Missing Couple Feared Dead after Hijacking in Caribbean

(USNewsMag.com) – On February 22nd, the Royal Grenada Police Force announced that an American couple is believed to be dead after three escaped prisoners hijacked their yacht, named Simplicity, near the shores of Grand Anse Beach in Grenada.

In a statement, the police said it appears the missing couple was killed, adding that the investigation is in the beginning stages. According to the preliminary investigation, the three prisoners, Ron Mitchell, 30; Anita Stanislaus, 25; and Trevon Robertson, 19, hijacked the yacht in St. George’s in Grenada after escaping from prison on February 18th. The three had been arrested in December, charged with one count of robbery with violence. Mitchell also faces charges of rape and indecent assault. On February 21st, the three escapees were located and taken into custody again.

The local police, the U.S. Embassy, and the Grenada police are involved in the investigation. The yacht is in the possession of the St. Vincent Coast Guard after being found “anchored and abandoned” off a beach on the island of St. Vincent by a cruising skipper.

The couple has been identified as Kathy Brandel, 71; and Ralph Hendry, 66; longtime Salty Dawg Sailing Association members. The nonprofit said the couple, traveling on their final voyage with the association, was “warmhearted and capable.”

According to a GoFundMe page that is raising money to cover funeral costs and recover the couple’s vessel and belongings, Brandel and Hendry were last seen on February 18th. It is believed the couple was killed the following day as the yacht bears “chilling evidence of a violent struggle.”

Seasoned sailors, the couple spent their retirement sailing, according to the GoFundMe page. Hendry’s sister, Suellen Desmaris, said sailing and Simplicity “was their whole life.” The catamaran was their home, and it was usually docked in Florida. However, the couple sailed their catamaran from Hampton, Virginia, to Antigua as part of the 2023 Caribbean Rally and were cruising in the eastern Caribbean for the winter.

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