Cruise Ship Deaths

Randal Paul Gary
Suspicious Overboard

Veendam - May 16, 2003


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Randal Paul Gary , 50 - Suspicious Overboard

Veendam Passenger, May 16, 2003

Time of Death is unknown

Time of Cruise Ship Death Randal Paul Gary

Randal Paul Gary , 50 was a psychotherapist from Toronto, with diabetes, who had gone missing somewhere between Ketchikan, Alaska, and Vancouver while sailing aboard Holland America Line's Veendam on May 16, 2003. A search was made, and he couldn't be found, aboard, or in the sea.

A week earlier, the night before the cruise left Vancouver Randal Gary had dropped by to see his sister Lynn Gary at her hotel. She was sleeping and didn't answer the phone when the desk called her, so he left a note, and $500, then continued on to take his cruise.

When the Veendam docked at Canada Place at 0800 hours Sunday May 20, 2005, Randal had not settled his bill for his cabin number 104 that had a balance due of $127. That is when staff went looking for him.

The following facts create a puzzling sequence of events: When the stewards went to check, they found the 'Do Not Disturb' sign on his cabin, it had been there most of the cruise. The double bed showed signs of somebody being on it, but not slept in. It was an outside cabin with a sealed window, and no balcony.

His belongings all seemed to be in the cabin, including his passport. His wallet was there, with cash in it. His credit card and driver's license and, the key card to his cabin, where also there.

Staff found his watch, a package of Viagra, with one pill missing, an unopened box of insulin and a log of his blood-sugar levels that included readings up to Thursday. They found several brochures for his new counseling practice.

Someone had been drinking in the cabin. There was a partially consumed bottle of rye, a half full bottle of red wine and an empty bottle of Bollinger champagne. Randal hated champagne, never drank red wine, he was allergic to rye, and due to his health problem, rarely drank at all.

His brother was in contact with him almost everyday. The brother says his brother seemed happy and was excited about the cruise, and was excited about launching his new business.

A few years prior, he trained to become a professional counselor, and had recently opened his own practice. He had just taken out 100 advertising spots on a radio station, in Toronto, and was to do some on air spots himself, when he returned.

Randal Gary was a bit of a ladies' man. His brother says Gary told him he was taking the cruise alone, but hope to meet a lady. He says Gary told him, "I'm going alone with the great expectation of meeting my Penelope Cruz from Vanilla Sky on board."

He planned to have lunch with his brother when he returned from the cruise.

Vancouver police Detective Bolton received a passenger manifest from, Holland America of women, who were traveling unaccompanied or traveling with other women on Veendam's cruise to Alaska that week, both the married, and the single. There were 300 of them. They sent Randal's photograph to them, and of the 300, less than a dozen responded.

According to police Gary spent most nights at the casino, he was a late riser who didn't like the steward in his room.

On one particular occasion he was "sharp" with the steward, and the steward complained to his superior. Once he complained that the steward had been slow in delivering ice, and after that the steward complained to his superior that Gary was being difficult and he was having hard time getting into the cabin to do his job. Clearly there was friction between the two, with Gary not getting the service as he desired.

Gary told many people that the trip to Alaska was some kind of lifelong dream. Yet he never bothered to go ashore when the ship docked in Juneau and Skagway. He had switched his restaurant seating assignment after the first night, requesting that he be reassigned to a table with four women, two of them middle-aged sisters from Victoria.

The sisters were interviewed by police, but say they only saw him at the meals, they didn't socialize with him otherwise.

In Ketchikan, he bought postcards of whales, seals and eagles and mailed them to 13 people back home, including his mother. The same day, the ship's log shows Gary leaving the ship again in Ketchikan at 1819 hours and reboarding 1828 hours, two minutes before the ship set sail.

The nine minutes would've been just enough time for him to run to the dock and make a call from a pay phone. His sister says he may have left the ship to call her. May 16 was her birthday.

That night, the restaurant's formal evening, Gary was joined at his table by a ship's officer. Staff say he was seen in the casino later, as usual.

There were three sightings of him on Saturday, the last day at sea. A woman waiting for an elevator says she had a brief conversation with him. Someone also saw him talking to a woman with shoulder-length blond hair at afternoon tea. At about 2230 hours, an elderly man whose cabin was just down the hall from Gary's saw him with two women who appeared to be leaving his room. One of them, the man told police, was a woman in her 30s who had shoulder-length blond hair, and Gary had his arm around her. But, he could have mistaken and seen this on Friday night.

On the Saturday, despite the privacy sign, the steward entered his cabin, he says, because he needed to do his job and decided to ignore the sign. (It is good to note that the Do Not Disturb signs placed on the door for privacy are apparently not honored on this cruise ship)

Some point out it would have been painless for Gary to kill himself with his insulin, instead of jumping overboard. Because of that and his business plans, jumping overboard is not a possibility.

The problem with the man accidentally falling overboard theory is that his key card was found in his room. He would have to accidentally locked himself out of his room, and then accidentally fallen overboard during that period.

It is possible he may have locked himself out of his room, and then sought help from cruise staff to get back in, or he may have left the cabin with cruise staff for some purpose, and didn't take his key because staff was with him and would let him back into his cabin. Then, during that time, 'something' happened to him. The cruise line didn't bother dusting for fingerprints, and took no photographs of the cabin to preserve the crime scene.

In late 2001 he won $150,000 on Lotto, but he his family only found about it after he disappeared. This indicates he kept things, probably many things, from those close to him. Gary had talked to people about his dream of starting a curling club in Arizona. His sister says he had spent several weeks in Phoenix around the time of his secret lottery win and had conducted a number of self-help seminars there. While on the cruise, he apparently told one passenger he was from Texas. He told someone else he was in the construction business. Both statements are a lie, if he actually made those statements.

According to police Gary spent most nights at the casino, he was a late riser who didn't like the steward in his room.


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