Missing US Couple Were Allegedly Thrown Overboard

Police say the yacht of Kathy Brandel and Ralph Hendry was hijacked by escaped prisoners in Grenada
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 26, 2024 12:59 PM CST
Cops: Missing US Couple Likely Thrown Overboard
Investigators stand aboard the yacht "Simplicity," now anchored at the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Coastguard Service Calliaqua Base, in Calliaqua, St. Vincent.   (AP Photo/Kenton X. Chance)

The slim hopes that two missing Americans whose yacht was hijacked are still alive got even slimmer on Monday with a police assessment. Authorities in Grenada say it's likely that Ralph Hendry, 66, and wife Kathy Brandel, 71, were thrown overboard and died in the Caribbean, reports the AP. "Information suggests that while traveling between Grenada and St. Vincent, (the assailants) disposed of the occupants," said Don McKenzie, commissioner of the Royal Grenada Police. Coverage:

  • Escapees: Police say three men escaped from a police station in Grenada on Feb. 18 and hijacked the couple's yacht, "Simplicity," the following day. (Details of the hijacking itself remain unclear; it may have been docked at the time.) Authorities say the escapees sailed to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, where they were recaptured on Wednesday. They are identified as Trevon Robertson, 19; Abita Stanislaus, 25; and Ron Mitchell, 30, per the New York Times. One of them is hospitalized for a gunshot wound to the leg, according to People.

  • Signs of altercation: The abandoned yacht was found anchored. "The boat itself was ransacked and everything was strewn about in the entire cabin, so clearly there was an altercation of some type that took place," Nick Buro, son of Brandel, tells CNN.
  • Life at sea: Hendry and Brendel, married 27 years, are experienced sailors who sold their Virginia home in 2013 to live aboard their yacht. "They wanted to see what the world had to offer outside of their small window of living in one place and being mobile and being able to have a different adventure every day—that's like the definition of living," Buro tells NBC News. The story has more details on their adventures as members of the Salty Dawg Sailing Association, which first alerted the family about the abandoned yacht.
  • Some hope: Police aren't ruling out the possibility that the couple is still alive. "We have nothing conclusive to say that the individuals are dead," said the Grenada police official. "We still hold out hope that in spite (of) what might be a low probability, that they would turn up alive somewhere."
(More missing persons stories.)

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