Detectives admit they’ve ‘lost’ missing British woman Sarm Heslop’s boyfriend as they issue an appeal for the 44-year-old ‘to tell us what happened the night she disappeared from his boat’

  • Police admitted they ‘don’t know’ where American skipper Ryan Bane now is
  • The 44-year-old is ‘the only person of interest’ in disappearance, police said 
  • Sarm Heslop, 41, vanished on March 8 from Bane’s boat off US Virgin Islands
  • She was last seen March 7 leaving a restaurant with Bane on the island of St John
  • Bane refused to allow police to search his catamaran after Heslop vanished 

Detectives have admitted to ‘losing’ the boyfriend of a missing British woman who is the only person of interest in her disappearance.

Police have issued a fresh appeal for Ryan Bane, an American skipper, to explain what happened on the night Sarm Heslop disappeared, The Mirror reported on Saturday.

Heslop, 41, vanished on March 8 from Bane’s boat, which was moored off the US Virgin Islands.

Bane, 44, said he had last seen Heslop onboard but would not allow police to search the vessel. 

‘We have been keeping track of Ryan Bane but right now we don’t know where he is,’ USVI police department spokesman Toby Derima told The Mirror.

‘I appeal to him now to contact us. I want to appeal to his conscience, to let us know what happened the night Sarm disappeared.’

Derima added that police believed Bane could be on another Caribbean island.

‘He is a person of interest to us and he is the only person of interest. We are not looking for anyone else.’


Detectives have admitted to ‘losing’ the boyfriend of a missing British woman who is the only person of interest in her disappearance. Police have issued a fresh appeal for Ryan Bane (right), an American skipper, to explain what happened on the night Sarm Heslop (left) disappeared

 Heslop (left), 41, vanished on March 8 from Bane’s boat, which was moored off the US Virgin Islands. The 44-year-old Bane (right) said he had last seen Heslop onboard but would not allow police to search the vessel

Pictured: A map showing where the Siren Song was moored in the US Virgin islands when Sarm Heslop, 41, was reported missing on March 8, with American Ryan Bane, 44, telling officers that she may have fallen from the couple’s catamaran

A friend of Heslop’s said the former flight attendant met her boyfriend ‘at some point last year’ while she was in quarantine having sailed to the Caribbean with two friends in 2019. The couple then locked-down together during the coronavirus pandemic. 

According to Bane, the couple had dinner together on March 7 at around 10pm before returning to the catamaran where they watched a movie. Bane then claims that he woke up at around 2am to find his girlfriend missing.

Bane, who owns and skippers the 47-foot-long £500,000 Siren Song, said he was awoken by the boat’s anchor alarm, which sounds when a vessel has moved too far from its mooring, and then discovered his girlfriend was missing.  

The US Coast Guard told local media it was alerted to Heslop’s disappearance at 11.46am.

Bane called the Coast Guard’s San Juan station reporting that ‘his girlfriend may have fallen’ from the yacht. 

The Leopard 4700 luxury catamaran was moored off the coast of St John, the third-largest of the US Virgin Islands. 

In March, lawyers representing Bane said that he is ‘devastated’ that his girlfriend is missing, but said he would not be speaking to the media. 

 Bane, who owns and skippers the 47-foot-long £500,000 Siren Song (pictured), said he was awoken by the boat’s anchor alarm, which sounds when a vessel has moved too far from its mooring, and then discovered his girlfriend was missing

Police have been unable to find any evidence that Heslop, from Southampton, returned to the boat after the couple were seen leaving dinner at the 420 to Center bar and restaurant on the island of St John at about 10pm on March 7.

Nor did they find any evidence that she had gone into the water. Her phone, passport and other belongings had reportedly been found on the catamaran. 

Bane, who has a conviction for assaulting his ex-wife, was charged with obstructing law agents by refusing to let US Coast Guard officials search his boat.

 

When the officials boarded, Bane is reported to have stood in a doorway and told them they could not enter. He was handed a citation, which does not result in a criminal record.

The investigation has been further complicated by a power outage knocking out CCTV in the bar where the couple was last seen. 

Divers from various law enforcement agencies have searched hundreds of square feet of water for Heslop. 

Volunteers from the Virgin Islands have also scoured the area around Cruz Bay during daylight hours, police said.  

‘We want more than anything to find out what happened to Sarm and to help her family,’ Derima said. 

Friends and family have said Heslop would not have abandoned her life freely or without contacting any of her loved ones. Some have expressed disbelief that she might have fallen overboard. 

Her parents, Peter and Brenda, said in March that they would ‘never give up’ looking for her and still hoped to find her alive. 

Kate Owen, a friend of the couple who moved with Ms Heslop to the Caribbean 15 months ago, reportedly said Bane has stopped contacting her.

In May, Heslop’s friends set up a GoFundMe page to provide a reward for information and to cover her parent’s travel costs to reach the islands.

As of the morning of July 4, it had reached £8,451 of its £10,000 goal.    

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