This is a rush transcript from "On the Record ," May 14, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: Now to a growing mystery that is spreading from the waters off the coast of New Jersey all the way to Bermuda. Mother of two Mindy Jordan fell from a cruise ship into the Atlantic Ocean on Sunday night. It was Mother's Day. Her boyfriend, Jorge Caputo, was with her on the cruise. The cruise line says Mindy may have fallen while climbing from one balcony to another on the outside of the ship, but Mindy's family is not convinced. They suspect foul play, and the FBI is now investigating the case. In a moment, Mindy's sister will tell us what she thinks happened and exactly what she thinks of Mindy's boyfriend.
But first, there is breaking news in the investigation tonight. The cruise lines says they do have surveillance tape from the night Mindy vanished that could completely change the case.
Claudia Gomez, reporter for WTXF, joins us live from Philadelphia. Claudia, what is this the surveillance videotape that the ship -- that the cruise line has?
CLAUDIA GOMEZ, WTXF: Well, Greta, we got the information just within the past couple of hours, and it provides a pretty specific timeline, actually. It says that it had cameras in the hallway and also on the exterior side of the ship. It says that the couple returned from dinner just before 7:30. About eight minutes later, the cruise line says, he left their stateroom to go next door to his friends, who they were traveling with.
Seventeen minutes after that, the cruise line reports that a surveillance camera caught Mindy falling overboard, straight into the water. That's the quote from the cruise line, "straight into the water." Right after that, an emergency call was made from the stateroom right next door, where Jorge and his friends were. Four minutes later, they launched the search, declaring a man overboard.
This is the first complete accounting we're actually getting from Norwegian Cruise Lines. We have been pretty much hounding them the past couple of days to get a more complete accounting. They have not exactly been forthcoming until about 8:00 o'clock tonight. The family will tell you that, certainly. Probably a lot of reporters on this case will tell you that, as well. But finally, they seem to be providing somewhat of an accounting of what happened.
No doubt, the two FBI agents who met the ship this morning in Bermuda have taken a look at that surveillance tape. Family wants to wait until the FBI reports back to them. They say that this statement from the cruise line still isn't quite enough from them. They say that the statement is missing witness accounts of what happened. They still don't know exactly how she fell off that balcony. They want more answers, at this point.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Just to clarify, the description you've given of the videotape is a description from the cruise line. I mean...
VAN SUSTEREN: ... You haven't seen it. The FBI hasn't seen it. The family hasn't seen it. It's just very early on. This is what the cruise line says happened. And I mean, we have no reason to distrust it, but at least nobody else has seen this, right?
GOMEZ: To the best of our knowledge. I'm presuming when the FBI went on board that ship today that the cruise line would have cooperated with that investigation, as they say in a press release. Presumably, the FBI agents have seen that surveillance tape right now. And the FBI has said from the get-go that they don't know that any crime happened, that they want to find out for themselves exactly what happened, so -- the family is waiting to hear back from the FBI now on what exactly happened.
I think there's also our larger issue quickly to address here. If this does turn out to be an unfortunate accident, there are still some questions about why it took so long for the cruise line to call the family, why it took so long for this woman's boyfriend, Mindy Jordan's boyfriend, to call the family. It took him about 15 hours to call her mother to say an accident had happened. The cruise line in all that time didn't call the family.
A lot of cruise lines -- in fact, I think almost all cruise lines -- don't have any kind of independent police organization on board their ships. They have their security firms, which, of course, are beholden to the cruise lines. So trying to get any independent information is next to impossible. When the FBI got on this case, it was two-and-a-half days after she disappeared. So it is a cold scene.
VAN SUSTEREN: But I guess we should add, though, that the surveillance video has her going over at 7:53, and four minutes later, the cruise line is making an announcement and trying to search immediately. So four minutes, so we'll give them -- they may not have notified the family, but it seems like they pretty quickly tried to rescue.
GOMEZ: Yes. Yes, absolutely.
VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you.
GOMEZ: Sure thing.
VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you. Mindy's family, of course, is not totally convinced it was an accident. And why is Mindy's family suspicious? Mindy Jordan's sister, Julie August, joins us live on the phone. Julie, you know, I never know what to say to a family member in these instances. They're just horrible tragedies, and I can only imagine the pain you and your family have tonight.
JULIE AUGUST, MINDY JORDAN'S SISTER: Thank you. Yes, I mean, it's certainly -- I think we're all still in a state of shock. I mean, no one - - you can't prepare yourself for something like this, certainly.
