American couple on ‘dream’ Caribbean trip feared dead after escaped prisoners suspected of hijacking yacht, boat covered in blood

News & Politics

An American couple on a “dream” boating trip to the Caribbean are feared to be dead after their yacht was suspected of being stolen by escaped prisoners.

In 2013, Kathleen Brandel and Ralph Hendry sold their home in Alexandria, Virginia, to spend the rest of their days sailing around the world aboard their yacht named Simplicity.

The retired couple were last seen last week on the Caribbean island of Grenada. However, their yacht was later discovered “anchored and abandoned” on the nearby island of St. Vincent – roughly 50 miles away.

The married couple of 27 years were nowhere to be found.

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The couple are experienced boaters and have been sailing for more than a decade. The couple were members of the Salty Dawg Sailing Association.

Authorities suspect that three escaped convicts hijacked the yacht.

The prisoners – Ron Mitchell, 30; Trevon Robertson, 19; and Abita Stanislaus, 25; – were charged a couple of months ago with one count of robbery with violence. Mitchell was also charged with one count of rape, three counts of attempted rape, and two counts of indecent assault and causing harm, Grenada police said.

Three prisoners escaped their cells in Grenada on Feb. 18. Law enforcement believes that the escaped prisoners stole the boat that was anchored in Grenada’s capital of St. George’s the day after the prison break.

The escaped convicts were located in St. Vincent and were recaptured on Feb. 21, according to the Royal Grenada Police Force.

Police believe that the American couple may have been murdered by the fugitives.

Investigators said there were signs of a violent struggle aboard the yacht with possessions strewn everywhere and blood throughout the boat.

Nick Buro and Bryan Hendry are revealing how they are dealing with the mysterious case of their missing parents.

Buro told WRC-TV, “This is something that is completely unexpected. And wrapping our brains around it and trying to understand a senseless act of violence against two people while they were just living their lives in their home, essentially, because Simplicity was their home. They didn’t have another home…. And having that safety and security taken away from them abruptly and have them attacked in where they live, it’s just, it’s unimaginable.”

While holding onto hope that their parents are still alive, the sons are gravely concerned that the worst may have happened.

“Shock, despair, fear, sadness, hope, love – all of those emotions are going through our head at the same time,” Buro explained.

Hendry told WJLA, “There is no script to go off of for a situation like this.”

Buro said, “I can’t even describe it. It’s been a nightmare.”

“This trip to the Caribbean was their dream,” Buro remarked. “This was what they had been working towards for years and years and years, to get simplicity up to the point where it could make a passage like this.”

Hendry added, “They loved immersing themselves in different cultures and meeting people and spreading their love wherever they could.”

“If I see them again, it would probably be the most exasperating, exhilarating, jubilating feeling I could ever imagine,” Buro said.

“If I do see my parents again, it would be the happiest moment of my life,” Hendry added.

Bib Osborn, president of the Salty Dawg Sailing Association, stated: “This is a very upsetting event and details are still unconfirmed by the authorities, but this does appear to be a tragic event. In all my years of cruising the Caribbean, I have never heard of anything like this.”

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