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Retired US couple island-hopping in the Caribbean vanish from their yacht

Kathy Brandel and Ralph Hendry
Kathy Brandel and Ralph HendryGoFundMe | Jessica Mause, Nick Buro
  • US couple Kathy Brandel and Ralph Hendry disappeared while sailing off the Grenada coast.

  • Their yacht, SV Simplicity, was found abandoned, blood-stained, and 80 miles off course.

  • The Royal Grenada Police Force links the couple's disappearance to the escape of three prisoners.

Nick Buro and Bryan Hendry were baffled by the sudden silence from their parents, Kathy Brandel and Ralph Hendry, who had lived on a yacht for over a decade, People reports.

The American couple vanished while sailing off the coast of Grenada on February 18. Their yacht, the SV Simplicity, was discovered abandoned 80 miles away. Authorities suspect foul play in the couple's disappearance.

Ralph Hendry and Kathy Brandel are seasoned sailors who had recently completed a "Caribbean Rally" from Virginia to Antigua, The Washington Post reports.

They were seeing out the winter island hopping in the Eastern Caribbeanin their catamaran, according to a statement from their sailing club, per The Washington Post.

According to the Post, the last sighting of Hendry and Brandel was near Grand Anse Beach in Grenada on February 18.

A sailing captain stumbled upon the ransacked vessel while paddle-boarding along the Saint Vincent shore, per People. The yacht was splattered with blood stains. The captain came across Brandel and Hendry's American passports, prompting him to call for help.

Authorities were swiftly notified, with the Coast Guard Service reporting the vessel as "unoccupied" and noting the blood stains.

Three prisoners escaped custody on the day the couple disappeared

grand anse grenada
Grand Anse Beach, GrenadaPawel Kazmierczak/Shutterstock

Three Grenadian prisoners — Ron Mitchell, Trevor Robertson, and Atiba Stanislaus — escaped custody on the same day as Brandel and Hendry's disappearance. Police suspect a connection, suggesting the trio may have been involved in the couple's disappearance.

A statement shared by the Royal Grenada Police Force revealed that "Ron Mitchell was charged separately with one count of rape, three counts of attempted Rape, two counts of indecent assault, and causing harm." The three men were charged jointly with one count of robbery with violence.

They escaped from a holding cell at South St George Police Station on February 18, 2024, the same day the American couple disappeared.

The RGPF statement said the three men made their way to the nearby island of St Vincent "via a yacht which was docked in the St. George area. The RGPF is currently working on leads that suggest that the two occupants of the yacht may have been killed in the process. It is believed that the occupants of the yacht were American citizens."

In a statement posted to Salty Dawg Sailing Association, Nick Buro and Bryan Hendry requested that cruises and anyone not affiliated with the officials with presiding jurisdiction stand down. "The only way we feel this situation could be worse would be if anyone was hurt or endangered trying to conduct searches," they wrote.

A GoFundMe fundraising appeal started by Jessica Mause on behalf of Nick Buro said:

"It is with profound sadness and heavy hearts that we share the devastating news of the senseless act of violence that tragically claimed the lives of husband and wife, Ralph Hendry and Kathy Brandel."

Read the original article on Business Insider