VAN SUSTEREN: Do you -- are you satisfied with the news that the Norwegian cruise ship says happened, this timeline with the tape, or do you want to investigate further? And frankly, I would want to investigate further, just so that I knew for certain.
AUGUST: Yes, I definitely agree. I would certainly like to -- you know, a further investigation. I'd like to hear what the FBI might have to say. Obviously, if -- you know, all evidence will show that, you know, she did, indeed, just simply have an accident, you know, we're fully prepared to accept that. You know, our wish from the beginning was that, OK, we don't just take, you know, this guy's, you know, word for it, that we did want as much investigation as possible.
VAN SUSTEREN: Now, you say "this guy." Is that the boyfriend you're referring to?
AUGUST: Yes, it is.
VAN SUSTEREN: What do you know about him?
AUGUST: Not at all. We don't -- I don't know him well. I've only met him a few times myself. But he has a history with my sister, and that is what concerns us most at this time.
VAN SUSTEREN: History -- what do you mean by "history?
AUGUST: He has a history of abuse against my sister.
VAN SUSTEREN: Anything as far as, you know, hospitalizations, arrests or...
VAN SUSTEREN: There have been hospitalizations?
AUGUST: She has been hospitalized. She actually -- as a result of a beating to the face she received from him, she had to have subsequent surgery. Basically, she broke part of her nose and broke her eye socket. And when they did go in to do the surgery, they did do some repair, but it was never going to be fully repaired. She would have always had breathing problems on that side.
VAN SUSTEREN: Did he deny that he did that, or is it sort of an accepted thing within the family, I mean, that he did this?
AUGUST: It's pretty accepted. There were witnesses at the time, but nobody wanted to come forward. So unfortunately, a police report was never made.
VAN SUSTEREN: And then she got back together with him, or she took him back? Is that the story?
AUGUST: I think it was (INAUDIBLE) She didn't take him back right away, but then he kind of, you know, wormed his way back in, as is very common. He was, you know, apparently very charming to her, and, you know, I'll never do this again, and, you know, You need me, and, you know, very, very common in these situations. And you know, it was (INAUDIBLE) she broke up with -- she would leave, and then, you know, she would get back with him. So it was kind of on and off after that.
VAN SUSTEREN: Do you know if she'd been drinking or if she was depressed or anything before that -- at dinner that night?
AUGUST: Not that I'm aware of. I couldn't tell you if she had a drink with dinner. I can tell you that she spoke with my mother on the way to the ship, so this would have been, you know, an hour or so, perhaps, before the ship set sail. And she was completely sober and quite happy.
They were actually on -- taking this trip with another couple that they were friends with. And this particular friend had -- was suffering from some type of severe illness. I'm not sure what. And that was the reason for the trip, to give this woman, you know, some time in the sun to relax. So she was very happy to be able to do this for her friend and very happy to be going.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, we'll continue to follow it. If anything new breaks, I hope you'll tell us, and we will tell you what we learn, as well. Julie, thank you.
AUGUST: Absolutely. Thank you.
VAN SUSTEREN: Steve Brandt and Barbara Matthews are neighbors of Mindy Jordan and Jorge Caputo. Earlier, they spoke to an "On the Record" producer, Jeff Miller (ph).
JEFF MILLER, FOX PRODUCER: You obviously heard the story of what happened...
STEVE BRANDT, MINDY JORDAN'S NEIGHBOR: Yes.
MILLER: ... To Mindy. What -- what do you make of that?
BRANDT: Right now, until -- you know, until the investigation is done, it's just allegations, as far as I know, and so -- until everything comes out. But as far as I can see right now, it's an accident.
MILLER: Thinking back now about Jorge and Mindy, anything that may be crossing through your mind that maybe it wasn't an accident?
BRANDT: No, not -- not -- no, not to me. I don't know all the facts that are going to be dug up in the investigation, but as of the way I see it, it's just an accident.
MILLER: What was they like as neighbors?
BRANDT: (INAUDIBLE) friendly, quiet. Never heard nothing. I know he liked the Eagles, but -- and he liked to, you know, spend weekends down at the shore, but that's about it.
MILLER: I think we heard what the neighbors said about over the summer, about possibly seeing, you know, marks on her (INAUDIBLE) Well, what do you know about that?
BRANDT: I found out from a -- you know, from a reporter about the alleged abuse. Personally, I've never seen nothing, and I was told from another neighbor that, you know, she spotted her at the pool all summer long and never seen anything wrong with her.
MILLER: What's he like as a person, Jorge?
