Real Name: Claudia Ann Kirschhoch
Nicknames: No known nicknames
Location: Negril, Jamaica
Date: May 27, 2000
Date of Birth: February 9, 1971
Weight: 105 lbs
Marital Status: Married
Characteristics: Caucasian female. Brown hair, brown eyes.
Details: Twenty-nine-year-old travel guide editor Claudia Kirschhoch was a last-minute replacement on a travel junket to the Sandals' new resort in Havana. She arrived with three other travel writers in Montego Bay, Jamaica, on the morning of May 24, 2000, but they soon learned that they would not be traveling to Havana. They basically became stranded in Jamaica because their flights back to New York were booked through June 1. On May 25, Claudia and Tania Grossinger were sent to the Sandals' resort in Negril. They had meals together and talked over drinks in the evening. While there, Claudia also became friends with bartender Anthony Grant and she went dancing with him at the resort.
The next day, Claudia told Tania that she and Anthony smoked dope and went skinny dipping. On May 27, Tania was able to get a flight back to New York for later that day and called their room at 8AM. They went to breakfast, and then said their goodbyes. They planned to meet again in New York when Claudia returned. That afternoon, she was seen by a lifeguard in a bathing suit and t-shirt with a portable radio walking away from the resort on the beach; this was the last confirmed sighting of her.
The next day, Anthony called in sick and was out of work for the next four days. On June 2, when Claudia did not show up in New York for work, her parents were contacted and they called Sandals' officials. Hotel maids had reported her missing after she did not sleep in her bed for several days. The officials apparently mishandled the investigation. They made mistakes and lied several times to the Kirschhochs.
A search through Claudia's room showed that nothing was missing except for her bathing suit. The rest of her clothes were found neatly packed in her suitcase. Her passport, $180 in cash, credit and ATM cards, cell phone, and camera were also retrieved from the hotel safe. Subsequently, her belongings were taken out of her room and it was rented out, contaminating the possible crime scene and destroying any possible links to her whereabouts. Her cell phone then disappeared, as did the log book that took the license plates of all the cars in and out of the resort. Also, the video surveillance had been taped over, which may have videotaped something that could tell what happened to her.
Without strong evidence of foul play, Jamaican authorities investigated the possibility that Claudia had drowned. This was strengthened by the fact that only her bathing suit was missing and that she was last seen at the beach. However, authorities determined that it did not have deep water and the current was not very strong.
As news spread about Claudia's disappearance, several witnesses came forward, claiming that they had seen a woman matching her description. This led some to believe that she disappeared voluntarily and lives in the hills with a Jamaican lover. Her family did not believe this because she seemed to be enjoying her life, as she had good friends and had finally landed her dream job. Authorities questioned several people who lived in the hills, but no trace of her was found.
A search dog was brought in by the FBI. It tracked Claudia's scent to the home of Anthony Grant. It also found her scent on some of his boots, gloves, and a knife. In subsequent searches by the FBI, a strand of her hair was found in the back seat of Anthony's white Toyota Corolla and the search dog found her scent in there and the trunk. Finally, the knife that was found in his house had blood on it, but DNA tests were inconclusive. He was given a lie detector test but the result were also inconclusive, and he is not yet considered a suspect in her disappearance. The Kirschhochs hope that one day they will learn what happened to her.
Suspects: Anthony befriended Claudia before she disappeared. Interestingly, the day after, he called in sick and was out of work for the next four days. A police search dog tracked her scent to his house. It also tracked her scent to the back seat and trunk of his car, a pair of his boots, a pair of his gloves, and a knife, which had a small amount of blood on it. In his car, investigators also found a strand of her hair. They also discovered that he had changed the seat covers in his car. When questioned, he initially denied knowing her. However, he later admitted to doing so and going on a date with her. He was given a polygraph, but the results were inconclusive. He is not yet considered a suspect in her case. However, her friends and family believe that he knows something about her disappearance.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the August 31, 2001 episode. There are similarities between it and that of Natalee Holloway.
Results: Unsolved. Claudia was declared legally dead in May 2002 after a judge declared that she would not have left on her own accord, but she has never been found.
- Claudia Kirschhoch on Unsolved.com
- Claudia Kirschhoch on the Charley Project
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- Sandals fires bartender who dated missing writer
- No breakthrough in search
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- Murder in Paradise?
- Int'l media spotlight on journalist's disappearance
- Woman's Disappearance in Jamaica is a Cautionary Tale for Vacationers
- Search for Claudia Kirschhoch continues
- Kirschhoch's dad satisfied with police probe into daughter's disappearance
- Queens Travel Writer Who Vanished in Jamaica is Declared Dead
- Claudia Kirschhoch declared dead
- Natalee-like Case, 5 Years Later
- Tropical 'cold case' heating up - Aruba mystery revives interest in N.Y. writer