Update: Family of woman that went overboard on cruise believes she jumped

December 29, 2008

(ChattahBox) — The family of Jennifer Ellis-Seitz, the women that went overboard on a luxury cruise ship near Cancun have made a statement. Seitz and her husband, Raymond, were celebrating their one-year anniversary on the Norwegian Pearl cruise ship. Seitz’s mother joined her daughter and son-in-law on the cruise. A surveillance camera showed someone falling overboard wearing a white bathrobe at 8 p.m. Christmas night, authorities said. About eight hours later, Raymond Seitz reported his wife missing.  The family of Jennifer Ellis Seitz, a Florida journalist, said Monday that they suspect the woman “chose an unfortunate ending to her life” and jumped from a cruise ship balcony.

Seitz had “previous emotional issues,” yet there were no outward signs of distress while on the seven-night cruise from Miami, her family said in a statement given to one of her former employers, The News Chief in Winter Haven.

“Jennifer was in a very happy and uplifted mood both before and during the cruise,” the Ellis family said in the statement. “She was excited about starting a new job and her future career with a local newspaper. She and her husband had been talking about starting their family. The family suspects that Jennifer chose an unfortunate ending to her life. She was a beautiful and caring person and will be truly missed by all who love her.”

It’s a strange admission because the circumstances are a bit suspicious and the FBI is still collecting evidence and treating this as an ongoing investigation. The couple met in a weight loss support group; both had undergone bariatric surgery. She chronicled her weight loss journey for an Orlando TV station and was also a freelance writer. Raymond Seitz was arrested in April on a charge of domestic violence-battery after being accused of head-butting his wife. The charge was dropped after he entered a pretrial diversion program and records show that she asked the prosecutor not to pursue the case.

A fellow passenger on the ship, Jim Nestor, told NBC’s Today show that Seitz and her new husband stood out on the ship with “large and raw personalities.” They stood out a lot more than other people,” Nestor, a retired police officer, told NBC. Nestor, who appeared on the game show with his own wife, said he ran into Raymond Seitz day after his wife was reported missing. “I had given him my condolences, and he had a plastic bag filled with quarters, and he said to me that he was going to the casino to see if he could change his luck,” Nestor said. The husband, Raymond Seitz has not been charged with any crime, authorities said Monday.

Information from The Associated Press and the “Today” show was used in this report.

Update: The families mention of Jennifer Ellis-Seitz’s ‘serious emotional issues’ have been further explained and are presumed to be a factor in her disappearance early Friday morning. The missing womans brother says:

“She was recently, within the last few years, diagnosed as bipolar.”


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