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Fifty six years ago, a young girl embarked on a fairy tale vacation with her family, only to have it become the stuff of nightmarish legend.
Now she has shared the story of a holiday gone murderously wrong, and the tale is a shocking today as it was in 1961 when it made international headlines. You are not going to believe this woman’s true story of survival on the high seas.
Eleven year old Terry Jo Duperrault and her family were planning the adventure of a lifetime in 1961. Like something out of a Disney movie, the Green Bay, Wisconsin family were going to explore the Bahamas on an old fashioned sailboat.
After saving for years, forty one year old Dr. Arthur Duperrault and his wife, Jean, finally had enough money to take their three children, Brian, Terry Jo, and Renee on a whirlwind sailing trip around the Atlantic Ocean.
They flew to Fort Lauderdale, Florida and chartered the Bluebelle, a sixty foot sailboat captained by Julian Harvey and his wife Mary. The boat set sail `on November 8, 1961, and for four days, the crew and passengers enjoyed a wonderful experience.
After four days of hitting such exotic locales as Bimini and Sandy Point, on the night of the 12th, horror erupted on board the Bluebelle.
Eleven year old Terry Jo retired to her cabin early in the evening, but was awakened by her brother’s screams late in the night.
She said later “I was awakened by my brother screaming ‘Help, daddy, help’. It was the type of scream that you know that something horrible is happening.”
This was the night that captain Harvey murdered his wife and everyone else on board. His motive? A life insurance policy taken against his wife, Mary.
When Dr. Duperrault stumbled upon Harvey as he was murdering her, he tried to intervene but was killed as well. Harvey then decided the rest of the family must die to eliminate witnesses.
Terry Jo came out from her cabin to find her mother and brother dead in a pool of blood, and she ran back into her cabin to hide. She only reemerged after Harvey began to flood the boat and water started entering her berth.
After a brief encounter with the madman on deck, she managed to grab a small float and jump into the water as the Bluebelle descended into its watery grave.
After several harrowing days at sea, suffering from exposure, dehydration and starvation, she was rescued by the crew of a Greek freighter called the Captain Theo.
When they pulled the little girl aboard one of the crew took a picture of her with his brownie camera that became the headline picture for a story that shocked the world.
Terry Jo recovered and returned to Green Bay, where she was raised by her aunt alongside her three cousins.
An investigation into the chilling crime uncovered that captain Harvey had been married five other times and one of his wives died in a tragic automobile crash that he somehow escaped from unscathed.
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