2 Cruise Passengers Warn Others Following Assault in The Bahamas

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Two cruise passengers from Kentucky are seeking justice after they were assaulted in Grand Bahama after their drinks were spiked at a popular beach resort.

Two women standing in front of a sign that says Bahama Village.
Dongayla and Amber in The Bahamas. (Instagram/ashearer92)

While their Carnival cruise ship was docked in the Bahamas, Amber Shearer and Dongayla Dobson decided to visit the Pirate’s Cove beach resort.

While at the resort, they took advantage of a two-for-one drink offer during their visit, quickly leaving them feeling strange. “Less than a few drinks into the second drink, we knew something was wrong. Something was terribly wrong,” Shearer said during a NewsNation interview.

The two set out to look for seashells when a male staff from the resort approached them and told them that he knew a better place where they could look. Shearer claimed that it was the last thing she remembered. When she regained consciousness, she realized that they had been taken elsewhere and the assault was already underway. 

Dobson added, “We were just conscious enough to have, or just aware enough, to know that they were in uniforms.” 

Suspects arrested

An aerial view of a beach and ocean in the Bahamas.
A coastline on Grand Bahama Island.

Once they boarded the cruise ship, Shearer and Dobson reported the incident to ship authorities.

In a statement, Carnival said: “While ashore in Freeport, Bahamas on an independent shore excursion, two guests on Carnival Elation reported to Bahamian police that they were sexually assaulted at a local beach. Our onboard Care Team provided support for the two guests as they sailed back to Jacksonville. Bahamian police are investigating the matter and Carnival is providing our full cooperation.”

Toxicology reports revealed that the two women hardly had any alcohol but a myriad of drugs in their systems, including benzodiazepines. Bruising was also noted on their legs.

(Note: Benzodiazepines are a medication that causes sedation and hypnosis, relieves anxiety, muscle spasms, and reduces seizures.)

With the assistance of local police, other staff at the resort, and video surveillance, the two alleged perpetrators were identified.

A statement from the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF): “Upon learning of the incident, our officers immediately commenced investigations, leading to the arrest of two adult males aged 54 and 40.”

The two moms also expressed disappointment with Carnival and Bahamian police authorities. A security alert had been raised for the Bahamas and the specific area they were in nearly two weeks earlier. The couple alleged that the cruise line did not inform them about the travel advisory for The Bahamas.

A beach with a sign welcoming Cruise Passengers to the Bahamas.
A beach resort located on Grand Bahama Island.

The two women added that local authorities handled the case poorly by failing to administer sexual assault test kits and treating them like criminals, which local authorities dispute.

“Emergency Medical Services offered medical assistance to the victims, which they declined, signing a waiver and then leaving for their cruise ship in a private vehicle.

Recognizing the gravity of the incident, our officers boarded the cruise ship, providing a sexual assault kit and hospital form to the ship’s medical doctor and obtained signed statements from the victims.”

Meanwhile, the resort where the assault took place, Pirate’s Cove, reported that it fired the two employees who were allegedly involved. Management also pointed out discrepancies between the women’s accounts and the time stamps in the surveillance videos. They are not reeasing the video publically because its an active investigation.

Carnival Cruise Line warns guests in their daily “Fun Times” program about safety in Nassau and Freeport. The Cruise Directior also mentions it in their port talks.

A cautionary tale

Two women on a plane with the words dream vacation turned nightmare in the Bahamas.
(Screenshot via GMA)

Though traumatized, Dobson and Shearer voluntarily shared their stories with the press to warn others and prevent other tourists from having the same experience.

“I want people to be safe,” Shearer advised. “Two is not a group. Do not buy any drinks that come unless they come in a sealed container, in a bottle.” Now home in the US, Dobson and Shearer seek legal action against the resort and the responsible men.

The State Department tells U.S. citizens traveling out of the country always to check the Travel Advisory page on the State Department website. The RBPF is collaborating closely with the FBI in this ongoing investigation.

RELATED: Cruise Ship Crimes Surge in 2023

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