Mystery over woman who 'vanished from boyfriend's yacht'

Nadine Carroll
·3-min read

FBI agents have launched a manhunt to find the boyfriend of missing British woman Sarm Heslop, after it’s alleged he fled and refused to allow investigators to search his yacht – the last place Ms Heslop was reportedly seen.

Ms Heslop was sailing in the Virgin Islands with Ryan Bane on his luxury yacht known as 'Siren Song' when he reported her missing around 2:30am on March 7, while the couple were anchored in shallow waters at Frank Bay, St. John.

After waiting almost 10 hours to follow police instructions and report Ms Heslop missing to the coast guard as well, Mr Bane, an American citizen, refused to allow an official search of his boat, obtained legal advice and has now disappeared, according to the New York Post.

The FBI has also joined the investigation for the missing woman.  

Sarm Heslop (left) and her boyfriend Ryan Bane (right)
Sarm Heslop (left) has been missing since her boyfriend, Ryan Bane (right) reported her missing from his yacht on March 7. Source: Facebook

The New York Post reported a source revealed Mr Bane had "sailed away from St. John on Thursday (local time)," leaving investigators scrambling to charter a boat to locate him.

The FBI told the outlet its headquarters in San Juan, Puerto Rico, is now assisting the US Virgin Island Police Department in the search.

Local boater, Rick Smith, said Mr Bane could have easily sailed just kilometres away to the British Virgin Islands where he could avoid extradition.

"He could have gone anywhere - to a Dutch, French, or even British island where there is no extradition," he said, as mystery continues to surround the case.

'It just doesn’t add up'

Friends and family of Ms Heslop have publicly demanded the search for the 41-year-old woman be made a priority after it was revealed Mr Bane, 40, had previously been arrested for assault toward his then wife, Cori Stevenson, in 2011.

Ms Heslop's best friend in the UK, Andrew Baldwin, told The Mirror the former flight attendant was too smart to just vanish.

“She would not just disappear, leaving no trace. She is savvy and sensible, it’s not like her at all, it just doesn’t add up,” he said.

missing British woman Sarm Heslop
'She is savvy and sensible': Sarm Heslop has been missing since March 7. Source: US Virgin Islands Police Department/PA Wire

Ms Heslop's family have updated social media frequently in the search for her and have suggested a "thorough investigation" has not been completed.

"It's been 18 days since Sarm went missing in the US Virgin Islands," they wrote on Facebook on Saturday. "We thank you all for your attention, support, effort and love during this hugely emotional time.

"She is a daughter, a sister, a niece and an auntie. A godmother, a girlfriend, a colleague and a best friend," they wrote on March 23.

"We will not leave quietly; we need a thorough investigation; we deserve answers. She deserves answers."

If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, find help by visiting Lifeline or calling 1800 RESPECT.

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