US Virgin Islands Miss Sarm Heslop: Mother and father Need, Want, and Demand Solutions 5 Months After Disappearance
The parents of a British woman who disappeared from the U.S. Virgin Islands in March called for answers on Friday in a virtually nowhere case and urged her boyfriend to allow police to forensically search the yacht she was living on.
“There are no words for our suffering,” Brenda Street and Peter Heslop said in a joint statement on Friday. “We want, need and demand answers.”
Her daughter Sarm Heslop, 41, was last seen leaving Bar 420 to Center on St. John with boyfriend Ryan Bane, 44, around 10 p.m. on March 7.
(Friends and Family of Sarm Heslop)
“When I got the call from Bane that Sarm was missing, I had a complete breakdown, crying, screaming and then numbness,” said Street. “I still can’t understand how much time I lost contacting the Virgin Islands Coast Guard. If I had woken up to find my partner missing from a boat, I would have screamed and screamed to get attention and even gave off a flare. … Why? I will never forgive Bane for failing to protect my daughter. “
RYAN BANES LAWYER RESPONSE TO USVI POLICE CLAIMS THEY HAVE LOST TRACKS OF SARM HESLOP’S FRIEND’S TOP
The two were on his 47-foot catamaran, the Siren Song, which was anchored nearby. Bane reported Heslop missing to the police at around 2:30 a.m. the next morning – but allegedly didn’t call the U.S. Coast Guard until around noon to report that she might have gone overboard.
A close up of the tattoo on Heslop’s left shoulder.
(Friends and Family of Sarm Heslop)
Heslop was a strong swimmer, her parents said, and Frank Bay, where the boat was anchored about 100 yards offshore, is shallow and calm the night she disappeared.
“My days are devoured by what happened in the hours between Bane’s discovery of Sarm as missing and Bane’s call to the Coast Guard,” said Peter Heslop. “Why didn’t he call for help or sound the alarm to notify the other two boats moored nearby that Sarm is missing? … No one except Bane can explain why he did not land the coast guard until eight hours after talking to the police. “
US VIRGIN ISLANDS MISSING WIFE SARM HESLOP’S FRIENDS OFFER REWARD MONEY FOR THEIR STAY
Through his attorney, Bane has claimed that he had nothing to do with Heslop’s disappearance and that the ordeal left him “devastated” and “heartbroken”.
(Friends and Family of Sarm Heslop)
Peter Heslop said Bane told him about his daughter’s disappearance on March 9. He was told that they had gone out to dinner and returned to the boat to watch a movie.
“Bane claimed that at [2 a.m.] He heard noises, went on deck to look, found nothing and returned to find Sarm missing, “he said.” Ryan told me he had reported Sarm missing to the police but was told that you can’t do anything for 48 hours. “
The police told him to contact the US Coast Guard. The USCG said it received the call about “a possible person in the water” at around 11:45 am. A massive search of land and sea found nothing.
Almost five months later, with little progress in the missing person’s investigation, Heslop’s parents, friends, and other relatives become concerned.
“When your daughter goes missing from her boyfriend’s boat in the USVI while she is 100 yards from shore, with no evidence, no clues and no answers, this is the most traumatic, confusing and disturbing time imaginable,” said Street.
And the parents said that neither the police nor their daughter’s boyfriend gave them an explanation “how a healthy young lady, his girlfriend, disappeared without a trace”.
“They say time heals, but not when your daughter is missing,” said Peter Heslop. “How can you go on when you don’t have answers to so many questions?”
In search of answers, Heslop’s parents ask Bane to voluntarily submit to a “full forensic search” of the siren song – something he is not legally required to do. Bane has not been charged with a crime in connection with her disappearance, and police said back in April that she “must have a probable reason” to force a search.
“I’m going to ask Bane to call in to facilitate a forensic search,” added Street. “He has a duty to protect the people aboard his boat, and a search of his boat will surely only help find his girlfriend and our daughter.”
Law enforcement experts said it should have been relatively easy for local police to obtain a search warrant for the boat.
“You have enough probable reasons, I think,” Jerry Forrester, a former FBI agent and private investigator who worked extensively in the Caribbean, told Fox News three weeks after the woman’s disappearance. “She’s missing and she was on that boat. … They just aren’t doing their job.”
US Virgin Islands miss SARM HESLOP: “NOT NORMAL” FOR THE POLICE NOT TO LOOK FOR FRIENDS ‘YACHT, EXPERTS SAYS
Police have since said that they have not determined whether Heslop returned to the Siren Song the night she went missing, despite having started referring to him as a “person of interest” in recent interviews.
Bane was also convicted of domestic violence against his ex-wife Corie Stevenson in 2011 after police found her with a broken tooth, scratched face and neck, and other injuries. In several interviews she claimed that he was physically and verbally abusive, easy to get angry and “he will lie about anything”.
The booking photo of Bane’s arrest for domestic violence in 2011.
(Oakland County Sheriff’s Office)
The Police and Virgin Islands Prosecutor’s Office has not responded to questions about whether they have ever filed a search warrant for the Siren Song.
But investigators told Fox News last week that they wanted to speak to Bane again in connection with the case.
“As this is an ongoing investigation, Virgin Islands police claim we want to question Ryan Bane because he was the last person to have contact with Ms. Heslop,” VIPD spokesman Toby Derima told Fox News on Friday.
Bane was also quoted by the Coast Guard for allegedly blocking full access to his ship and other violations as part of a routine search after Heslop was reported missing.
“Our boarding team has been denied full access by the operator in order to conduct a full security clearance of the ship,” said Lt. Cmdr. Jason Neiman, a Coast Guard spokesman, told Fox News last week. “It was administrative boarding, so penalties, even if not fully decided, are not criminal and are typically used to fix a security breach.”
Bane’s attorney David Cattie countered that it was his client who first called the coast guard to the catamaran.
“Several officers went on board the ship and carried out an on-site inspection of the ship and an on-site interview without restriction,” he said last Friday. “We have not received a preliminary assessment or fine for suspected violations. If and when one is received, we will act accordingly.”
Cattie did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the new statement from Heslop’s parents.
At the end of their statement, Heslop’s parents thanked the Coast Guard, Virgin Islands Police and the local community for their previous help in finding Sarm.
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
Anyone with information on their whereabouts is encouraged to contact the US Virgin Islands Police Department or Crime Stoppers USVI at (800) 222-TIPS.
Heslop is 5 feet, 8 inches tall, has a slender stature, brown hair, and a colorful tattoo on her left shoulder that includes a sea horse, butterfly, bird, and pink flower.
Friends started a GoFundMe campaign to collect rewards for information that cracks the case.