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Author Topic: Claudia Kirschhoch-NJ Missing in Jamaica- May 2000  (Read 13276 times)
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Nut44x4
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« on: December 06, 2007, 09:34:22 PM »

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9806E5DC1438F93BA35754C0A9669C8B63&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=all

Combing the Beaches for a Missing Daughter; Parents of Queens Travel Editor Find Sympathy and Frustration in Jamaica


In the dying light, the prayers for the missing woman poured out of the hilltop church near Montego Bay, two hours' drive from this beach resort town.

Frederick and Mary Ann Kirschhoch stood up beneath whirring fans. The Moravian congregation was asking God for the safe return of the couple's daughter, Claudia, 29, a travel editor for Frommer's who vanished from Negril around May 27.

Mr. Kirschhoch had grown up with the Moravian church on Staten Island. He knew the hymns by heart. But the Jamaicans sang with an intensity that sounded almost otherworldly to him.

''It was just an outpouring of warmth and comfort and empathy that was overwhelming,'' Mr. Kirschhoch said. ''It's something we'll never forget, no matter what.''

There are few things about Jamaica that these parents from Morristown, N.J., will be able to erase from their memories. This was their second visit in three weeks to help search for their daughter, a resident of Astoria, Queens. They returned to the lush, mountainous island on June 22, even though investigations by the police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and a private detective were coming up empty. (The detective had been hired by Gordon Stewart, the owner of the resort where Ms. Kirschhoch had been staying, and the F.B.I. had sent agents at the request of the Jamaican police.)

Since the first week of June, newspapers, radio stations and television programs have been running reports on the disappearance every few days. Several days before the Kirschhochs arrived, they increased their reward offer for information leading to their daughter's whereabouts, to $25,000 from $6,200; the new amount is about 10 times the average annual income in Jamaica.

[On Tuesday, four days after the Kirschhochs returned home, Mr. Stewart added another $25,000 to the pot. The parents plan to fly back to Jamaica on Wednesday.]

''I have never seen anything like this in Jamaica,'' said Daniel Grizzle, owner of the Charela Inn and chairman of the resort board at the Negril Chamber of Commerce. ''There's never been a search of this magnitude.''

Claudia Kirschhoch arrived in Jamaica on May 24 and stayed at Beaches Negril, part of a 15-hotel Caribbean chain run by Sandals Resorts International, after a trip to Cuba sponsored by Sandals was canceled. She was last seen by Tania Grossinger, a freelance travel writer from New York, at breakfast on May 27. When she did not fly back to New York on June 1 as scheduled, her parents called the hotel. In her room, hotel staff found clothes, luggage, her passport and a wallet with cash and credit cards.

The parents said the only things missing were a blue-striped bathing suit, sunglasses, a portable radio and possibly a notepad. Helicopter and boat searches turned up nothing. The local police said they had no leads.

More than 400 people have been reported missing in Jamaica so far this year, the police said. Most were local teenagers who had run away from home, only to turn up after a few days. Despite being pressed by reporters, police officials said they had no statistics on how many foreign visitors were reported missing, but insisted that the number was low.

The Kirschhochs were methodical in their search. Mr. Kirschhoch, 57, a part-time engineer, approached the task the same way he does when finishing buildings: making a checklist, going through the details, marking off the loose ends one by one.

Mr. and Mrs. Kirschhoch were staying at another Sandals resort in Negril in a room paid for by Mr. Stewart, owner of the Sandals chain. The resort was loud, with partying couples, swim-up bars and blaring reggae, not the kind of place where they would have chosen to spend time.

But this was no vacation, and when Mr. Kirschhoch walked into their room, he opened the tourist brochure and tried to think like his daughter. Where would I go? Whom would I speak with?

He considered her an experienced traveler. She had visited Italy and the Canary Islands, and she had lived for seven months in Paris after graduating from Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va.

''I don't believe that nobody knows anything,'' her father said. Mr. and Mrs. Kirschhoch came because they believed they could describe their daughter to Jamaicans in a way that only parents could. Or maybe people who had information might be more forthcoming with them than with the police.

Mrs. Kirschhoch, 60, a retirement account manager at Honeywell, carried a notebook in which she meticulously recorded their findings. She scribbled questions they wanted to ask hotel workers and other people who had seen their daughter.

Byron Jones was one of those. The young man worked as a lifeguard on a beach that Claudia Kirschhoch might have visited. After her parents tracked him down, he pointed to a far off spot next to a trash bin where he thought he had seen their daughter a month before.

''There was a black lady, a local lady, talking to her,'' he said. ''She told the lady she wanted to go to Westmoreland, maybe to the Black River area.''

''Can you be sure it was her?'' Mr. Kirschhoch asked. His wife held up a flier with two photographs of their daughter and a description: 5 feet 2 inches tall, slim build, long dark brown hair.

Mr. Jones stared ahead, pondering.

