Rebecca Coriam was a likable, bubbly young woman. Her love for children and the outdoors brought her to a Youth Counselor position of the Disney Cruise Ship, the Wonder. Unfortunately, the position she loved would also lead to her disappearance, in 2011. However, new evidence suggests police’s original conclusion may not have been correct.
1. Meet Rebecca Coriam
Rebecca was your average 24-year-old woman before she disappeared. Rebecca, affectionately know as Bex, lived with her family in Chester, England. She worked at various places like her local zoo and hotel, and also enjoyed activities like running, reading and shopping. She also loved making those around her laugh. She had studied Sports Science and Childhood Studies at University. Two specialities that led her to her job on the fateful Disney Cruise.
2. Love For Outdoors
As a teen, Bex joined the British Army Cadets, an organization that she was a part of until she went to university. At this point, she was old enough to apply for a Staff Volunteer position, which she successfully earned. She helped the cadets with camping events. As stated before, she also worked at the Chester Zoo, following in the footsteps of other family members who had also worked there.
3.Teaching Kids Before Disney
Before she began working for Disney Cruise Lines, Rebecca worked for Camp America, for 4 months. Camp America is cultural exchange program that gives students the chance to spend their summer living and working at a summer camp, in the USA. Bex was placed in New York and then Maine. Her job was to teach sporting activities to kids. She would tell her family of her camping adventures, often discussing how bears lived in the area. She told her family “you just clap to scare them [the bears] away”.
4. Applying To Disney Cruises
In June 2010, Rebecca saw a job posting for Disney Cruise Lines. She went to London for an interview. Hundreds of other people were also there for the interview process. However, to Rebecca’s excitement, she was offered the position. She would soon have to leave her family in the U.K behind and begin training in the U.S.
5. Bex Begins Her Journey With Disney
After Bex was offered the job with Disney Cruises, she left her family in the U.K. to travel to Florida to begin her training. She flew to Florida and spent 4 days at Walt Disney World. After her training was complete, she was assigned her first cruise. She would be going to the Bahamas.
6. Last Shopping Trip With Mom
During her first cruise, the boat stopped at ports all over the Bahamas. She spent 4 months working on the cruise. She was then given a 2 month vacation, which she spent back in the U.K. with her family. She spent her 2 months relaxing with friends, and shopping for new clothes with her parents. At the time, her mom also bought her a monkey hat which she loved to wear, as it made everyone laugh.
7. The Universe Was Trying To Stop Her
As she was trying to leave Manchester to head to L.A. and board the Wonder, bad weather led to lots of plane delays and cancellations. After leaving Manchester the first time, her plane flew in circles at her connecting airport and was forced to return back to Manchester. Her second rescheduled flight was also delayed. She was then flown to Dublin and was once again, stranded. She, however, eventually made her way back to the states. It was like someone, somewhere was trying to stop her.
8. Begins Working On The Disney Wonder
After her 2 month vacation at home, Bex returned back to America. This time she was assigned to the Disney Wonder cruise ship. The boat was scheduled to leave from Los Angeles and travel to Mexico. She traveled with the ship to many ports along the Mexican Rivera and through the Panama Canal. So far, it was a successful sail. However, Bex received some bad news.
9. Last Time Home
Unfortunately, Rebecca got some sad news during this cruise contract. Her grandfather, Thomas Francis Jennings, had passed away. Rebecca left the ship and returned home to attend the funeral. She was able to take 2 weeks off to return to her home and grieve with her family. She then had to return back to work on the Wonder. Unfortunately, this was the last time her family saw her in person.
10. Never Heard From Again
Bex continued her duties as a youth counselor, when she arrived back on the ship. On March 21, 2011, the day the cruise line left the port in Los Angeles, Rebecca sent one last message to her mother, Annmaria, via Facebook. The message said she would call her mother the next day. Unfortunately, Rebecca’s mother never heard from her.
Twelve hours had passed since Annmaria had heard from her daughter. Rebecca’s parents got ready for bed that night worried and nervous. However, just before falling asleep on March 22, their phone rang. They hoped it would be their daughter, unfortunately, it was not. It was an official with Disney to inform them that their daughter was missing.
