Grenada police suspect American couple Kathy Brandel and Ralph Hendry killed by escaped prisoners after yacht hijack

Kathy Brandel and Ralph Hendry feature take a selfie at an exotic location
Kathy Brandel and Ralph Hendry have been missing for over a week. Pic credit: Family pic

The authorities in the Caribbean island nation of Grenada suspect that Kathy Brandel and Ralph Hendry, a missing couple from Virginia, were likely murdered and dumped at sea by three escaped prisoners.

Ron Mitchell, Trevon Robertson, and Abita Stanislaus, all from Grenada, escaped from a holding cell at the South St George Police Station on February 18. The three were being held on suspicion of robbery with violence, and Mitchell was facing other charges of rape.

The couple, 66-year-old Hendry and 71-year-old Brandel, vanished a day later. The couple had moored their catamaran, the Simplicity, in St. George Harbor. The pair were seasoned sailors who were touring the Caribbean in what they expected would be their last big expedition in their yacht.

The Grenada cops suspect Mitchell, Robertson, and Stanislaus hijacked the vessel and sailed it to St Vincent and the Grenadines, another island nation that lies about 65 miles to the north.

The trio were apprehended on St Vincent on February 21, and the yacht was found abandoned on a beach later that day.

The boat had been ransacked with evidence of a struggle throughout the cabin. The cops also found a red substance they suspect might be blood.

Grenada police believe Kathy Brandel and Ralph Hendry were dumped at sea

The police commissioner of the Royal Grenada Police Force, Don McKenzie, said at a news conference on Monday that while they cannot confirm exactly what happened to Brandel and Hendry, they have reason to believe the three prisoners “disposed of the occupants” at sea.

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McKenzie clarified their stance, “We have nothing conclusive to say that the individuals are dead. We still hold out hope that in spite [of] what might be a low probability, that they would turn up alive somewhere.”

The investigators said the suspects have been showing some cooperation with the investigation and have already pleaded guilty to immigration-related charges.

The Grenadian authorities are investigating the jailbreak to see if it was a “system failure” or a “slip up.”

Ralph Hendry and Kathy Brandel families are grateful for support

A GoFundMe page has been set up to aid Nick Buro, the son of Kathy Brandel, and Bryan Hendry, son of Ralph Hendry, with coming to terms with their loss.

The page owner, Jessica Mause, has set a target of $75,000 to help with the costs of returning the yacht and all the couple’s belongings to the US. At the time of writing, the page had received nearly $57,000 worth of donations.

Bryan Hendry and Nick Buro have expressed their gratitude for all the love and support they’ve received, and they praised the St Vincent authorities for capturing the fugitives.

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