The girl could not keep her promise; she could not call her parents on the 22nd of March 2011 because from that very day she was never heard again. The girl was Rebecca Coriam, a British crewmember on the cruise ship Disney Wonder. She went missing from the ship. How can one simply vanish into thin air? Her disappearance from the ship still remains an unsolved mystery. Nobody knows if that was a murder, suicide or something else.
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Who is Rebecca?
Rebecca Coriam was born on 11th March 1987 in England. Her nickname was Bex. She was brought up in Chester
with her two foster brothers and sister Rachael. She attended Chester Catholic High School. The animal lover Bex used to spend time working at the Chester Zoo. According to her parents( Michael and Ann Coriam), Rebecca was a bubbly fun-loving girl who loved children, animals, and sports. Rebecca joined the British Army Cadets in her teenage and took admission at Plymouth University to study sports science. She also studied childhood or youth studies from Liverpool Hope University. Bex wanted to explore the world outside her world. She worked at Camp America in New York and Maine for four months. But finally, in 2010, she got the perfect job which would allow her to quench her thirst for adventure and traveling. She was ready to start a new life on the Disney Cruise Ships. After completing the training there, she spent four months visiting many ports in the Bahamas. Life was very kind to her. Then she returned to the UK to spend the vacation of two months with her family.
She enjoyed every moment. She used to make people laugh wearing the funny monkey cap which her mother bought for her. Finally, her vacation came to an end and she had to return back to her job. But that journey was not easy. Many flights got canceled that day because of the bad weather, the flight Rebecca took returned to the airport shortly after its take-off. Another plane landed her in Dublin; she waited there for hours before finally making her way to America. Maybe all these incidents were the signs that were asking her not to go. This time she started working with Disney Wonder Cruise ship. When her grandfather passed away, Bex came home for two weeks. It was the last time her parents saw her. On 21st March 2011, she texted her Parents from the ship that she would call them the next day but she didn’t.
The next day (22nd March 2011) Rebecca did not call her parents. They thought that she was busy. However her friends, colleagues started to find her when she failed to report for the duty at 9 o’clock in the morning. A member of Disney Wonder Cruise decided to check the CCTV footage. At 5:45 a.m. Rebecca was seen talking on one of the
internal phones of the ship. She was clearly distressed. A young man asked her if she was alright or not. She responded with a nod that suggested ‘yeah, fine’. Then she walked away putting her hands in the back pockets. That was all. But another crew member said that Bex had gone overboard at 3 a.m. The crew couldn’t find her anywhere and decided to sound the alarm to alert the captain. The captain notified the Bahamas Maritime Authority, the FBI, the US Coast Guard, and the Royal Bahamas Police Force about the incident. The Mexican Navy also came to
the places to search for Bex.
Investigation to solve the mystery
As Disney Wonder was registered in the Bahamas, a detective from the Royal Bahamas Police Force named Supt Paul Rolle was given the duty to investigate into the case. The parents of the 24 years old British woman also came there and met the detective. When a reporter went to collect news from the crew members, one said that
Disney knew exactly what happened and there were CCTVs everywhere. But Disney never disclosed anything and did not show all the footage saying it was for the security. Some of the crewmembers also said that she might have fallen from the ship.
Melissa, a friend of Bex said that someone kept flowers on the wall where a pair of pink flowery flip-flops was found (near Deck 5) in memory of Rebecca. But those slippers were big in size and had the name of someone else on aside. Clearly those were not Rebecca’s flip-flops. According to the Coriams, the detective was not putting much effort into the case and Disney was trying to prove that Rebecca committed suicide. These made the family angry and they were not ready to believe that their daughter could take her own life. Because they knew that Rebecca was so
happy at that time that she planned to visit Disneyland in Paris with her family.
Theories or speculations –What might have happened to her?
a) As the Coriams lost faith in Disney Wonder and the Bahamian Police Force, they appointed a private detective. That detective suggested that Bex was a victim of violent sexual assault. She seemed disturbed in the footage. Maybe she had a fight with someone and had to put on men’s pajamas. And the pair of shorts which was given to Bex’s parents were also torn. If she was really sexually assaulted, someone might have murdered her to keep that a secret or she herself took her life because of the incident.
b) The footage of Bex had no date and time and it showed that Bex was on Deck 1, not 5. The footage had been edited later. Nobody knew what Disney was trying to cover up.
c) The captain believed that Rebecca slipped from Deck no. 5 when a strong wave hit the ship. But Jon Ronson, a famous journalist said Bex did not fall from there because there was a wall made of steel which would have blocked her.
d) Melissa told Ronson that Rebecca was in a relationship from which she wanted to take a break. She believed her friend was on the phone with that person only. Melissa thought that Rebecca climbed over the ledge, she slipped and fell from there.
e) A deck worker said that Coriam went overboard from the crew pool on Deck no.5. But it was impossible because there was a steel wall around the railings( and it was visible from Deck 10). Ronson once thought that Rebecca fell from the ship while jogging on Deck 4. There were many theories, many Speculations but none knew the truth.
Another side of Rebecca’s life
After six years of silence, Tracie Medley claimed that she was in a relationship with Bex. Bex was upset because of her(Tracie’s) lack of seriousness towards her and she thought her family was ashamed that she was a lesbian. “She once mentioned how her sister was embarrassed by the new friends she started to hang out with”. Rebecca (Bex) used cocaine and had spoken of committing suicide several times before. The night before the disappearance, Tracie, her boyfriend, and Rebecca were drunk and had a threesome. But the Coriams did not believe that their daughter used to take drugs and they said that they would not comment on Tracie’s claims.
Hope Against Hope
Disney Cruise line said, “Our hearts go out to Corians. We’ve shared everything we can”. Fundraising events and a candlelight vigil were held at Liverpool Hope University (in 2011 )where Rebecca studied. In April 2016 the Coriams and Disney Wonder had settled the case. They settled it outside the court. But the fight was not over.
In 2011, the Coriam family came to know that password of Rebecca’s Facebook had been changed. It meant someone else Knew her password or she herself changed it. Her father got an email from a woman who claimed that she saw Rebecca in Venice with a dark-haired man(5months after her disappearance ). But she was 85% sure that it was Rebecca. On the other hand, Rebecca’s mother received an email from the bank which stated that somebody recently used her daughter’s credit card. Her parents didn’t know if she was alive or not but they wanted to do something in memory of Rebecca. The Coriams organized a programme in September 2015 in a park where they invited people who knew the girl during her lifetime. The family planted trees and commissioned engraved benches in honor of Bex.
However, more than 168 cruise ship members and passengers went missing at sea since 1995. We never get to know what happened to them.