David Ritcheson, 18 – Suicide Overboard, Carnival Ecstasy Passenger, July 1, 2007, Time of Death 7:35.
David Ritcheson, 18, from Texas had departed Galveston, Texas on a five day cruise to Cozumel, Mexico aboard Carnival Cruise Line’s Ecstasy, when he suddenly jumped overboard.
About 07:35am on July 1, 2007, the United States Coast Guard (USCG) recieved the Man Overboard (MOB) call that a man gone overboard on the Ecstasy. According to reports, several people saw the man go overboard and alerted the ship’s crew.
The ship’s crew pulled the body from the water and he was pronounced dead at 9:10 a.m. The ship had departed Galveston on Saturday and was a “couple of hundred” miles out, according to USCG spokesman Adam Eggers.
Ritcheson had been recovering from a racially motivated attack by skinheads. He is hispanic. He was beated and sexually assaulted repeatedly during the attack. After the attack, Ritcheson had undergone 30 surgeries to repair his injuries while in the hospital for three months. In the beginning, he had not been expected to live.
Ritcheson’s death comes less than three months after he testified before Congress about how two teens nearly killed him on April 23, 2006.
Ritcheson had said that he was struggling with being identified as the victim of the attack. A skinhead named David Tuck, 19, was sentenced to life in prison for aggravated sexual assault. Keith Turner, 18, received a 90-year sentence.
Trial testimony revealed Ritcheson and Gus Sons, whom he’d befriended at an alternative school for students with disciplinary problems, met up with Tuck and Turner at a crawfish festival in Spring the night of the attack. From there, they went to Sons’ house, where they drank vodka, smoked marijuana and used cocaine and Xanax, an anti-anxiety drug.
After an alleged incident at the party where it was claimed Ritcheson tried to kiss the 12 year old sister of Gus Sons, Ritcheson was drug outside, kicked, beaten, burned with cigarettes, had bleach poured on him, and was sexually assaulted with a picnic table umbrella while chanting “white power” for about four or five hours.
The hate crime became too much for the teen and he ultimately jumped off the cruise ship, ending his life.