12. She Didn’t Report For Work
At 9am in the morning, the Wonder was off the coast of Mexico and heading to Puerto Vallarta. Rebecca did not show up for her shift. The crew began paging her over the public address system and searching throughout the ship. She was not in her room or anywhere on the ship. However, someone choose to review the security camera footage.
13. Last Known Sighting
Someone from the crew had decided to review the security camera footage. They were able to spot Rebecca on video timestamped at 5:45am (pictured). She was captured speaking on the phone in the crew quarters. She had been speaking to someone on the ship. A young man approaches her to see if she is alright, it appears as if she nods, and then walks away. The video shows she was also obviously distraught.
14. How Could She Just Vanish
Although the Wonder is under constant surveillance, it would be possible for Rebecca to find a private spot, as the ship is so large. The ship can accommodate 2,400 passengers, in 875 staterooms, plus around 1,000 crew members. There are 11 public decks across the nearly 1,000 foot ship. With that amount of space and people on the ship, it would be easy for Rebecca to go undetected somewhere.
15. Officials Notified
After the captain of the ship had learned about Rebecca’s disappearance, he notified the U.S Coast Guard, the Bahamas Maritime Authority and the Royal Bahamas Police Force, as well as the FBI. The U.S. Coast Guard suggested Disney also notify the Mexican Navy, which it did. Beginning searches found no trace of Rebecca. During this time, her parents were already on a plane and heading to the ship.
16. The Wonder Is Registered In Bahamas
The Disney Wonder is registered on the Merchant Shipping Register of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas. Therefore, Bahamian Police had jurisdiction over the case. A Senior Detective Superintendent of The Royal Bahamas Police Force, was dispatched to the boat to begin an investigation. He took several days on board to have an investigation.
17. Disney Staged Everything
Rebecca’s parents, Mike and Annmaria (below) had an interview with ECHO and told them about the first few days after they were informed of Rebecca’s disappearance. Disney had paid for them to be flown out to L.A., for when the ship docked. However, her parents say “Everything was staged by Disney. We were taken in a car with blacked out windows, on the boat’s back entrance, as passengers disembarked from the front. They took us to a room where they played the CCTV footage of Rebecca where, largely, she appears to be fine.”
18. Bahamian Police Conclude No Foul Play
The Bahamian police had reportedly been on the ship for a few days doing an investigation. However, her parents say he was only on board for one day. The police did not suspect foul play. Her parents tell ECHO, “We were given cakes and then taken to the captain who sat us down and told us it was his belief our daughter had gone out to Deck Five and a wave had hit the ship and taken her over.”
19. The Passengers Were Never Questioned
The Coriams were also introduced to the policeman in charge of the investigation. They ask if he would be returning to the boat to do so more investigation. He replied no, as he was returning to the Bahamas. They also learned that only some crew members were questioned and none of the passengers.
20. Personal Things Given To Parents
After her disappearance, the Coriams were given Rebecca’s personal belongings. Among her things were a pair of flip flops. Disney told Bex’s parents that they were found at the edge of Deck 5, where she had gone overboard. However, the flip flops don’t even belong to Rebecca. On the side of the shoe, there is someone else’s signature with a different cabin number.
21. Disney Releases A Statement
After Rebecca Coriam’s disappearance reached the media, Disney decided it was time to release an official statement on the matter. However, it gave no further information on her disappearance. Disney Cruise Lines said, “Our hearts go out to the Coriams. We’ve shared everything we can, but many details are still under investigation by the police and it is their role to provide the details of their findings to the family.”
22. Bank Account Activated
Weeks after her disappearance, via email a bank informed Rebecca’s parents that there had been some activity in her account. Rebecca’s father, Mike, told The Daily Mail, “This could be a very significant development. The fact that her credit card’s been used could only mean someone has stolen it or she’s still alive.” This gave the family hope their daughter was still alive, and pled to media for her to reach out to them.
