Man blocks search for yacht where girlfriend was last seen
A British woman last seen aboard her boyfriend’s yacht in the U.S. Virgin Islands is still missing almost two weeks later – and now police officers say her boyfriend won’t let her search the boat.
Ryan Bane, who owns the 47-foot luxury catamaran, reported missing girlfriend Sarm Heslop (41), who was missing on March 8, but was then immediately reported as a lawyer, the Virgin Islands police told the British telegram on Friday evening.
The boat is moored off the coast of St. John – and banned from police – while the massive search for waters continues.
“Shortly after he reported Ms. Heslop missing, Mr. Bane acquired the services of a lawyer,” the police told the Telegram in a statement.
“On the advice of his attorney, Mr. Bane exercised his constitutional right to maintain secrecy and refused the officials’ request to search the ship.”
Authorities would need an arrest warrant to search the boat. But they can’t get one because Heslop’s disappearance wasn’t classified as a criminal case.
“We thought we could just ask Mr. Bane to search the boat and he would say yes,” police spokesman Toby Derima told the British newspaper.
“But he didn’t.”
The couple went ashore for dinner and then returned to the yacht at 10 p.m. On Sunday March 7th, the authorities said.
Ryan called the local police at 2:30 a.m. the next morning and said he had just woken up to find that Heslop was no longer on board, even though her passport, purse and phone were left behind.
Police told Ryan to call the U.S. Coast Guard immediately. But Ryan reportedly waited until almost noon the next day to report Heslop’s disappearance of San Juan Station to the US Coast Guard.
The missing woman’s family called on British authorities on Friday to intervene and help.
“We want to assure you that the Virgin Islands authorities are doing everything possible to find them and that the investigation into the disappearance of our beautiful and valued daughter involves a full fingertip search of the boat,” family members said in a statement.
“We will never give up looking for Sarm, and we still have the hope of finding her safe.”
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