FBI Says Carnival Elation Passenger Murdered Aboard During Cruise – Tamara Loraine Tucker, 50, from Lawson, Missouri, was allegedly murdered by her “longtime love”, Eric Duane Newman, 53, on Friday, January 19, 2018 during a celebration for her 50th birthday. The couple were aboard Carnival Cruise Lines’ ship Carnival Elation, which embarked from Jacksonville, Florida, for a four-night cruise. (same cruise video below)
According to her obituary, “Tamara’s life was dedicated to Public Service, teaching and advocating for social justice and safety for those that could not fend for themselves. She served as a Program Director at Child Abuse Prevention Association, where she led policy change on both the state and national level and advanced child education and support. The last 10 years were spent as a Professor for Park University where she touched the lives of many colleagues and students, co-facilitating both the BSW and MSW programs. Tamara received her Bachelor of Social Work from Avila University and Masters of Social Work from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.”
Federal prosecutors announced Newman was charged with second-degree murder on Wednesday September 5, 2018. in Kansas District Court. Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Stephen R. McAllister of the District of Kansas and Special Agent in Charge Charles P. Spencer of the FBI Jacksonville, Florida Field Office made the announcement.
The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Rami S. Badawy of the Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Christine E. Kenney of the District of Kansas.
A detention hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, September 12.
Police initially thought Tucker fell accidentally after she was found dead with severe head injuries on the 12th deck on January 19, 2018. Though a statement from a Carnival Cruise Line spokesman said a woman aboard the Carnival Elation on January 19, “fell from her balcony to several decks below” and died.
Police are now looking at the possibility Newman either pushed her or was trying to dispose of her body overboard.
Eric Newman who lives in Topeka, Kansas is a member of the Celebrate Tamara Loraine Tucker’s Life Facebook Group. He was added by Tamara’s sister, Bo Tucker on January 27, 2018. He posted to the page on April 7, “I miss u more than u will ever know I hope some day soon we can be reunited. Love always and forever”
The group page description states, “We have lost the flesh of our daughter, sister, mother, grandmother, aunt, cousin, niece, friend, co-worker, support system, teacher, mentor, rock,… advocate for all. Tamara was an ultimate connector of people place and problems. Lets honor her by using this place to connect with each other by posting pics and telling stories that speak of her LOVE that she had for everyone. We will use this site to keep everyone informed on the plans for a celebration of life service.
Newman was “restricted to your residence at all times except for employment; education; religious services; medical, substance abuse, or mental health treatment; attorney visits; court appearances; court-ordered obligations; or other activities pre-approved by the pretrial services office or supervising officer.”
Newman was also ordered to avoid all contact, directly or indirectly, with any person who is or may become a potential witness in the investigation or prosecution including the family of Tamara Tucker.
On September 12, 2018, Newman appeared in person in custody and with attorney of record. Defendant moves to continue the detention hearing with no objection by the government – GRANTED. Detention hearing continued to 9/18/18 at 1:30 PM before Magistrate Judge Marschewski.
On September 18, 2018, a bond hearing took place. Judge Marschewski ordered that Eric Newman appears in person in custody and with attorney of record. The court, after hearing the proffers and arguments of counsel, DENIES government’s motion for pretrial detention. The court orders defendant released on conditions of release with a $50,000.00 unsecured signature bond.
- USA v Eric Newman (pdf file)
- Carnival Elation Cameras
- Carnival Elation Cruise Ship Schedule
- Celebrate Tamara Loraine Tucker’s Life Facebook Group
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Video: Carnival Elation January 2018 4 day from Jacksonville to Bahamas