''How tall was she?'' Mr. Kirschhoch asked.

''Maybe five-six.''

''Can you remember what day it was?''

''No, mon, I can't remember.''

Most of their mornings, they walked along stretches of the seven-mile white-sand beach and passed out fliers. They believed this did some good. They could not follow up on each of the 377 telephone tips the police had received. Many came from people who called whenever they saw a white woman with a black man. In one instance, a psychic told the police to search caves along the Negril coastline. None of the tips had panned out. (Two toll-free numbers have been set up: (888) 967-9300 in the United States and (888) 991-4000 in Jamaica.)

Sometimes people whom the Kirschhochs met on the beach held their hands and told them how much they felt for them. But after the parents walked away, some people said that the American woman must be dead, or had somehow made her way to Cuba, and that if the search turned up anything, it would be something horrible.

''Somebody must have kidnapped her,'' said Carmen Purchase, a baby sitter. ''Because she's gone so long, then maybe she's dead.''

At night, the Kirschhochs went to the half dozen or so reggae clubs in town, places like Alfred's and Roots Bamboo where bands performed on the beach. Their daughter liked reggae, and maybe someone had seen her. At one concert, the band asked the parents to get on stage and speak to the crowd.

Wherever Mrs. Kirschhoch went, she stared at every young white woman. Was it Claudia? She looked under beach umbrellas. She looked in car windows. Those with tinted glass upset her because she could not tell what was going on behind them.

The Kirschhochs also spent much of their time meeting with newspaper reporters and speaking on radio talk shows. They allowed a production crew from ABC News to follow them around. Mrs. Kirschhoch broke down and cried once while describing her experience with the crew members. ''I feel like I'm traveling around with my kids, which is kind of comforting,'' she said. ''They're Claudia's age.''

But the news media attention also exhausted them. It seemed never-ending. On June 27, they flew from Negril to Kingston, the country's capital, for a news conference arranged by Sandals.

Jamaica depends on its $1 billion-a-year tourism industry for more than half of its foreign exchange earnings, so some people were sensitive about news reports on missing travelers.

The police tried to sound optimistic. Two officers at the news conference said they had a ''95 percent feeling'' that Ms. Kirschhoch was still alive.

Half an hour into the conference, Leo Lambert, a Sandals spokesman, suggested to reporters that the missing woman might have had an adventurous spirit. He said that she had admitted to Ms. Grossinger, her fellow guest, that she smoked marijuana, went skinny-dipping and had gone out one night with a hotel bartender. The statement took her parents by surprise. (Ms. Grossinger declined to comment on Mr. Lambert's statement because of the continuing investigation.)

Mr. Stewart, the owner of Sandals, later removed Mr. Lambert as spokesman in the case and called the parents to apologize. But at the conference, the Kirschhochs had to face the journalists.

A reporter from a Jamaican newspaper asked Mr. Kirschhoch whether his daughter had ''social problems.'' Another asked whether she was ''loose.''

''I think Mary Ann and I know our daughter better than anybody,'' Mr. Kirschhoch said. ''Those things are not like her. They're not true. They're absolutely not true.''

As photographers clicked away, he stood at the lectern, seething. Just the day before, he had chewed out an editor of The Sunday Herald over the phone. The Jamaican tabloid had run a front-page headline saying that Claudia Kirschhoch ''broke loose'' on the island.

That was the phrase Jamaicans used to describe how young tourists, mostly North Americans, sometimes came here to drop out of society. In the 1970's, Negril drew American hippies looking for surf, spirituality and drugs. . Many Jamaicans spoke of foreign women who went into the hills to live with Rastafarians, and they believed Ms. Kirschhoch might be among them.

Indeed, the police said, one Australian woman had come down from the hills after hearing of the Kirschhochs' search and said she was going to call her own parents, who apparently had no idea where she was.

''A lot of people here have a very romantic notion that Claudia just came over here and dropped out,'' Mrs. Kirschhoch said one morning on the beach. ''That's not the Claudia I know. But that would be the best scenario for them. And for us too, I guess.''

After the news conference, the Kirschhochs boarded a small propeller plane bound for Negril. The entire flight, they stared out the window at the mist and undulating hills. The island looked much larger than it did on any map, and the canopy of trees seemed dense enough to hide a lot of things for a very long time.


