FBI investigating death of Utah woman on Alaskan cruise ship

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JUNEAU, Alaska — The FBI and Alaska police are investigating a Utah woman’s death after a domestic dispute on an Alaskan cruise ship Tuesday night, officials said.

The dispute began at about 9 p.m. on the the cruise ship and the 39-year-old woman died as a result, Emerald Princess spokeswoman Brea Burkholz said.

“Our fleet security team has been coordinating with the FBI and other local authorities. They will be embarking the ship when it arrives in Juneau this morning,” Burkholtz wrote in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and all those impacted by this tragic event.”

The FBI was called Wednesday morning to investigate the death because it occurred outside of state territory, but was still in U.S. waters, KTUU in Anchorage, Alaska, reported.

Brian Beckstrom, of St. George, was watching a show with his wife when an alarming message forced him out of his seat.

"The captain came over the intercom for the whole ship been said we need all security personnel to go to Floor 14,” he said.

Beckstrom headed into the nearest stairwell to check on his children, who were a few floors above.

"When I get to Floor 9, I see this little girl sitting on, I assume, her grandma or somebody sitting on her lap wrapped up in a blanket and she's just sobbing," he said.

Beckstrom kept walking up to his daughters who were in a daycare above, saw that they were OK and walked back down, passing the now chaotic scene.

"A man came walking out from the hallway where it had happened and he had like a white tank top on and some jeans. His jeans were completely covered in blood. He came out and said, ‘It's not good, it's not good,’" he said.

FBI spokeswoman Staci Feger-Pellessier said no arrests had yet been made, but a team was heading to Alaska's capital city of Juneau.

Burkholz said the ship departed from Seattle on Sunday for a seven-day round trip cruise across Alaska. The scheduled trip to the Tracy Arm Fjord Wednesday was canceled.

The ship was carrying 3,400 passengers and 1,100 crew members.

Contributing: Associated Press, Ashley Moser

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Carter Williams is an award-winning reporter who covers general news, outdoors, history and sports for KSL.com.


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