Feds say lovesick
She allegedly wanted
to end the 10-day trip
and rejoin her beau
A 20-year-old California woman confessed to writing two threatening notes found aboard a Hilo-bound cruise ship last week because she wanted to be home with her boyfriend instead of on the ship with her family, said Hawaii's U.S. Attorney Ed Kubo.
FBI agents arrested Kelley Marie Ferguson following her confession Friday while the ship was at Maui. She is charged with two counts of terrorism, which each carry a maximum 10-year prison term.
Kelley Marie Ferguson: She is accused of writing notes threatening to kill cruise ship passengers
"The defendant said she never wanted to go on this cruise ship with her family to begin with and that she wrote these notes hoping that it would shorten her time on the cruise, thereby allowing her to return to her boyfriend in Orange County, Calif.," Kubo said yesterday.
The discovery of the notes prompted officials on Wednesday to divert Royal Caribbean's Legend of the Seas to waters off Oahu, where 125 federal, state and local law enforcement officers boarded and searched the ship and interviewed its passengers and crew.
Fifteen bomb detection dogs also were used in the search.
No dangerous material was found on board, and the vessel was allowed to finish its tour through the islands.
Ferguson, of Laguna Hills, Calif., showed no emotion yesterday at her initial appearance in federal court.
"I find very disturbing that after causing all this fear, excitement and concern, the defendant never showed any degree of regret or remorse for her actions, not even after she was arrested for this offense," Kubo said.
He plans to ask a judge at a hearing Thursday to hold Ferguson without bail. And he said he plans to seek restitution for the cost of the search, which is still being tallied.
"Consider the cost to be nothing but extraordinary," he said.
Ferguson's parents and sisters, who were on the ship with her, were not present for yesterday's court appearance. Most of the crew and passengers left Hawaii yesterday at the conclusion of the 10-day cruise that began in Ensenada, Mexico, on April 18.
The diversion and search of the vessel caused anxiety and anger among the passengers and crew.
ROSEMARIE BERNARDO / RBERNARDO@STARBULLETIN.COM|
Lyn Foulks, with daughter Samantha Maxted-Foulks, says her family missed a Big Isle helicopter ride because their cruise ship was diverted after two threatening notes were found.
"Everybody was on edge," said passenger Lyn Foulks, who missed a scheduled helicopter ride on the Big Island after the ship was diverted to Oahu. "It got tense."
The first note, written on ship stationery provided in all passenger cabins, was found in a women's restroom last Tuesday. The author threatened to kill all Americans on board if the ship tied up on American soil. The second note, also written on ship stationery, was found in the same women's restroom the following day. It repeated the threat to kill all Americans.
Of the 2,369 passengers and crew members on board, Kubo said about 1,500 were American.
Members of the Hawaii Joint Terrorism Task Force defended their response, even though the threat proved baseless.
"Certainly, it had no difference in the way it disrupted the normal business operations of this cruise ship and caused a lot of stress and anxiety among crew members and passengers," said Daniel Dzwilewski, special agent in charge of the FBI's Honolulu Office and head of the task force.
A public defender has been appointed for Ferguson, who has been held since Saturday at the Federal Detention Center in Honolulu.
Star-Bulletin reporter Rosemarie Bernardo and the Associated Press contributed to this story.
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Handwritten note found last Tuesday:
VERY IMPORTANTE: I HAVE BEEN SENT ON A MISSION TO KILL ALL AMERICANOS ABORD LEGEND IF WE PORT ON AMERICAN SOIL. ONCE WE PORT ON AMERICAN SOIL IN ANY FORM OF TRANSPORTATION ALL AMERICANOS ARE DEAD. GIVE THIS WARNING TO EL CAPTI'ON TO SAVE ALL LIVES. DO TAKE THIS SERIOUS HE SENT ME FROM FAR AWAY LAND FOR MISSION I WILL COMPLETE IF PORT ON AMERICAN SOIL. I WILL KILL ALL.
Handwritten note found Wednesday:
2 WARNING: I HAVE BEEN SENT ON A MISSION TO KILL ALL AMERICANS ABOARD IF WE PORT ON AMERICAN SOIL IN ANY FORM OF TRANSPORTATION. I WILL KILL ALL DO TAKE US SERIOUS. I MUST KILL ALL AMERICANS!
Source: FBI affidavit