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« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2007, 09:37:33 PM »

http://www.unsolved.com/0140-Kirschhoch.html

SYNOPSIS: Claudia Kirschhoch, who would now be 30 years old, was a last-minute replacement on a travel junket to Sandals' new resort in Havana. Claudia arrived with three other travel writers in Montego Bay, Jamaica, on the morning of May 24, 2000. Travel writer Tania Grossinger said that soon after arriving, the writers received word that they wouldn't be traveling to Cuba. With the trip to Cuba scratched, the writers were basically stranded on the island because flights back to New York were booked through June 1. On May 25, Claudia and Tania were sent to the Sandals resort in Negril. Tania said she and Claudia had meals together and talked over drinks in the evenings. Claudia also made friends with resort bartender Anthony Grant. Claudia told Tania that she and Grant had gone out dancing.
READ the rest at link above

I will look at this some more tomorrow and over the weekend...there seem to be tons of links on Google...even one that mentions her in regards to Natalee.
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« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2007, 09:38:43 PM »

Natalee-Like Case, 5 Years Laterhttp://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/08/02/earlyshow/main713376.shtml
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« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2007, 11:50:51 AM »

http://findclaudia.homestead.com/

Help Find Claudia
This site's mission is dedicated to the safe return of Claudia Kirschhoch who disappeared from Jamaica on May 27th, 2000.
The Scotsman
Salon Article
Claudia is 5'2'' and of slight build , with long dark brown hair, brown eyes, and fair skin. If you know anything about her whereabouts, call (973) 267-1499

Please look at the link above
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« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2007, 11:57:14 AM »

We even had a front page post in September of this year....

http://scaredmonkeys.com/2007/09/28/no-problem-mon-sex-trafficking-rampant-in-jamaica-demand-report-on-the-business-of-sex-trafficking-tourism/
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« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2007, 12:00:45 PM »

http://journal.amanita.net/2003/01/11/claudia-kirschhoch/

Claudia Kirschhoch, an assistant editor for Frommer’s Travel Guides, went on a Sandals Resort press trip with a group of journalists on May 24, 2000. The itinerary was originally New York City to Cuba by way of Montego Bay, Jamaica. The American journalists were unexpectedly denied entry into Cuba. Because all return flights to New York were full, Claudia stayed on in Jamaica, at Sandals’ Beaches Negril, expecting to depart on her scheduled return flight to New York on June 1, 2000. The last confirmed sighting of Claudia was at the resort on Saturday, May 27, 2000. Her luggage, purse, passport, cash, credit cards, and camera were found in her room. Claudia was 29 years old at the time of her disappearance.

LINK COMMENTS>>>>
Laurel Bade
 March 26th, 2003 at 11:17 pm 1

I have followed this story for quite some time, looking for new information on Claudia’s disappearance. I was in Negril at the time they finally let the sniffing dog on the island. The local news showed the dog sniffing all along Negril Beach, and then sniffing and barking in the trunk of an automobile said to belong to the bartender she had gone to Alfred’s with the night before her disappearance. She was said to have been last seen by Sandals staff in a blue bikini with a white button shirt and a transistor radio around eleven a.m.
I asked all my friends and acquaintances if they knew anything and they said they could only speculate. Claudia was a pretty girl, and tiny. Perhaps someone slipped something in a drink and she had a bad reaction. One friend said maybe it had something to do with Cuba. There were a few shaky reports of white tourist trade among rich gangsters on the island.I got frightened, and changed my flight to come home early. Everyone was dissappointed, and tourism took a beating for a while.
Meanwhile, I kept researching. One friend called six months later saying Claudia was seen in a neighborhood in Kingston where there are no streets, just poor people. She was reported to have been dazed and unaware her own identity. I do not believe this ,because of the great reward that was offered for information leading to her whereabouts.
~~~~~~~~
Michelle
 May 6th, 2003 at 1:20 am 2

Claudia is my cousin … there have been no recent developments. It’s hard to keep hope alive. I just pray that someone finds something, anything. Closure is needed so terribly. Her parents have been through so much. If anyone knows anything. PLEASE contact the police or the FBI.

Michelle






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« Reply #6 on: December 07, 2007, 06:58:11 PM »

They hyscience site where an alleged Amy Bradley ( as pictured on the Dr Phil show) was seen in compromising positions apparently an escort on Isla de Margarita, there was also another young woman pictured, then blond, who very closely resembled Claudia IMO. Does anyone else recall the photo? or has saved the link? the girls name was "Toni".
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« Reply #7 on: December 07, 2007, 08:30:19 PM »

They hyscience site where an alleged Amy Bradley ( as pictured on the Dr Phil show) was seen in compromising positions apparently an escort on Isla de Margarita, there was also another young woman pictured, then blond, who very closely resembled Claudia IMO. Does anyone else recall the photo? or has saved the link? the girls name was "Toni".



mmmmmm...I think I know what photo you mean. I do not have it though, and I can't remember where I saw it.
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« Reply #8 on: June 21, 2009, 11:24:45 PM »

http://www.charleyproject.org/cases/k/kirschhoch_claudia.html



http://www.charleyproject.org/index.html
The Charley Project profiles over 7,000 "cold case" missing people mainly from the United States and links to over 500 missing person related websites. It does not actively investigate cases; it is merely a publicity vehicle for missing people who are often neglected by the press and forgotten all too soon. The Charley Project is perpetually under construction and should get more features as time passes.



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