Family: No foul play in cruise ship death

Kipi Holcomb, 32, was found dead in her room aboard a cruise ship. Her family said she enjoyed traveling and felt most at home on the sea.

February 22, 2010 2:57:20 PM PST
A Brazoria County woman's body was found in her stateroom on a Carnival cruise ship and now the FBI is investigating. Kipi Holcomb and her boyfriend set sail out of Galveston on the Carnival Ecstasy cruise ship last Monday. What supposed to be a very special trip to Mexico ended tragically less than 24 hours later. The FBI is looking into the matter, calling it at this point nothing more than a routine investigation.

Relatives say Kipi Holcomb, 32, felt at home on the high seas, travelling the world. She once took a college course that included a semester aboard a cruise ship.

Kipi's mother Sharon Holcomb told Eyewitness News, "She went to Portugal, Ecuador, Tahiti, the Galapagos."

While being at sea was Holcomb's passion, the cruise to Mexico would be her last. She died less than 24 hours after leaving Galveston. Her boyfriend found her unresponsive in her bed Tuesday morning.

"He's totally devastated," Sharon said. "They were very much in love and had great plans."

The couple had talked about getting engaged and planned to pick out a ring during the trip. Holcomb's family does not suspect foul play. They believe she died of natural causes.

Sharon said, "I just think that God took her home. I just think that she fulfilled her duties on this earth."

The ship docked Saturday and Holcomb's body was taken to the Galveston County Medical Examiner's office for an autopsy. Anytime someone dies at sea, the FBI has jurisdiction and is often called in to investigate as a matter of principle.

A local FBI spokesperson told Eyewitness News, "It is important to note that the existence of an investigation is not an indication of foul play."

The autopsy is not yet complete. Pathologists are awaiting the results of toxicology tests which could take three weeks. Holcomb's family says they aren't aware of any prior health or medical issues.