurer recounted the incident on the 2011 television show “Vanished With Beth Holloway.”

Maurer was in one of the bathroom stalls. Two men and a woman came into the bathroom. Maurer heard one of them say something like, “The deal’s at 11. You better not mess it up. I’m warning you.” 

Maurer was sitting in the stall, scared out of her mind. The men left the bathroom, and Maurer came out and saw a visibly upset young woman who appeared to be in her 30s. 

“Where are you from?” Maurer asked the woman.

“Virginia,” the woman softly replied. 

“Well, what’s your name?”

“Amy.”

Maurer told the young woman that she had a daughter named Amy. The woman instantly panicked and acted like she was trying to get Maurer to be quiet. 

Suddenly, one of the men pounded on the bathroom door and then slightly opened it. 

Terrified, Maurer bolted passed him and out the door. She said four men were standing outside. Maurer never saw the woman again.

In September 2005, the now-defunct website, Hyscience.com, received pictures from a reader, Allen K., who said he found the images on an adult website. Below is one of the photos.

The images were shown on “Dr. Phil” in November 2005. Maurer saw the photos and immediately recognized the woman as the one she saw in the bathroom. She called Bradley’s parents, who then contacted authorities.

Maurer assisted authorities with composite sketches of “Amy” and the men. However, they have yet to find them.

Bradley would have been around 31 years old when Maurer saw her. Bradley was legally declared dead in March 2010.

11 comments

Kevin Furlow April 4, 2021 - 3:38 PM

I think the sailor’s sighting is accurate. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was discovered that traffickers were planted on the ship for the very reason to abduct women. She’d be 47 now, she may have out lived her usefulness in that horrible trade.

Superman 2050 September 25, 2020 - 12:34 PM

It’s possible that she can be in Cuba right now. The police need to search there.

Stacey January 6, 2017 - 4:52 PM

I was shocked when I read this story I feel from my opinion the captain of the ship was involved and alistor Douglas feel captain of the cruise has to be involved in this horrid human trafficking cause anybody’s intial reaction would be to block off all the ship until Amy was found and ring authority’s to come to the ship to do the search aswell . Why would u be thinking of the passengers of disturbing them once the girl was found that was the main priority at that time . Surely the passengers would of understood . And sightings of Amy just shocked me cause there obviously hasn’t been no where getting searched properly to catch these guys doing it . Legal system in everywhere really need to take things more seriously cause it could of been someone close to them .

truecrimediva January 7, 2017 - 12:55 PM

I agree and I like your theory! It certainly can’t be ruled out! Thanks for commenting! 🙂

Coda August 15, 2015 - 1:39 PM

The woman is dead

truecrimediva August 15, 2015 - 2:10 PM

Oh? Got proof?

Melinda February 5, 2017 - 8:27 PM

Rude

Sandy August 6, 2016 - 3:28 AM

I believe she fell off the boat.

truecrimediva August 6, 2016 - 9:53 AM

Normally, I would think that, too, except there were sightings of her after her disappearance, and I believe that it was her.

Anonymous November 26, 2012 - 12:16 AM

It is really interesting that Alistar Yellow douglas has a daughter who is 13 going on 14 because isn't 14 years since Amy Bradley disappeared. And if you look at Jaycee lee Duggard she had opportunity to leave phillip Garrido but she had stockholm syndrome and also 2 children she didn't want to leave behind. So she stayed maybe amy bradley is the same.

tom November 18, 2012 - 4:29 AM

I read about Amy's case in October and i to can't get it off of my mind. I don't think contacting Yellow is going to get anywhere. If he did have something to do with it, I don't think he will confess through Facebook or emails. The case is so frustrating. Let's hope the continued proliferation of social media will make more and more people aware of Amy and hopefully bring her home.

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I've blogged true crime since 2010, happily taking up only a tiny corner of the internet. I'm not here for attention; I'm here to tell you their stories.

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