This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," August 23, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.
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SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Last month a Connecticut groom vanished on the Mediterranean Sea. Now authorities are investigating whether 26-year-old George Smith IV (search) was the victim of foul play. They found bloodstains from the balcony of Smith's cabin, the lifeboats, and they also found a handprint on the side of the ship.
So what are other passengers telling authorities about what took place that night?
Joining us now is Walter Zalisko. He was a passenger on that ship, and he's also the chief of police in Oak Hill, Florida.
Chief, thank you for being with us. Your perspective, I think, is particularly keen here, because one of the problems is the evidence seems to — some of it seems to be washed away very quickly and people got off that ship without being questioned. And from your perspective, you were there, and with your background, do you think it was handled properly?
WALTER ZALISKO, CRUISE SHIP PASSENGER: Well, no, I don't. That's the ironic part of it. What we've seen and what we've already reported is that the FBI (search) had come in rather late into this investigation, two days later.
What was occurring on the day the incident occurred was that you had the ship's crew already in the morning attempting to clean up the blood splatter on the lifeboat overhang. We had a number of people going in and out of that room. So thereby they're contaminating that crime scene, as well as sanitizing the entire area.
So that's not a logical way of conducting any kind of crime scene investigation.
HANNITY: What does your gut tell you, based on, as you watch this case unfold — and I also understand that you knew that Mr. Smith was on the ship bragging that he had $50,000 with him?
ZALISKO: That's correct. All the reports have come back, and it has been determined that Mr. Smith was, you know, mentioning to people that he was associating with that he had received a substantial amount of money from his wedding and that he had $50,000 of that money on the ship with him, for whatever purpose, for the gambling or on excursions.
HANNITY: If we look at the three people that — remember, there was another retired police officer in the cabin adjacent to Mr. Smith.
HANNITY: He had heard this thud. First he had heard some arguing; then he heard a thud. Then he looked in the hall, and he saw these three individuals leaving. In your mind, do you think you've been able to piece together, based on what you're saying about the money, what you think may have happened?
ZALISKO: Well, you know, what a good investigator would be doing in this case is looking at all the pieces that we've been receiving from the media and from witnesses.
You have the three individuals in the room with Mr. Smith. You have an altercation. You had Mr. Hyman reporting that there was, like, something like furniture moving. That would indicate a struggle of some type. Then you hear the thud and then you hear the individual — then he sees the individuals leaving the room.
What's also important is that you — people have reported they heard like closet doors and drawers being opened and closed and slammed. Now, why would George be doing that? The only indication is that you possibly had people searching for that money there.
ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Chief, it's Alan Colmes. Let me ask you, we showed where the blood was. We showed a shot of that. And you've indicated that you'd have to know how to get to that ledge. That's not something the average passenger would know how to get to. Is that correct?
ZALISKO: That's correct. If you look at that photo closely, there was one shot at one time where there's a clear footprint visible on that photo. That would indicate that somebody was standing there. We don't know if that was Mr. Smith's footprint, which I highly doubt, because it would appear that there was a thud. My theory was he was already unconscious when he hit that canopy.
COLMES: Are you saying a crew member would have had to be involved here, because that's not where an average passenger would go on the ship?
ZALISKO: Well, that would lead, you know, a good investigator to follow that it was a crew member that was involved with that. Because to get to that canopy, you would have had to have gone down two floors and then know where the access ladder was to climb up onto that canopy.
HANNITY: Walter, thanks for your expertise. Thanks for joining us tonight. We thank you.
ZALISKO: Thank you for having me.
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