"48 HOURS MYSTERY" HAS NEVER-BEFORE-SEEN INTERROGATION VIDEOTAPE IN THE CRUISE SHIP DISAPPEARANCE OF HONEYMOONER GEORGE SMITH -- SATURDAY, APRIL 8
Tape Shows Turkish Authorities Questioning the Young Men Last Seen with Smith
Ever since honeymooner George Smith vanished under mysterious circumstances from the cruise ship Brilliance of the Seas, suspicion has been focused on four young men seen with Smith in the hours before he disappeared. Now, the father of one of those men -- Dr. Jerry Askin, father of Josh Askin, a college student from California -- is breaking his silence on the case in an exclusive interview with 48 HOURS MYSTERY. Dr. Askin was an eyewitness as his son and the others were interrogated by Turkish authorities. He shares details of his family's strange and frightening ordeal in an interview on 48 HOURS MYSTERY with special correspondent Hannah Storm, from THE EARLY SHOW. 48 HOURS MYSTERY: "Love Lost," will be broadcast Saturday, April 8 (10:00-11:00PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
48 HOURS MYSTERY has also obtained never-before-seen videotape of Turkish authorities questioning the young men on board the ship shot by Dr. Askin. In the exclusive tape, the boys recount their final moments with Smith. They tell the Turkish police that they escorted a drunken Smith back to his cabin and left him on his bed, saying, "End of story, end of story, that was it. Never saw him again." The young men also told Turkish authorities Smith's wife, Jennifer Hagel Smith, was nowhere to be found.
The videotape also provides a revealing look at one of the young men, Rusty Kofman, who expresses shock when he's told that blood was found on the ship's overhang. Kofman's jaw drops when he is told the news. He says, "No�oh my God. That's crazy."
While watching the videotape, Storm comments to Dr. Askin, "[Rusty] looks absolutely shocked by this."
"I believe he was," replies Dr. Askin.
Dr. Askin tells Storm the young men were questioned a second time at a Turkish police station. Dr. Askin provided 48 HOURS with a videotape of Josh's second interrogation. When Josh believes Turkish authorities might suspect Smith's wife in his disappearance, Josh tells police, "She has no idea what happened.�I'm not letting her go to jail." Josh then insists that investigators interview a casino manager, Lloyd Botha. Some say Botha was one of the last people to be seen with Jennifer before she was discovered slumped over in a ship's corridor. Ship personnel found her right about the time her husband is believed to have gone overboard.
Dr. Askin was also one of the first people to speak to Jennifer immediately after she was told that her husband of 10 days was presumed overboard. Dr. Askin tells Storm that when he asked Jennifer to explain what had happened that night, she said, "I just�I can't remember." He adds, "It was almost like her mind went blank."
Nine months after George Smith vanished, there have been no arrests. Was he murdered or was it a terrible accident? 48 HOURS MYSTERY constructs the timeline of events leading up to Smith's disappearance and examines the possible scenarios.
48 HOURS MYSTERY: "Love Lost" is produced by Clare Friedland, Mary Noonan Robichaux, Marc Goldbaum, and Liza Finley. The senior producer is Judy Tygard, the executive editor is Al Briganti, and the executive producer is Susan Zirinsky.