Kenneth and Kristy manzanares had every reason to be jovial onboard the Emerald Princess. The couple told friends that they were celebrating their anniversary, along with their children, with a memorable cruise vacation.

Joy turned to gruesome tragedy Wednesday night, July 26, as kenneth manzanares was found with his hands covered in blood, matching the blood-soaked cabin shared by the family, and his wife dead from a severe head wound.

The husband replied with curt brevity when he was asked what happened by investigators. “She would not stop laughing at me,” were his words on the scene.

No mystery in this murder

The Emerald Princess was packed with 3400 passengers and 1100 crew members when it left from Seattle on Sunday.

The massive ship departed from Ketchikan, Alaska on Tuesday, and had to divert to Juneau as a result of the death. Passengers were kept on board for hours while ship’s investigators, FBI, and other authorities investigated. They were finally allowed to have a few hours shore time before final arrival Wednesday, six hours ahead of schedule.

“For us, it's just a weekend,” one passenger related, “For them, it’s their lives.”

Ironically, a “murder mystery” dinner event was happening at the same time this horrible cascade of events began to unfold. Most tragically of all the details revealed is that one or more of the couple's children may have had to witness the unimaginable and brutal crime. Chris Ceman was a passenger who saw one of the couple's children come running from the room, calling for help, and saying her parents had had a fight.

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The child's desperation was clear, and the crew arrived as soon as possible, but not soon enough to halt this family’s pain and loss.

No way to forget

Another passenger, Charles Rowlan, heard not only a woman's screams but screams from what sounded like “little girls.” “You just knew it wasn't normal,” he insisted. Rowlan’s wife is a registered nurse, who saw Kenneth Manzanares over our balcony railing, covered in blood, with cuts and bruises. She made overtures to come to his aid, but at that moment ship security made an announcement for a team to come to the scene, and for all passengers to stay clear.

Kenneth Manzanares reportedly uttered, “My life is over,” while being processed during his FBI search.

It is 39-year-old Kristy Manzanares whose life is over, and the wife and mother who represented family, security, and love to her children will be absent forever now. Her daughter who frantically ran for help can never un-see what savage images she witnessed. She somehow must move forward, along with siblings, and live life without both parents. Her heart and her mind’s eye, however, will not forget.

How much better it would have been if Kenneth Manzanares had made the better choice to walk away from any laughter, mockingly intended or otherwise, and returned to a life and family intact.