Police officers investigating Sarm Heslop’s disappearance in the U.S. Virgin Islands are now investigating whether she ever returned to her American friend’s boat.
Heslop, 41, of Southampton, Hampshire, disappeared without a trace on March 7 after she and Ryan Bane, 44, had a drink in Frank’s Bay, St. John.
Bane told investigators that they had returned to his catamaran that night, and when he woke up in the early hours, he found that his girlfriend was gone.
A massive manhunt has been launched and no clues have yet been found as to Heslop’s whereabouts, while Bane, who went to prison for assaulting his ex-wife, has refused to let investigators search his boat Siren Song.
In the search for answers, the police are looking through CCTV from the island to track down Ms. Heslop’s movements that night to verify his story. The Telegraph reports.
Investigators are reportedly searching through CCTV footage on St. John Island to verify Ryan Bane’s (right) story that he and his girlfriend Sarm Heslop (left) returned to his boat on the night she disappeared on March 7.
Bane was last seen on Wednesday afternoon (above) returning to his boat. Federal agents chartered a boat to try to track him down after he disappeared from St. John on Thursday, where his luxury yacht was anchored for several weeks.
The latest development comes as it was revealed yesterday that the FBI has started a hunt for Ms. Heslop’s boyfriend after he left the US Virgin Islands on Thursday.
Tony Derima, a spokesman for the Virgin Islands Police Department, said, “So far there is nothing to confirm that the couple went back to the yacht together that night.”
Agents are in the process of verifying Mr. Bane’s account of the night’s events and trying to confirm if Sarm was on the dinghy returning to the luxury yacht that night.
Detectives also reportedly plan to interview staff at 420 to Center, a dive bar popular with locals of St. John, where the couple visited.
Federal agents chartered a boat to try to locate 44-year-old Bane, who disappeared Thursday from St. John, where his luxury yacht was anchored for several weeks, US police said. New York Post
Bane was last seen on Wednesday afternoon as he took a dinghy to the coast before returning to his 14-meter catamaran with a plastic bag, sneakers and towels.
His yacht had been anchored in the same remote spot in Frank Bay for weeks, but was gone by Thursday morning.
Authorities need a search warrant to board the $ 500,000 ship, but have yet to get one as Heslop’s disappearance has not been identified as a criminal investigation.
The latest development comes as it was revealed that the FBI started a hunt for Ryan Bane (pictured) after he left the US Virgin Islands on Thursday.
Investigators also reportedly plan to interview staff at 420 to Center (pictured), a dive bar popular with St. John residents, where the couple visited.
Heslop met Bane on Tinder eight months ago and traveled to the Caribbean to work as a cook at Siren Song, which he charters for over $ 2,000 a day.
Friends say the couple took their dinghy to Cruz Bay, the island’s main tourist attraction, for dinner and drinks on March 7 to celebrate a successful charter.
Bane claimed he was awakened at 2 a.m. by an anchor alarm, which triggers an alert if the boat strays from its position, and found she was gone.
Police say Bane was advised to call the U.S. Coast Guard, but it was later revealed that they didn’t receive the SOS call until 11:46 AM – more than nine hours later.
Coast guards boarded Siren Song twice, but when detectives asked for a full forensic investigation to be carried out, Bane exercised his constitutional right to say no, reportedly on the advice of his attorney, David Cattie.
He was momentarily reluctant to talk about the night Heslop disappeared when DailyMail.com caught up with him ashore on Wednesday, blocking our questions by saying ‘no comment’ four times.
While police confirmed that they are searching CCTV to understand if Ms. Heslop has returned to the catamaran, DailyMail.com has learned of further potential stumbling blocks in the investigation regarding the video evidence.
A bartender from 420 to Center confirmed to Detective Sergeant Richard Dominguez, a Virgin Islands-based FBI agent who assists the VIPD, that he has seen the couple on duty.
Heslop (pictured) met Bane on Tinder eight months ago and traveled to the Caribbean to work as a cook on Siren Song
Bane claimed he was awakened at 2am by an anchor alarm, which triggers an alert if the boat strays from its position, and found that Mrs. Heslop (pictured together) was gone
In his initial conversations with the VIPD, Bane said he finished eating and went straight back to his boat with Sarm at 10:00 PM.
There are at least a dozen cameras looking out over the shoreline where the couple landed their dinghy and the 50-meter walk to 420 to Center.
However, many of the devices are used to livestream images from the beach to social media, capture party scenes and beautiful sunsets for marketing purposes, but not for recording.
A handful of business owners use conventional security cameras that store data, usually from 48 hours to a month, depending on how they are configured.
Ryan Bane can be seen in his mugshot after he was arrested in 2011 for assaulting his ex-wife
These included Sherry Compton, who told DailyMail.com she was surprised that the police did not immediately come to her restaurant, Beach Bar, to ask for the hard drives.
“I heard through social media what happened the next day, but the police didn’t come to talk to us,” she said.
The FBI agent arrived four or five days later. He had a timeline and he needed the footage before they were automatically deleted. ‘
Dominguez also contacted systems engineer Steve Butcher, who installed the CCTV at Beach Bar, as well as 12 live streaming cameras for businesses located around downtown Cruz Bay.
Butcher told him there was nothing to look through because the live stream cameras were not set to record and the owners were responsible for their own data.
That conversation took place between the evening of March 16 and the morning of March 17 – nine to 10 days after Heslop disappeared.
Unfortunately, those are the Virgin Islands. It’s not the first world. If it was me, if that was my wife, I’d be disgusted, ”Butcher told DailyMail.com.
Derima said the VIPD had secured “ hours of camera footage, ” but declined to comment on exactly when that was collected or if anything might have been missed.
Earlier this week, it was revealed that in 2011, Bane had spent 21 days in prison for assaulting his ex-wife, Corie Stevenson, while driving home from a wedding in Lake Orion, Michigan.
According to a police complaint, he became enraged and dragged her out of the truck before she hit her head against the dining room floor and knocked off one of her teeth.
“Corie’s right front had a chip that looked fresh,” Officer Vincent Lichok wrote.
Her right earlobe was bloody and scratched. Her right shoulder and the right side of her neck were scratched in red. Her right eyelid was scratched and red. ‘