A wealthy owner of Tiffany’s jewelry empire in Turkey mysteriously plunged to her death from a cruise ship cabin last month while on a birthday vacation with her Swiss lover – and her family suspects foul play, according to local reports.
Dilek Ertek, 71, fell to her death from the deck 11 of the Norwegian Spirit into the South Pacific Ocean Oct. 25 after departing from Papeete in Tahiti, the Daily Sabah reported.
Surveillance footage shows that she went overboard at about 3 a.m., and her body still hasn’t been recovered. Her unnamed 74-year-old lover didn’t report her missing for 20 hours.
Police questioned Ertek’s boyfriend after the ship returned to Papeete, Tahiti, but released him, citing a lack of evidence. He returned to Switzerland, according to local reports.
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“I find it very suspicious,” a local officer told Sabah. “People who cannot hear from each other inform the front desk and make an announcement. So it is confusing that the news of the disappearance is given 20 hours later.”
The jewelry magnate’s son Gökçe Atuk immediately flew to Tahiti and urged authorities to investigate Ertek’s lover, according to the newspaper.
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Several expensive pieces of jewelry were missing from her cabin safe, the son told police.
The circumstances of the fall are puzzling, according to experts. The 5-foot-2 woman went over the 3-foot-high railing from the balcony of her cabin.
“It is difficult to fall from this type of passenger and cruise ship,” Mustafa Can, a ship captain, told local news outlets.
The cruise left Papeete Island on October 24 and was due to visit Bora Bora before ending in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Ertek opened her first Tiffany & Co. store in Istanbul in 1995 before serving as the key distributor for the nation for more than two decades.
She studied at New York’s Gemological Institute of America.
Ertek’s family is preparing a wrongful death lawsuit against the cruise ship company, local media reported.
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A spokesperson for the cruise line told Fox News Digital that an investigation into Ertek’s death is ongoing. “The authorities were notified and the United States Coast Guard conducted a search and rescue operation,” the statement says. “Our thoughts and prayers are with her loved ones during this difficult time.”