Guernsey Press

Mother tells of fears daughter who vanished from yacht in 2021 was murdered

Sarm Heslop, 41, of Southampton, went missing from a catamaran in the US Virgin Islands almost exactly three years ago.


The mother of a 41-year-old woman who went missing from a yacht in the US Virgin Islands three years ago now believes her daughter was murdered.

Sarm Heslop, from Southampton, Hampshire, went missing from the Siren Song, a catamaran owned and operated by her American boyfriend, Ryan Bane, off the coast of St John in the early hours of March 8, 2021.

Her mother Brenda Street, 67, told The People newspaper: “I don’t believe Sarm just went missing. I believe she was murdered. I want justice for her.

Sarm Heslop missing
Sarm Heslop went missing almost three years ago (FindSarm/PA)

After three years without answers, Ms Street, of Ongar, Essex, says she feels “let down” by police on the Caribbean tourist hotspot and “hatred” for Mr Bane, whom she accuses of not doing enough to help find her daughter.

The family now have an investigator, a former Metropolitan Police commander of homicide and serious crime, who is helping them look into the case as they await updates from the force on the island.

Ms Street, who has previously travelled to the island as part of the search for her daughter, told the paper: “There’s too many things that don’t make sense and don’t add up.

“When we went to the island, people wouldn’t speak to us about Sarm and on the posters asking for information someone had gone round and scrubbed out the number to call.”

Sarm Heslop missing
Sarm Heslop’s family are investigating her disappearance with the help of a former Met commander (FindSarm/PA Media)

Under US law, Mr Bane – the last person known to have seen Miss Heslop and described as a “person of interest” by police – can stay silent and officers must show “probable cause” to get a search warrant.

His lawyer David Cattie said in a statement to the newspaper: “Mr Bane is heartbroken over Sarm’s disappearance. We certainly understand and empathise with her mother’s pain and frustration.

“Mr Bane called 911 immediately upon waking and finding Sarm was not on board. He took his dinghy to shore to meet with VIPD (Virgin Islands Police Department) that night and called the USCG (US Coast Guard) the next day when no-one appeared at his boat. He also had the USCG on his vessel twice following Sarm’s disappearance.

“Later Mr Bane and I personally took all of Sarm’s belongings to the police, including all of her electronic devices.”

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