Retired American Couple Believed Dead During Caribbean Yacht Hijacking

( — A retired American couple who had their yacht stolen by escaped convicts is likely dead, according to authorities, although police haven’t recovered their bodies. Various authorities in the Caribbean, including police from Grenada, searched for the couple for days after the initial hijacking but have since released a statement announcing they believe the prisoners killed the couple and threw them into the ocean. Although the details surrounding the hijacking are scarce, police did share information about the events leading up to the hijacking.

According to Grenada’s commissioner of police, Don McKenzie, three convicts escaped from a police station and left the area to find a yacht. The prisoners then encountered the yacht, the Simplicity, which belonged to the American couple. After stealing the yacht with the couple on board, the escaped inmates traveled to a nearby town known as St. Vincent. Police arrested the prisoners upon their arrival but didn’t find the couple who owned the Simplicity. Authorities believe the three men killed the couple and threw them overboard during their journey to St. Vincent.

Although police believe the couple is dead, authorities haven’t found any solid evidence confirming their deaths. McKenzie claims the chances of the couple living are slim, given the evidence recovered from the Simplicity upon the inmates’ arrest. Investigators discovered evidence of an altercation between the escaped prisoners and the couple, including an unknown liquid substance that could be the couple’s blood.

Police identified the missing couple as Ralph Hendry and Kathy Brandel, a pair of retirees who reportedly had experience sailing their yacht throughout the Caribbean. Neither Hendry nor Brandel’s children have spoken about the incident, but supportive citizens started a GoFundMe for the couple’s family. Grenada police also shared a statement confirming an investigation into the prisoners’ escape to determine how they evaded police.

The three men who escaped custody are Trevon Robert, Abita Stanislaus, and Ron Mitchell. Mitchell has a history of sexual assaults, according to Grenada police, and all three of the prisoners allegedly committed a violent robbery months before they escaped from police. The three men pleaded guilty to various immigration charges due to their illegal crossing into St. Vincent and will likely reappear in court on charges related to the disappearance and possible death of Hendry and Brandel.

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