BRANDT: Pretty much friendly. I remember gardening last year and he asked me if I wanted to come in, you know, but besides -- you know, pretty much friendly.
MILLER: Ever seen any -- a side to him, you know, when he was, like, alone by himself, any sort of rage (ph) or anything like that?
BRANDT: No. Basically, our relationship was pretty much as I'm coming and going out of my house, I'd see him, How're you doing? You know, maybe complaining about the association, why the leaves ain't picked up and stuff ain't being done and we're paying this money for what, you know, stuff like that.
MILLER: Barbara, when was the last time you saw Mindy and Jorge?
BARBARA MATTHEWS, MINDY JORDAN'S NEIGHBOR: I saw Jorge on Sunday morning. He introduced me to the couple they were going on the cruise with, told me that they were going on a cruise to Bermuda and would I keep an eye on the kid. Well, I said, The kids? Because his daughter that lives here with him is 23 years old. And so he said, yes, if they have any wild parties or anything like that, just make sure you tell them to cool it. And I said, Oh, hey, if they have any wild parties, I'll just go join them.
MILLER: And how would you describe their relationship?
MATTHEWS: Just normal, very -- very nice. Seemed to be very devoted to each other and happy.
MILLER: Ever see any sort of...
MATTHEWS: Nothing sinister in any way, shape or form. Absolutely nothing.
MILLER: Just a very loving couple.
MATTHEWS: Well, I mean, they weren't out here mushing around or anything like -- but they were just normal and seemed to be very devoted to each other.
MILLER: When you heard the news of what happened, what did you -- I guess, kind of, what went through your head when you heard that?
MATTHEWS: Shock and sadness that, you know, we're probably not going to see Mindy again.
VAN SUSTEREN: Coming up, more about the disappearance of Mindy Jordan. Mindy's ill-fated cruise was going to Bermuda The ship arrived today without Mindy, and FBI agents were there to meet it. What did they find? We go live to Bermuda next.
VAN SUSTEREN: Our FBI is investigating the Mother's Day disappearance of Mindy Jordan. She disappeared from a cruise ship off the coast of New Jersey. Now, the cruise ship docked in Bermuda earlier today, and the FBI was there to meet it.
Joining us live from Bermuda with the very latest is Tari Trott, reporter for "The Royal Gazette" in Bermuda Tari, was everyone waiting on the dock for this ship to come in, and everyone -- at least, people in Bermuda knew that this terrible tragedy that occurred?
TARI TROTT, ROYAL GAZETTE: Hi, Greta. That's correct. The media from the U.S. was here. As far as the FBI agents, they didn't arrive until later.
VAN SUSTEREN: Is the ship still -- is it in St. George's, or is it in Hamilton? Where did they dock this?
TROTT: It docked in Dockyard at King's Wharf, and it will be there until Friday.
VAN SUSTEREN: And what -- is that the normal schedule, or is there -- is it being held a little bit longer so the FBI can get on board and look at this?
TROTT: Actually, from what I'm told, it's the normal cruise ship schedule for the Norwegian Dawn. So at this point, there's no indication that it'll -- it's being held any longer than necessary.
VAN SUSTEREN: Do you...
VAN SUSTEREN: Go ahead.
TROTT: I was going to say, at last check, we weren't able to confirm if the FBI agents that boarded the ship had disembarked or even completed their interviewing.
VAN SUSTEREN: So you have no idea if the FBI have gone on and secured the tapes because the tapes in the inner part of the ship and the exterior may be very important to this. So you have no idea whether that's been done yet.
TROTT: That's correct. We can't get any confirmation on that.
VAN SUSTEREN: Now, when a ship docks in Bermuda, all the passengers get off and it's quite exciting, quite fun. Is there sort of a damper on the cruise, or have people sort of risen above this horrible tragedy that's at least happened to one family?
TROTT: From all accounts today, certainly, people have expressed that they feel it's a tragedy, especially since it happened on Mother's Day. However, it's clear that people are going about their business, and it's certainly not causing a damper on their cruise ship experience.
VAN SUSTEREN: Now, this didn't happen in Bermudian waters, but are the -- and the FBI's investigating. But are the Bermudian authorities investigating, as well, or has it been the investigation's surrendered to the FBI?
TROTT: The investigation is definitely completely in the FBI's hands. Bermuda police have stated today that they're acting in a supportive role, simply facilitating the investigation for the FBI, but it's an FBI investigation, for sure.
VAN SUSTEREN: Tari, thank you very much.
