Wednesday, 16 March 2016

The sea waif:

41 year old Julian Harvey was an ex-WW2 pilot and the captain of the Bluebelle; a vessel sailing from Florida to the Bahamas on the 8th of November 1961.
 He murdered his own wife, and all but 1 of the ships charter’s family, before trying to sink the vessel and abandon ship in a rubber dingy.

 The charters only surviving child, an 11 year old girl named Terry Jo Duperrault, was sleeping at the time. Harvey did not attempt to shoot her despite having a gun in his hand, but demanded that she stay where she was as the ship started to fill with water. Desperate to survive, Terry Jo managed to keep her head above water and untied a cork float which she scrambled onto as the Bluebelle plunged into the darkness of the ocean beneath.
Although alive, she was alone, adrift in the open sea. 

Days later, she was sunburned and dehydrated from floating throughout the day in direct sunlight with no food or water. Sharks circled her raft and nudged it, it was a terrifying situation to be in.
As we can imagine, she mustn't of felt very secure sitting in the deteriorated fishing net which was the only thing between her and the open water.
Just as all hope was fading and her body was giving up, a Greek Freighter spotted her.
 She was holding onto life by a thread, they must have been shocked to see the child bobbing alone in the middle of the ocean.
The crew attempted to feed her water which must have burning passing her sun burned lips. She barely had enough energy to tell them her name and the name of the ship before passing out. 

Julian Harvey, who had murdered Terry Jo’s entire family and his own wife in cold blood, had been rescued one day earlier and had lied confidently about the events that lead to the sinking of the ship. He spun a false story telling of storms and weather related damage to the vessel. He was discovered with the body of Dr. Duperrault’s 7 year old child, Rene, whom he claimed that he had found drowned and floating face down. 

Harvey was unaware of Terry Jo’s survival. Upon discovering that she had survived and had been a witness to his crimes he checked into a hotel room under an assumed name and committed suicide using a razor. Originally he had intended to only murder his wife, motivated by financial gain as he wanted to collect his wife’s life insurance policy. (which was around $20,000) 
However, Dr. Duperrault caught him in the act and was murdered to eliminate witnesses. It came to light that Harvey had lost one of his six ex-wives and step mother in a car crash that he had somehow survived and had collected insurance money from her death. In fact he had collected a lot of insurance money from sunken vessels such as yachts and boats that he owned.

The picture of Terry Jo made it onto the cover of life magazine.

Amazon link to Terry's (Now Tere) book "Alone" [ X ]

(Sources: Today, readers digest, goodreads, wikipedia)

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