U.S. couple vanish from yacht in the Caribbean: ‘It looked like a robbery, or something much WORSE’

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A catamaran captain was paddle-boarding along the St. Vincent shore when he came across a ransacked yacht with a broken, unrolled sail last month.

‘It was not a very typical place to drop anchor,’ Bernat Buj said in an exclusive interview in the latest issue, on newsstands Friday. ‘And that caught my attention.’

Concerned, he boarded Simplicity, calling out three times in the hope of finding someone on board.

There was ‘a great mess throughout the ship, and I thought it was the scene of a robbery,’ Buj says. ‘But when I entered a cabin and saw blood, I thought it could be something much worse.’

He found two American passports belonging to Kathy Brandel and Ralph Hendry.

Details of The Incident

Kathy – a retired real estate agent who would have turned 71 on Feb. 21 – and Ralph – a 66-year-old financial advisor who worked from their yacht – had been cruising in Grenada when they suddenly stopped communicating with family on Feb. 18, according to their sons.

After finding the couple’s abandoned yacht – 80 miles from their last reported mooring – in Wallilabou Bay, St. Vincent, the captain reported the ‘unoccupied sailing vessel’ to the local Coast Guard Service Feb. 21.

‘The entire interior of the vessel and its decks were ransacked,’ the Coast Guard’s commanding officer wrote in an internal memorandum to the country’s police commissioner.

READ ALSO: Mother, 33, is charged with the MURDER of 10-year-old Shay Kang in Rowley Regis

Missing from the internal correspondence was the working theory between police forces in Grenada and St. Vincent that three Grenadian inmates who had escaped their holding cell the same day the couple went missing, had allegedly hijacked their yacht and thrown them overboard en route to St. Vincent.

The three fugitives – sailor Ron Mitchell, 30, Abita Stanislaus, 25, and Trevon Robertson, 19 – who had been arrested for a violent robbery in December, were re-apprehended on St. Vincent on Feb. 21.

Video of one arrest, published by local media, includes shouts of ‘Gun! Gun! Gun!’ and an escapee in his underwear, blood streaming down his legs as an official rounds him into the back of a pick-up truck.

An insider close to the investigation alleges that at least two of the men have confessed to Ralph’s and Kathy’s murders.

The men, who were deported to Grenada on March 4, have not been officially charged in the case. Although the couple’s bodies have not been found, they are presumed dead. Buj says he is still holding out hope. ‘I wish this story could have a happy ending,’ he says.

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Ola Alabi
Ola Moses is a certified writer, He writes technically and creatively. He is the CEO of WORDSWORTH, a house where writing is made easier for all. He is a content creator at EsB TV, since 2019. He is a young man that showcases professionalism in all that he does, he was announced as Child and Green Foundation Person of the Year 2018, one of his many lists of honours.

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