The best friend of a British woman who was last seen aboard her boyfriend’s luxury catamaran in the US Virgin Islands two weeks ago says the timeline of her disappearance “doesn’t make sense.”
Sarm Heslop, 41, of Southampton, was last seen on the night of March 7 aboard the 47-foot Siren Song, which was moored in Frank Bay, St. John, officials said.
Her boyfriend Ryan Bane, 44, woke up at 2 a.m. the following day when he was awakened by the anchor alarm of his charter vessel, which was about 100 feet offshore.
It was reported that he alerted the US Coast Guard about 10 hours after he noticed the former flight attendant missing.
Bane, a US citizen, has reportedly lawyered up and is refusing to allow authorities to search his craft.
“This timeline just does not make sense to us,” Andrew Baldwin, 41, a friend of the missing woman for 25 years, told the Mirror.
“We know that Mr. Bane called the local police at 2:30 a.m. and was told to call the Coast Guard,” he said. “The Coast Guard was reported as saying that it was alerted to her disappearance by Mr. Bane at 11:46 a.m. on Monday.
“We know they had dinner in a local restaurant and left at 10 p.m. What we don’t know is what happened in those intervening hours,” Baldwin added.
A dog walker on the island reportedly heard a scream during the time Heslop vanished, The Sun reported.
Friends have said they are not pointing the finger at Bane, whom Heslop met on Tinder, but just want her to be found.
“She would not just disappear, leaving no trace. She is savvy and sensible, it’s not like her at all, it just doesn’t add up,” Baldwin told the Mirror.
Local police said Bane is not talking to them.
“Soon after reporting Ms. Heslop missing, Mr. Bane acquired the services of an attorney,” the Virgin Islands Police Department said in a statement, according to the outlet.
“Upon his attorney’s advice, Mr. Bane exercised his constitutional right to remain silent and denied officers’ requests to search the vessel.
“VIPD continues efforts to locate Ms. Heslop, conducting multiple searches daily, speaking to potential witnesses, and combing through hours of surveillance video,” it added.
Bane’s lawyer, David Cattie, said his client immediately called 911 when he realized his girlfriend was missing.
“Later that morning, the US Coast Guard came to Mr. Bane’s vessel (Siren Song) at Mr. Bane’s request,” Cattie told Fox News. “Multiple USCG officers boarded the vessel and interviewed Mr. Bane on the vessel.
“Mr. Bane, at the request of Sarm’s family, then turned over her personal belongings to [Virgin Islands Police Department], including her cell phone, iPad, passport, etc.”
Heslop’s family said they were “shocked and distraught” by her disappearance, adding: “We will never give up looking for Sarm and we still have hope of finding her safe.”