Suspect charged with murder after professor girlfriend ‘falls two floors’ to her death while aboard cruise ship

A Kansas man was indicated on murder charges Thursday after authorities said he killed his girlfriend and “long-time partner” aboard a cruise ship earlier this year.

ABC reports that Eric Newman and his girlfriend, Tamara Tucker, were aboard the Carnival Elation ship for a four-day excursion to the Bahamas when Tucker fell from the “balcony to several decks below early on the morning of Jan. 19.” Newman is accused of killing Tucker, but Jim Cross, spokesman for the Department of Justice in Kansas, declined to comment any further on the incident.

The pair boarded the ship from Jacksonville, Florida the day prior. Witnesses, according to the Miami Herald, stated that other passengers were ordered to remain aboard the ship while authorities investigated.

“We weren’t [allowed] off the boat to Freeport until they investigated it. They were taking pictures [and everything],” passenger Megan Burdewick texted to her mother,Maureen La Bryer, who spoke with the Herald. “Her [Tucker] room is right by ours and this guy was guarding it the entire day had the door half cracked pitch dark [sic].”

Tucker fell from the balcony of the stateroom on the 14th deck of the ship to the 11th deck, officials confirmed.

“The ship’s medical team responded immediately, but, unfortunately, she passed away,” Carnival Cruise Line spokesman Vance Gulliksen said.

According to Tucker’s obituary, she passed away two days after her 50th birthday. Originally from Lawson, Missouri, Tucker was a professor of social work and a full-time faculty member at Park University in Missouri.

Newman is facing second-degree murder charged. He’s scheduled for a detention hearing on September 12.

[Feature Photo: Eric Newman and Tamara Tucker/Shawnee County Department of Corrections; Cremation Society of Kansas & Missouri]