Coming up: What clues should the FBI look for that cruise ship? What questions should they ask? Is this an accident or something sinister? Mark Fuhrman is here.
And later, the story former New York governor Eliot Spitzer wanted to go away, well, it's back, and the story is getting worse. At least someone is talking, someone inside the prostitution ring that Governor Spitzer allegedly used. What is the woman saying, and what does it mean for the former governor? We will tell you coming up.
VAN SUSTEREN: Mindy Jordan fell overboard from a cruise ship on Sunday night, and today, the FBI boarded the ship when it pulled into the Bermuda harbor. What should the FBI be looking for? Who should they be talking to? Former LAPD homicide detective joins us live from Spokane.
Mark, they've got these surveillance video, but it's a statement, so far, from the cruise lines. At least, no one is -- very few -- I don't know who's laid eyes on the video. But do you just accept this video, or do you investigate?
MARK FUHRMAN, FMR LAPD HOMICIDE DETECTIVE, FOX ANALYST: Well, certainly, you've got to authenticate the video, and that's one thing that the FBI will do. They'll look at that video and then they're going to interview the couple that was not with the victim and her boyfriend. Then they're going to interview the victim's boyfriend. And then they're going to go into the room and they're going to look and see if those statements are all consistent with the way the rooms appear.
Then they're going to re-interview, and any questions and possibly (ph) after the interviews, they're going to go back to the video and they're going to try to get a timeline written down for themselves, and statements such as the boyfriend statement, We were clowning around. That's going to be probed, you know, to its absolute extent to determine just exactly what is "clowning around," and how did affect her death.
VAN SUSTEREN: Wait. You raise a very important point because I'd forgotten about that, that he -- that, apparently, at least it's being reported that he said, We were clowning around. But if you follow the timeline that the cruise line has given, is that he's out of the room for 17 minutes. I don't know when he was clowning around if he was out of the room for 17 minutes. And we've actually been on board these cruise ships, and I don't know about this one, but it's not just necessarily a smooth video that watches everything. Oftentimes, it's just, you know, pictures taken that happen to be on sort of some security system, and there may be gaps.
FUHRMAN: Well, I agree. And this really stuck out in my mind. This person just lost his girlfriend, a woman that he's been with for a few years, and the best explanation he can give her mother is, Well, we were fooling around and clowning around. Now, does this mean that he is with the other couple in the other stateroom on that balcony, and she is on the other balcony, and they are clowning around across balconies? Is there some coercion to actually climb across that balcony? Is there some, you know, challenge? Is there something going on there that would actually cause her to be put in harm's way and ultimately fall into the ocean?
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, it's hard to think why she would be climbing -- this is a 46-year-old woman -- why she'd be climbing from one balcony to another. And I think the weather was rough. I mean, that's bizarre. Maybe she was drinking. I don't know. Maybe she was trying to -- maybe she thought it was funny and she would surprise everybody in the next room. I don't -- I don't know about that. I'd like to know whether it was a possible suicide. And this -- and this -- and I'd like to take a look at the video to see, you know, exactly -- I'm unwilling to totally accept the video. I want to investigate.
FUHRMAN: I agree. And when I said you have to authenticate it, you have to authenticate who was running it. Was it observed at the time it was actually being taped? You have to make sure that the time on the machines is accurate. But you have to look at this in a vacuum. And I hear all speculation about domestic violence. You know, the detectives are going to look at this in a vacuum because this moment in time is all they're investigating. Everything else comes in if there's a problem. There could be a motive.
But you have to look at everything and you have to look at, would anybody benefit from her death? Would the boyfriend benefit in any way, whether it's insurance policies, real estate, savings account, anything. Would somebody benefit? And is anybody in financial trouble?
VAN SUSTEREN: And -- and -- I mean, at least, in -- probably a very important interview would be of the couple they were traveling with because they had dinner with them, and they were right next door. What'd they hear? So I mean, those are -- obviously, that couple would be a great couple to interview.
FUHRMAN: Absolutely, Greta. I mean, they are -- you know, they are friends of the victim. They are not first friends of the boyfriend, so they are very important, and there's a lot of things that will pivot on that between accident, negligent accident, or suicide.
VAN SUSTEREN: And let's not -- you know, there's other things, too. Someone could have knocked on the door and could have come in. I mean, there are all sorts of wild theories. It's not necessarily, you know, suspicion in any particular direction. It looks like an accident, but it sure should get investigated fully. Mark, thank you.
FUHRMAN: Thanks, Greta.
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