U.S. Couple Likely Thrown Overboard and Presumed Dead After Catamaran Hijacking in Caribbean

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — An older U.S. couple, Ralph Hendry and Kathy Brandel, who were sailing their catamaran in the Caribbean, are presumed dead after their vessel was hijacked by three escaped prisoners last week. The grim announcement was made by police in Grenada on Monday, dealing a blow to those who had been involved in the independent search efforts for the couple.

According to Don McKenzie, the police commissioner of the Royal Grenada Police Force, the three prisoners had escaped from the South Saint George Police Station on February 18. The following day, they hijacked the catamaran named “Simplicity” and set course for St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The fugitives were apprehended last Wednesday in St. Vincent.

McKenzie revealed that information suggests the prisoners disposed of Hendry and Brandel while traveling between Grenada and St. Vincent. However, he emphasized that there is no conclusive evidence to confirm their deaths. Despite the low probability, authorities still hold out hope that the couple may be found alive. McKenzie cited limited information due to the ongoing investigation and the lack of details shared with his Vincentian counterpart.

The nonprofit Salty Dawg Sailing Association described Hendry and Brandel as “veteran cruisers” and longstanding members of the organization. The couple had participated in last year’s Caribbean Rally from Hampton, Virginia, to Antigua and were spending the winter cruising in the eastern Caribbean. Messages left for their respective sons seeking comment went unanswered.

A GoFundMe page has been established to support the couple’s family, highlighting Brandel’s recent joy of becoming a first-time grandmother and expressing the sailing community’s devastation over the incident. The page also mentioned that Hendry and Brandel had embraced a life of adventure during their retirement, sailing aboard the Simplicity and dividing their time between New England summers and Caribbean winters.

In response to the tragedy, a five-person team from Grenada has been dispatched to St. Vincent to assist with the investigation. During a press conference, McKenzie and other police officials fielded questions from local media, including inquiries about the responsibility for the escape and subsequent tragedy. McKenzie confirmed that an investigation into the escape is underway, exploring the possibility of a system failure or a slip-up.

The escaped prisoners, aged 19, 25, and 30, had been charged a few months ago with robbery with violence. The eldest inmate faced additional charges of rape, attempted rape, indecent assault, and causing harm, as stated by Grenada police.

CrimeDoor
Author: CrimeDoor

2 Responses

  1. Interesting fact: According to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center, Puerto Rico has the highest percentage of older adults in the United States, with 20% of its population being 65 years or older.

  2. In this post, the author discusses a news article about an older U.S. couple who moved to Puerto Rico. The couple, who are in their 60s, decided to leave their home in the United States and start a new life in Puerto Rico. The article highlights the couple’s reasons for making this move, such as the lower cost of living and the warmer climate.

    The author also shares their own insights on the topic. They mention that many older Americans are choosing to retire in Puerto Rico

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