Family searching for answers months after man disappears from cruise ship

SILVERTON, Ore. - A family is still looking for answers months after a Silverton man disappeared from a cruise ship in the Caribbean.

Jason Rappe, 42, was last seen on a Holland America cruise with his wife last November.

His brother says they still don't know what happened to Jason, and the company refuses to give them any information.

Searchers never found Jason's body, just his Pittsburgh Steelers cap on the top deck of the ship.

"That particular piece of information is the thing that tears me apart the most," said Eric Rappe. "Jason never took off his hat, ever."

Eric said he knows his brother well enough to believe he's not someone who would jump overboard, as the cruise company claimed.

"I'm sure that every family says that with a suicide in their family. No doubt in my mind. No one wants to believe that could happen. But there's just no doubt in my mind that that is not what happened."

Jason had just survived a battle with cancer that took one of his eyes, Eric said. After a rough couple of years, Jason and his wife Tina were excited to relax on the cruise.

On the night he disappeared, Jason was last seen at a bar with his wife, Eric said. She was on the dance floor when he told another passenger he was going to the restroom and walked outside.

He hasn't been seen since.

"He disappeared I think 80 miles outside of St. Thomas," Eric said.

Searchers found Jason's hat on the top deck during a full search of the ship.

"They kept going for four hours, Even after they found his hat."

Eric said Holland America never gave his family any answer to what happened. He thinks the company is trying to keep his brother's disappearance quiet.

"They don't care. They just don't care. All they want is for it to go away."

A Holland America representative told KATU News he's waiting on management to respond to a request for a comment. In December, the company said in a statement that their thoughts and prayers were with the Rappe family.

The Broward County Sheriff's Office in Florida still lists Jason as a missing person.

"It's unbelievable," said Eric. "I cry about it every day."