Photo of Lisa Bishop taken shortly before she vanished along with seven other Haiti Crew Members while on a ship called ”Freedon.”

Pictured; Florian Meyer Bourch

Lisa Bishop was a journalism student residing in Georgia. In 1987, while at a Atlanta nightclub owned by her boyfriend, she met a 28-year-old blonde-haired, blue-eyed German national named Florian Bourch. According to Linda Bishop, Lisa’s mother, Florian was described as a marine mechanic and a sea captain who was a ”drifter who sponged off others, a freeloader.”

Approximately one year after meeting in the nightclub, Bourch offered to take her to Haiti on a freighter-ship called ”Freedon.” Lisa jumped on the offer and was ecstatic at this once in a life-time opportunity. She was planning on writing an article about the contrasts between the wealth of America and the economic devastation of Haiti. She was going to be departing Miami and transporting roughly 500 miles across the Atlantic.

Pictured; Freedon

Her loved ones tried to talk her out of the trip but she was hooked and had her mind-set and on the Morning of the trip she phoned her mother to say goodbye: “I could feel something was wrong. Mother’s intuition, I guess you could call it. Lisa was to call me when she arrived. And that call never came.” said Linda.

Paul Cornwell, Lisa’s boyfriend of three years, was upset about the trip:

“I didn’t trust him with Lisa. Of course, I was concerned about Florian, you know, being a young guy. And she tried to tell me there was nothing to worry about, there was nothing romantic.   I tried to discourage her as her parents tried to discourage her from going.”

On December 17th, 1988, at 2:30 in the afternoon tugboats eased the Freedom through the Miami River on its way out to sea. The Freedom’s planned route would take the ship 600 miles past the coast of Cuba to Gonaives, a small port on the western coast of Haiti. There were no storms and no distress calls, but the Freedom never arrived. When Lisa didn’t call on Christmas Day, her family immediately became concerned. They knew Lisa and she would’ve called.

Linda Bishop and her husband traveled to Miami:

“We came to Miami hoping to maybe get some answers from some of Florian’s friends or just find anything we could. We were desperate.”

Finally, Lisa’s parents received a promising lead. An underwater salvager named Bob Nyberg said that he had seen the ship two weeks after it was supposed to have disappeared:

“I remembered that while I was working in Grand Cayman in January of that year, there’d been a boat that came in. We were working underwater, directly in the harbor area where the ships pulled up and tied up. When I heard the ship coming in, we came up, and as I was coming out of the water, we looked back and noticed that the name was Freedon. F-R-E-E-D-O-N.   And I made a statement to my friend, that those guys need their freedom, they can’t even spell the word. They were there for some time that afternoon. The next morning the boat was gone.”

Nyberg saw the Freedon in Georgetown Harbor on Grand Cayman Island, over 500 miles from Haiti. It was the kind of news Linda Bishop had been hoping for:

“The fact that the ship was spotted, and that it had not gone down, brought me hope that Lisa was alive and had to be held against her will in order for her not to contact us.”

Lisa Bishop was never seen or heard from again, neither was Florian or the other seven passenger’s aboard the ship. The Freedon also remains a hidden mystery and many theories have come to mind, from trafficking to pirates, to smugglers, and even the mysterious Bermuda Triangle.

Lisa’s boyfriend, Paul Cornwell, and Bob Nyberg went to Grand Cayman to pursue the lead. They met a number of witnesses who claimed to have seen Florian around the same time that Nyberg spotted the Freedon. Apparently, Florian was not alone during his mysterious visit to Grand Cayman. Some saw him with a short man with black hair.

Paul returned to Atlanta and questioned a woman who had been storing Florian’s personal belongings. There he found a picture of the man seen with Florian in Grand Cayman. The woman said his name was Phillipe. Paul later found out that it was actually Phillipe who had chartered the Freedon.  

“The girl told me that he mentioned that he was involved in a large scale smuggling thing, and that something had gone wrong, and that they had gotten involved in something too deep that Lisa didn’t know about and couldn’t handle it. I feel that if Florian is out there, eventually, I’ll find out about it, and I’ll locate him.”

Authorities believe that Florian Meyer Bourch is the key to the Freedon’s disappearance.

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