23. Someone Changed Her Facebook Password
In September 2011, the family once again had a glimmer of hope that Rebecca may still be alive. They learned that someone had changed her Facebook password. Rebecca’s Uncle, John Jennings, said “someone has changed the password on Becky’s Facebook account, so we can’t get into it. It must be someone who knows her, who knows what the original password was.”
24. Journalist Checks Onto The Wonder For Answers
In November 2011, investigative journalist Jon Ronson (pictured) told Rebecca’s parents he would book himself a cruise on the Wonder and try to get answers. However, he was met with obstacles. When he asked a cruise staff member about her disappearance he replied with “I don’t know anything about it, It didn’t happen. You know that’s the answer I have to give.”
25. There’s No Way She Could Have Fallen From Deck 5
One morning, Ronson sees a worker varnishing a railing on Deck 4. Ronson approached the man and asked if he knew about Rebecca and where she had fallen. The man replied she fell from Deck 5, near the crew swimming pool. Ronson was instructed to go to Deck 10 and look down to see the pool, which he did. However, he found that there was a high steel wall behind the railing and no one could have fallen from the part of the ship.
26. Disney Taped Her Last Call
Over the days Ronson was on his cruise, he asked multiple crew members if they knew Rebecca or anything about her disappearance. Many of them just said she was a nice girl but had an “underlying sadness.” However, one crew member had something different to say, “Disney knows exactly what happened, That phone call she had? It was taped. Everything here is taped. There’s CCTV everywhere. Disney have the tape.”
27. She Was In A Rocky Relationship
Ronson was also able to talk to Rebecca’s best friend on board, Melissa. She discussed how Rebecca had been in a relationship. It was a very, very intense relationship. It was great and then it was awful. They were both fiery, passionate personalities,” Melissa says. Melissa believes that must have been why she was wondering the ship so early and seeming so upset.
28. Melissa Has A Theory
Rebecca’s best friend on board, Melissa, also had a theory of what may have happened to her. She explains to Ronson that along with being super bubbly, she was also sometimes a risk taker. She loved being on deck 5. Melissa believes it’s possible that Bex wanted to clear her head, so she climbed over the large steel wall to sit on the edge of the boat. Before Rebecca could realize she had made a mistake it would have been to late.
29. Disney Is Covering It Up
Melissa also felt that Disney had to know what exactly happened to Rebecca, but they are covering it up to “protect the brand.” Ronson pointed out there are guards everywhere checking IDs, including Deck 5, someone must have seen her. Melissa agreed. She told Ronson “Bex made hundreds of people happy. The passengers loved her. They all loved her. You’d think Disney would give something back. They owe it to her to find out what happened.”
30. Disney Had A Secretive Memorial
Melissa also told Ronson that Disney “had a little ceremony.” The company had put flowers next to the wall where, the company claims, she had apparently jumped or fell overboard. However, they placed the flowers there, but did not say anything about them or what happened to Bex. Melissa said “They put these flowers down but refused to answer any questions as to why…Why are they putting them there? Nothing was clear.”
31. Family Says She Did Not Commit Suicide
Like many of the crew members, Rebecca’s family said she was very happy. However, unlike Disney crew, they say there’s no way she could have committed suicide. Her Uncle pointed out to The Daily Mail that “Rebecca had bought four tickets for Disneyland Paris as a surprise so that she could go there with her mum and dad and sister Rachael when she got back. That’s not the action of someone contemplating suicide.”
32. Possible Sighting On Year Anniversary Of Her Disappearance
Just around the one year anniversary of her disappearance, Rebecca’s Dad, Mike, received a email. Rebecca’s Uncle told media the email stated this woman “was 85 per cent sure she had seen Bex with a dark-haired man in Venice, Italy.” Unfortunately, after investigation in Italy, Bex was not found. However, it still brought hope to the family that she may be alive.
33. Family Hires Private Investigators
After the Bahamian police had concluded their investigation, Bex’s family hired private investigators. The investigators have since concluded that she did not commit suicide and there is a possibility of foul play. They once again looked at the flip flops given to Rebecca’s parents. After analyzing the flip flops, they officially announced they definitely did not belong to Rebecca, debunking Disney’s theory that she fell off of Deck 5.
