FORNEY — Passengers saw what happened, but no one really knows how — or why — a Forney man fell to his death from a cruise ship on Saturday night.
Investigators said Clint Markham, 39, jumped from a 9th level deck. Witnesses said it was a dare, he was drunk and he slipped into the water.
The Carnival Conquest pulled into port at Galveston Sunday without Markham on board.
"I don't know what he was thinking," said one witness. "I don't know if he was intoxicated to that point that he thought, 'Hey, I can do this.' Or he thought, 'I can jump off and they'll come get me.' Or if he really intentionally meant that. Whatever it was, we just gotta say a little prayer."
The official statement from Carnival Cruise Lines said Markham "jumped overboard," but Melvin McAfee, Markham's neighbor and good friend, said there's no way he did it intentionally; Markham had too much to live for.
"I can't see him killing himself, committing suicide," McAfee said.
Markham lived in a modest brick home with his wife Michelle and their children. Friends said he recently purchased a black BMW for his son and was eager to vacation with his wife.
But the seven-day cruise to Cozumel became their last trip together.
"I've heard of that a few years ago of someone falling off a ship and they couldn't find the body, but this close to home is unbelievable... it's unreal," McAfee said.
Mexican search and rescue operations had yet to recover Markham's body as of late Sunday.
Staff aboard the Carnival Conquest have reportedly assisted Markham's wife during her time of grief.