Man Accused Of Killing Wife During Mexico Cruise

Medical Examiner Identifies Victim As Shirley McGill, 55

A 55-year-old woman died aboard a cruise ship that docked in San Diego Thursday, and her husband was arrested in connection with the death, according to the FBI.

FBI Special Agent Darrell Foxworth said the 2,052-passenger Carnival Elation was on the last leg of a five-day trip to Baja Mexico on Tuesday when members of the ship's crew responded to a domestic dispute between a husband and wife in their cabin.

The crew members entered the cabin and found the woman dead, Foxworth said.

The San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office identified the victim as Shirley McGill of Winnetka, a city in Los Angeles County. She turned 55 on July 8.

Robert McGill, who is also 55, was held in the ship's brig during the return trip to San Diego and is expected to be charged with murder, FBI Special Agent in Charge Keith Slotter said during a midday news briefing at B Street Pier.

Slotter declined to comment on reports that the woman had been stabbed to death, possibly with a pair of scissors.

"I can't confirm or deny that there was a stabbing," Slotter said. "We have suspicions at this time as to how it was conducted, but until that autopsy and so on is done, I can't comment on those suspicions and exactly how it may have occurred. There is still quite a bit of work to do."

Investigators said the death happened Tuesday evening between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. The FBI sent 20 agents out to sea Wednesday to investigate the incident, 10News learned.

10News learned that ship security kept Robert McGill in the brig from the time of the incident until the ship docked in San Diego at 6:30 a.m.

Robert McGill will be booked into the Metropolitan Correctional Center in downtown San Diego after he is processed at FBI headquarters, Slotter told reporters. He is being charged with murder within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the U.S., or murder on the high seas.

The medical examiner arrived and removed the woman's body about three hours later, he said.

Other passengers said they were told nothing official but rumors flew on the ship Wednesday that a man may have killed his wife.

In a prepared statement, Carnival Cruise Lines acknowledged that the woman had been killed during a dispute with her husband in their cabin on the Elation during the return trip from a five-day voyage to Cabo San Lucas.

"The husband was taken into custody aboard the vessel, and all appropriate agencies, including the FBI and U.S. Coast Guard, were notified," the company stated. "FBI agents boarded the vessel early this morning to initiate an investigation. The cruise line is providing its full cooperation and support."

A Carnival "care team" was on hand to offer help to anyone traumatized by the incident, according to the cruise line, which also stated that its staff's "thoughts and prayers go out to the victim's family."

Because the murder occurred in international waters, the incident is being handled by the FBI, not local authorities, he said.