Grieving Father of Bride in Honeymoon Scuba Death: 'It's Devastating'

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record ," June 23, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: An American newlywed dies while scuba diving on her Australian honeymoon. Her American husband has been charged with murder. And tonight, the wife's father goes "On the Record."

Now, here's what we know. October 22, 2003, 11 days after their wedding, Tina and Gabe Watson honeymoon in Australia and go scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef. Tina mysteriously dies during the dive. Accident or homicide? Now, after a month-long inquest, Gabe Watson has now been charged with his wife's murder. Gabe Watson is believed to still be in the United States.

Tina Watson's father, Tommy Thomas, joins us live from Virginia. Welcome, Tommy.


VAN SUSTEREN: Tommy, first of all, as I say to everybody who comes here with a child who's died, I don't know really what exactly to say, so I'm just going to jump right into the facts of the case, other than, you know, I feel terrible for you and every other parent who comes in here.

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THOMAS: Thank you. It is. It's devastating.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, and I -- I know it is. By the way, have you spoken to Gabe at all in the last couple years since your daughter died?

THOMAS: The last time that I actually saw him was the Wednesday before Thanksgiving in 2003 in his attorney's office at his attorney's request. I haven't spoken or seen him since.

VAN SUSTEREN: How soon after your daughter died did you find out she died?

THOMAS: When I got the call, I actually thought that it had just happened. I received a call in Tallahassee, Florida, at 8:36 in the morning on October the 22nd. Later, much later, I actually found out that it had happened really the night before because of the time difference in Townsville and here being about 15 hours. There was, I guess, a good 12 or 13 hours difference in me being notified and it happening.

VAN SUSTEREN: Take me back to the first time that you met Gabe. How soon before their wedding did you meet him?

THOMAS: I can't give you the exact date. I think they had dated for a little while, and unlike boys that she had gone with before -- usually, you know, we met them pretty quickly and they spent time with us. We watched movies together, went out to dinner together, laid around the house and watched movies together, went to football games together, and what have you. We didn't meet him for quite some time, and then because we had asked about him several times, he had her come by the house I think it was around May of 2002 so that we would have an opportunity to meet him.

VAN SUSTEREN: Where did she meet him?

THOMAS: She met him -- he was actually in several classes with her at UAB (ph), where they were going to college together.

VAN SUSTEREN: So prior to the marriage, did she say anything peculiar, anything at all that sort of now, as you search your memory, might be important in the investigation and the trial, if there is one?

THOMAS: There's been several things that have actually already been given into evidence.

VAN SUSTEREN: The one thing that I've been reading about that's been -- that's cast suspicion on him is that he's given inconsistent statements as to what's happened. Is that pretty much what you know about the different statements?

THOMAS: I was in Australia for the 19 days of the coronial hearing in November and January, and during that time, was actually confronted with both of the statements that he gave to police, as well as his civil deposition under oath in his civil case in Alabama, and then heard evidence given by several witnesses. And there were various deviations in the original story that he had told us and what we read and heard through his statements to other people.

VAN SUSTEREN: Was Tina -- had she ever gone scuba diving before her honeymoon?

THOMAS: Say again?

VAN SUSTEREN: Did Tina scuba -- did Tina know how to scuba dive prior to her honeymoon?

THOMAS: She actually started taking diving lessons I believe it was January of 2003 and had finished her basic dive certification and actually got her basic dive certification card just a few days before they left on their honeymoon.

VAN SUSTEREN: Did she have any health problems?

THOMAS: She had had a minor heart problem that was corrected through surgery two or three years prior, but she was in perfect health. She had actually been to a doctor and been checked out before they even went on the trip. So she was in good health physically, yes.

VAN SUSTEREN: When the autopsy was done -- and I hate asking this to her father and talking about an autopsy to a father -- but did they say why she died? Was it a drowning, or what caused her death?

THOMAS: The official cause of death was drowning and deprivation of oxygen.

VAN SUSTEREN: And were there any -- are there any witnesses to that, the actual deprivation of -- I mean, I guess the theory the prosecution has is that he -- that he removed oxygen from her or cut off oxygen some way?

THOMAS: There was a boat that had pulled up shortly after Tina and Gabe had gone in the water. It's Jazz (ph) 2. It's a day-tripper. And they briefed the divers on the way out to the site. As soon as they pull up to the site, they drop anchor, tie off to the anchor ropes, and immediately start putting divers into the water because they're only going to be there for three or four hours.

I actually went to Australia, to Townsville, to be there at Christmas of 2003 and had an opportunity to go out on the Jazz 2 to the site and meet the Spoilsport. So I actually saw how they pulled up and anchored and immediately started putting divers into the water.

One of those divers from the Jazz 2 is an eyewitness to part of what occurred under water.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you know where Gabe is tonight? Because now the -- now that they've -- now that he's been charged in Australia, they want him to come to Australia and stand trial. Do you know where he is?

THOMAS: No, I don't.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is he in the United States, as far as you know?

THOMAS: Oh, I'm quite sure that he's at home or with his parents. I don't -- I believe that he's in Hoover (ph), where he lives.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Does he have an occupation? Is he back at work or anything like that? Does he have a new girlfriend, anything like that?

THOMAS: I don't know anything about his whereabouts. I have not tried to keep up with him. As I told you, the last time I saw him was November 2003.

VAN SUSTEREN: Tommy, thank you. And good luck with this, sir.

THOMAS: Thank you very much, Greta.

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