James Scavone: Missing Since 1999 from Cruise Ship

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MIAMI — James Scavone, 22, had recently graduated from Western Connecticut State University with a bachelor’s degree in economics. His parents gifted him $2,000, and he decided to use some of it on a seven-day Caribbean cruise.

The group departed Miami on Sunday, July 4, 1999, about Carnival Cruise Line’s ship, Destiny, a massive ship the size of three football fields that could hold 3,000 passengers. Joining Scavone on the cruise was his best friend, Jeff Simeone, 12 members of Simeone’s family, and some friends, including Alfred Rose and Jesse Brissette.

In the early morning of July 5, 1999, in international waters between Miami and San Juan, Puerto Rico, Scavone vanished from the ship. 

Around midnight, Scavone and his friends had been enjoying a few drinks at the ship’s disco on the fifth deck. According to his friends, Scavone felt sick thirty minutes later and departed to his cabin. He planned to stop at a restroom on his way.

Someone might have spiked his drink. 

When his friends returned to the cabin at 3:00 a.m., they assumed Scavone had met someone and would return in the morning. 

Yes, that would be a typical assumption at 3 a.m. Scavone said he did not feel good and was heading back to his room after stopping at the restroom. Well, that’s the story the group gave anyway.

By 10:00 a.m., Scavone still had not returned, so the friends went to the ship’s authorities to have him paged. He never answered.

Scavone was still missing by 10:00 p.m. and after a thorough cabin-to-cabin search by crew members.

Scavone’s mother asked for the itemized bill from her son’s sail card a few weeks later. Scavone had not gone anywhere or purchased anything after leaving the disco, and he never reentered his cabin.

In 2006, after viewing James’ case on the television show, Primetime, a woman recognized James as the person who went missing from the Destiny cruise ship that she was also on July 5, 1999. 

The woman told James’ family that her cabin phone rang on the morning of July 5, 1999, and she heard a young man on the other end say, “Help me, I can’t get out of here.” Then she heard a scream, what sounded like furniture thrown around the room, and scuffling. The phone went dead after that.

The ship authorities and the FBI interviewed the woman. She said that later in the week, she asked about Scavone. The ship authorities told her he had been engaged before the trip, but his fiancee had broken up, so he probably committed suicide.


According to the woman, this is a complete lie. She contacted Carnival Cruise’s corporate offices after the trip in the hope of being able to reach James’ family. Carnival Cruise told her they had no record of anyone disappearing from the “Destiny” on July 5, 1999.

Cover-up, anyone?

To this day, James remains missing, and the FBI does not suspect foul play in his disappearance. 

They should not call themselves law enforcement officials. What a disgrace!

There have been no recent updates on Scavone’s case.

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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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