34. The Coriams Sue Disney
In March 2014, the Coriams decided to sue Disney claiming the it failed in its duty of care. The family also claims they were negligent as they waited 4 hours to notify the U.S. Coastguard, more than 5 hours to notify the Mexican Navy, and finally almost 7 hours to notify the authority with jurisdiction of the investigation – the Bahamian Police. Disney said their claims had no merit.
35. Hometown Memorial
In September 2015, Rebecca’s family, friends, and hundreds of others attended a memorial service at a local park near Rebecca’s hometown. The memorial included the planting of a mulberry tree and revealing 2 benches with engraved plaques on them. The benches were placed in spots in the park that hold special memories for the family.
36. Footage Reviewed and Reanalyzed
When Rebecca’s parents were first shown the security footage they were shown a cropped version of the footage so they were unable to see the location and time. However, her parents believe this was just a ploy and so do the private investigators. Disney says she was last seen on Deck 5, however, the tape clearly states she was on Deck 1.
37. Police Withholding Evidence
As stated before, because the ship was register in the Bahamas, the Bahamian police had jurisdiction over the investigation. However, they did send their findings to local English police. However, local police told the Coriams that they are unable to share the information with them as it was not their property. Mike Coriam told BBC “It’s our daughter. There’s been an investigation. Why hold it from us?”
38. Possible Sexual Assault
As stated before, the video clips clearly show that Rebecca was last seen on Deck 1. She was also shown wearing men’s clothes and physically and mentally distraught (pictured). Investigators believe she was headed towards the medical center on Deck 1, to possibly report what may have been a sexual assault. The video, investigators say, clearly does not show Rebecca taking the elevator or going up the stairs to deck 5.
39. More Evidence
Among the bag of belongings given to Rebecca’s parents were not only the flip flops, but also a torn pair of shorts. Therefore, if her distress on the CCTV footage is not evidence enough that there may have been a sexual assault, the shorts may be. Private Investigators believe the torn shorts certainly show there was at least a struggle that took place.
40. Reports Claim Coriams Settle With Disney
In April 2016, The Hollywood Reporter published an article that the Coriams had settled with Disney out of court back in 2015. The Coriams had decided to sue the entertainment giant a few years prior for negligence in their investigation of their daughter’s disappearance. No other reports have been made about the settlement. However, investigation still continued even after the legal battle was over.
41. Murder Suspects Being Probed
Roy Ramm, former senior police detective (left) with Chester MP Chris Matheson (right) have helped lead the private investigation into Rebecca’s disappearance. They have concluded that there was definitely foul play, and have began questioning crew members. ECHO reports that they murder suspect’s identities are known to them.
42. Forever Missing At Sea
Unfortunately, Rebecca is still listed as missing at sea. Her body has never been found and her family has been unable to hold a proper funeral because of it. Since her disappearance, her parent’s have tried to get laws change about oversea investigations. Because the ship was registered in the Bahamas, the British government was unable to investigate Rebecca’s disappearance. They are attempting to get this law changed.
43. U.S. Already Has A Law In Place
Unlike the U.K., the U.S. passed a law that protects its citizens from a botched cruise line investigation. In 2010, former President Obama signed into effect the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act. The act states that any reports of criminal activity, that involve an American citizen, must be reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
44. Over 160 People Have Disappeared On Cruises
Bex is not the only one, as over 160 people have gone missing on cruises since 1995. Unfortunately, like Bex’s, many families are left with more questions than answers. How did no one see her? Did she actually commit suicide or is there something more sinister lurking here? Why won’t the cruise line help us more? Hopefully. Bex’s family will one day get the answer to all of these questions.
Since her disappearance, Bex’s family opened a website to keep the public updated on her disappearance. The site gives a summary of her disappearance, as well as, a link to donate to her family’s campaign, The Rebecca Search Foundation Ltd. You can also learn a little more about Rebecca from quotes about her by her loved ones.