Death at Sea: Mrs. Benjamin Mozee – Missing Passenger On Cruise Ship – SS Seeandbee July 29, 1940…


Mrs. Benjamin Mozee – Missing Passenger On Cruise Ship – SS Seeandbee July 29, 1940…

Cruise ships are not always the paradise at sea…

Mrs. Frank R. Elliott the sister-in-law of Mrs. Benjamin Mozee said she saw Mrs. Mozee off when she boarded the steamship on the Great Lakes cruise. She believes that Mrs Mozee was robbed, murdered and dumped overboard. The facts support that theory.

Elliott says that when Mozee embarked on the Lake Erie cruise from Cleveland, Ohio to Buffalo, New York, she had a large amount of cash with her and expensive jewelry including three diamond rings.

Cleveland police say the diamond rings were not found in Mrs. Mozee’s cabin, nor on her body when her body was recovered on July 31 at Geneva-On-The-Lake. The cash she brought with her on the cruise was also missing.

Mrs. Mozee’s body was found two days after she was last seen alive, she had two black eyes, as if she had been beaten. Coroner Charles Webster who examined Mozee’s body, said that he doubted the bruises around her eyes were post-mortem or from hitting the water.

Due to the fact that when her body was found, the ship had not reported Mrs. Mozee’s disappearance, the unidentified body was buried without an autopsy in Ashtabula, Ohio.

Mr. Mozee, arriving to identify his wife’s body after it was exhumed, was clearly shocked to learn that the ship did not miss his wife nor report her missing until August 13, 15 days after she disappeared.

O.R. Willard, passenger agent for the cruise line, said the reason the woman was not reported missing for two weeks was because her clothes were laid out on the bed everyday the maid came, making it appear the cabin was still in use.

This of course does not explain why the maid did not notice the bed was already made up each day when she arrived in Mozee’s cabin, having never been slept in for two weeks. Nor does it explain why the maid did not notice the same clothes were on the bed everyday.

A very suspicious fact was the finding that Mozee’s palms of her hands were covered in grease. This lead to speculation that Mozee had been in a crew area of the ship just before or just after her death.

Her death was ruled a homicide and federal agents took over the investigation. There is no record of any arrest, trial or conviction for the murder.

Mrs. Mozee’s husband was Marshall Benjamin Mozee, the former Superintendent Of Schools in Alaska.

Mrs. Mozee was a former nurse.

The SS Seeandbee was the largest and mostly costly inland steamer, on the Great Lakes. Launched on November 6, 1912, Seeandbee was an all-steel ship with a passenger capacity of 1,500 passengers on 4 decks.

In 1942, the Seeandbee was acquired by the U.S. Navy and converted into the USS Wolverine. The Wolverine served as an aircraft carrier training ship in Lake Michigan during World War II and shortly thereafter was scrapped.



About Michael L. Grace

During the mid-80s, Michael Grace worked as a writer on the TV Hit Series THE LOVE BOAT. He wrote many of the two hour special featuring great stars of the past, including Lana Turner, Claire Trevor, Anne Baxter, Ethel Merman, Alexis Smith, etc. The public’s access to these stars, in familiar dramas and comedies, made them want to go on a cruise. They could see the stars in an ordinary world as “regular” people. The phenomenally successful series was responsible for creating the cruise industry as we know it today. By the time he was writing for Love Boat, the great steamship companies and their liners were flying hand me down foreign flags, painted like old whores, scrapped or doing three day cruises to the Bahamas. He had sailed on over thirty ships and liners with his parents, aunt and grandmother in late 50s to early 70s. The very successful CRUISING THE PAST website has been an outgrowth of Michael’s strong interest in cruise and social history. Drawing on his own knowledge and a vast maritime and social history collection, he is able to produce a very successful website. Michael is part of the award winning team that created the internationally performed award winning musical SNOOPY, based on PEANUTS by Charles M. Schultz. He has written for television and films. Read more by going to "About" (on the above dashboard) and clicking "Editor"…