Missing woman’s husband finds hope in lawsuit


GM Today

WAUKESHA – In filing a lawsuit this week against Carnival Cruise Lines over his wife’s December disappearance, John Mizener feels he has hope.

Mizener filed the civil suit in Miami on Monday. Annette Mizener, 37, of Waukesha, went missing Dec. 4 from a cruise ship travelling back to Long Beach, Calif., from Mexico. He is seeking more than $15,000 in damages, a figure required in such suits seeking unlimited damages, said Charles Lipcon, a Miami-based attorney for Mizener.

Since the disappearance, John Mizener has complained about a lack of communication from Carnival and the FBI.

“I have hope we’re going to be able to (get answers) now that we have somebody working on our sides for the same reasons,” Mizener said Tuesday.

Since she went missing, the FBI has said only that the investigation is continuing, which a spokesperson reiterated Tuesday. Mizener said the FBI informed him several months ago the probe was delayed because of concerns for terrorist alerts.

His suit seeks answers such as those regarding a surveillance camera – near the deck where her purse was discovered – found with a piece of paper covering it. He also noted how her beads from the purse were found scattered on the deck floor.

“There’s always something,” Mizener said of the evidence. “And in this case here, yeah, I think there’s something to look at.”

After an interview with Mizener on Tuesday, no Carnival spokespeople were available for comment.

Mizener has hired the Milwaukee law firm Quarles & Brady and also Miami-based Lipcon, a prominent maritime attorney. Lipcon on Tuesday said the Mizener case is unique because the surveillance camera was covered.

He also noted how the ship failed to turn around for several hours after her disappearance. Carnival has said it followed protocol by searching the vessel first before turning around to search the Pacific Ocean waters.

Mizener hopes his side can look at evidence and talk to those involved through the discovery portion of the case. He also wants to help avoid tragedies for other families by changing the cruise company’s security practices, he said.

“I shouldn’t be having to go through this crap, and nobody else should either,” he said.

He and Lipcon both questioned why no security personnel were monitoring the camera or realized it had been covered.

“If I could see the videos, and they (Carnival) changed some things as far as security on the ships, it’d be done,” he said.

Annette Mizener was last seen at about 9:30 p.m. the night of Dec. 4. Two Carnival employees discovered her purse on a railing at about 11 p.m.

Next, Mizener’s side will serve papers on Carnival, Lipcon said, and the company will have 20 days to respond.

Mizener and his wife had been married for three years and had recently launched a business together selling nutritional supplies.