Quick Brief, 1 July 2024: US citizen missing from a Bahamas yoga resort – zone of risk and lawsuit exposures

02 July, 2024 Hotel Attacks

(Muir Analytics’ Quick Brief is broadly based on the Pentagon EXSUM briefing method. The aim is to quickly explain an evolving hotel threat issue in about 15 lines in executive summary format. Muir has added a quick analysis of the issue that can help hotels mitigate certain risks).

Chain of events

  1. NBC Chicago says Chicago resident Taylor Casey, who is transgender, has been missing for eight days from the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat on Paradise Island in Nassau, the Bahamas.
  2. She was last seen on 19 June at the Sivananda, and Bakersfield Now reports that Bahamian authorities told Casey’s mother, who believes something nefarious has occurred, that they found her cellphone in the ocean but little else.
  3. The Sivananda is described as a “tranquil yoga and wellness retreat offering vegetarian dining, a beach, and dorms or private rooms” with a two-night minimum stay.
  4. The FBI has joined Bahamian police in the search, which includes divers, search parties on land, and drones, says The Mirror.
  5. Casey’s disappearance comes after the US Department of State in January 2024 issued a Level 2 Travel Advisory for the Bahamas – read the advisory here.
  6. The advisory’s main threat issue was a rash of crime on New Providence and Grand Bahama islands – mainly, the towns of Nassau and Freeport, respectively.
  7. Scripps News says the types of violence included, but were not limited to, armed robbery, burglary, sexual assaults, and murders, most due to gang activity.
  8. Scripps also says when the State Department issued its advisory, there had been 18 murders in country – that’s 18 people killed from 1-26 January 2024.
  9. Interestingly – and unrelated to the Bahamas’ violence profile – the Sivananda has on its website a 2,278-word “misconduct page” with a well-described grievance-solving process addressing a wide range of delinquency, including sexual harassment, and worse.
  10. ABC News and USA Today said in February this year, Bahamian police arrested two staffers at the Pirates Cove Zipline and Water Park for allegedly drugging and then sexually assaulting two US women who were visiting for the day while their cruise ship, the Carnival Elation, made a port call at Freeport.
  11. On 20 June 2024, WFLX reported that a woman who was allegedly raped in August 2023 at “the Wyndham Hotel in Freeport” (presumably the Viva Fortuna Beach by Wyndham, A Trademark All Inclusive) was filing a negligence lawsuit against the cruise line that sent her to said hotel – the company is reportedly Concora, and the ship was the Margaritaville at Sea. (Muir has been unable to confirm a company named “Concora” is in the cruise line business).
  12. The plaintiff in this suit alleges there was a previous rape at said Freeport Wyndham, and the cruise line should have known about this risk and provided better duty of care for the passengers it funneled to the hotel.
  13. On 10 January 2024, WPTV reported that a woman filed a negligence suit against Classica Cruise Operator, the operator of the Margaritaville at Sea, for being raped in May 2023 by one of the ship’s bartenders (Classica Cruise Operator Ltd. does business as Margaritaville at Sea).

Analytical takeaways

There are five takeaways. First, while it is not clear exactly what happened to Taylor Casey – there could have been an aquatic accident or something of the like – there is cause for suspicion that a malicious act occurred.

Second, while thousands flock to the Bahamas every year unmolested, the island nation suffers from documented security issues and has become a zone of risk. The State Department’s warning, the alleged sexual assault at the Pirates Cove Zipline and Water Park, the alleged rape at the Wyndham in Freeport, 18 murders in a single month, and other incidents demonstrate this point. The totality of circumstances adds to the possibility that Casey might have suffered a violent act.

Third, the fact that the Bahamas is a zone of risk is not surprising. On 7 November 2018, Muir Analytics added additional analyses to Caribbean risk warnings by the State Department’s venerable Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC), the Chicago Tribune, and other sources, which included the Bahamas. See that report here: 7 November 2018, “Sexual assaults endemic at Jamaican resorts, says US State Department and news reports; other Caribbean locales experience similar problems.”

Fourth, the two alleged sexual assault cases attached to the Margaritaville at Sea imply that this cruise line has significant lawsuit exposure and is in dire need of security improvements.

Fifth, the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat’s extensive 2,278-word misconduct page suggests the resort might have experienced wrongdoing before. Why? Usually, companies keep this kind of “bad behavior warning” and “grievance-solving directions” in the background or small print, but this verbiage is prominently featured. As such, it is a possible indicator of previous sexual harassment or worse, and this is a preventative measure designed to thwart this behavior.

Looking forward, if the Sivananda had experienced sexual misconduct and/or assault on the premises before, and if the Casey case turns out to be because of criminal violence, then the resort is exceedingly vulnerable to a lawsuit, especially if it did not have an effective security regimen.

For additional threat intelligence, travel security advice, insurance coverage advice, and lawsuit expertise on the Caribbean, including the Bahamas, Jamaica, Mexico, and other locales, contact Muir Analytics.

Muir Analytics runs the world’s largest, most sophisticated hotel violence database – the SecureHotel Threat Portal – with over 3,000 hotel attacks (and growing). We can provide the hospitality, insurance, and law enforcement/government sectors with intelligence that facilitates full-spectrum risk reduction, which helps hotels protect guests, staff, buildings, brands, and revenues. Contact us for a consultation:  1-833-DATA-444.

Sources and further reading:

Missing Taylor Casey: FBI use drones to search for Chicago woman who vanished at Bahamas yoga retreat,” The Mirror, 1 July 2024.

Missing Chicago woman’s cellphone found in Bahamas waters 1 week after disappearance,” Bakersfield Now, 28 June 2024.

Latest developments as Chicago woman mysteriously disappears while attending Bahamas yoga retreat,” NBC Chicago, 27 June 2024.

2ND LAWSUIT: Passenger blames this cruise line for sexual assault incident,” WFLX, 20 June 2024.

2 Kentucky women say they were drugged, raped by Bahamas resort staffers, suspects arrested,” USA Today, 8 February 2024.

Staff members at Bahamas resort arrested for drugging, assaulting 2 American women: Police,” ABC News, 8 February 2024.

State Department issues travel warning for the Bahamas due to crime,” Scripps News, 29 January 2024.

The Bahamas Travel Advisory,” US Department of State, 26 January 2024

Lawsuit: Woman says bartender on Margaritaville at Sea cruise raped, impregnated her,” WPTV, 10 January 2024.

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