The wealthy American boyfriend of missing Brit Sarm Heslop refused to discuss her disappearance today as DailyMail.com confronted him on a secluded beach in the US Virgin Islands.
Ryan Bane, 44, repeated the words ‘no comment’ four times after our reporter intercepted him as he made landfall in Great Cruz Bay, St. Thomas.
We asked the Michigan native if he would finally let cops search his 47ft catamaran – or whether he was prepared to reveal more about the night Sarm, 41, mysteriously vanished.
But instead of providing answers for her anguished family back in the UK, the charter boat skipper turned and walked away, heading inland with his pet Labrador, Hunter.
Ryan Bane refused to discuss his girlfriend Sarm Heslop’s disappearance today as DailyMail.com confronted him on a secluded beach in the US Virgin Islands
Bane, 44, repeated the words ‘no comment’ four times after our reporter intercepted him as he made landfall in Great Cruz Bay, St. Thomas. He was seen taking his dog Hunter for a walk
DailyMail.com asked the Michigan native if he would finally let cops search his 47ft catamaran – or whether he was prepared to reveal more about the night Sarm mysteriously vanished
Bane’s luxury 47-foot catamaran, named Siren Song, sits in Frank Bay on St. John in the US Virgin Islands
The couple had lined up ten or more bookings on Siren Song for the coming season, worth around $100,000
In the hours after Sarm’s March 8 disappearance Bane told authorities she had vanished without trace while the couple were anchored in picturesque Frank Bay.
Two weeks on the case is at a standstill, however, after wealthy Bane lawyered up and blocked detectives from conducting a fingertip search of his $500,000 vessel.
Bane claims girlfriend Sarm Heslop, 41, vanished without trace from his catamaran while it was anchored overnight in the U.S. Virgin Islands
Authorities need a warrant to board but are yet to obtain one because Sarm’s disappearance has not been classified as a criminal inquiry and Bane is currently neither a suspect, nor a person of interest.
DailyMail.com previously revealed that Bane is holed up on board Siren Song which is still anchored in idyllic St. John – off limits to investigators from both the Virgin Islands Police Department (VIPD) and the FBI.
After spending much of Wednesday moored 100 yards from the shoreline he hopped in a dinghy just after 3pm and headed half a mile towards a private beach belonging to the island’s plush Westin resort.
A DailyMail.com reporting team followed him in a motorboat and caught up with Bane as he tied up his dinghy before walking up a trail towards a grocery store.
We asked him if he would agree to have his boat searched, if he would tell us more about his final evening with Sarm and whether he would guarantee he had nothing to do with her disappearance.
When Bane snubbed our questions we tried his St. Thomas-based attorney, David Cattie, who had sent us the same statement he issued to reporters several days earlier.
‘At this time we are not fielding any other requests for interviews/statements,’ he added.
A close friend had previously told DailyMail.com that Bane was not in hiding but was refusing to speak to the island’s police officers because he didn’t trust them.
‘My suggestion to him was that he makes some sort of statement and is as cooperative as possible,’ the friend said.
‘But I think he’s scared, I think he’s totally spun out. He is definitely bereaved. He had finally found a girl he was in love with.
‘I think that his concern is that the VIPD is not real well known for conducting any sort of investigation with clarity.
‘He’s concerned that something could go wrong or be spun the wrong way, or that they’re going to be looking for something to implicate him as opposed to the other way around.’
Andrew Talbot, one of Sarm’s closest friends from the UK, said of Bane’s refusal to talk: ‘We would continue to ask for his cooperation in helping us establish what happened to Sarm, any piece of information could be critical.’
Heslop, from Southampton, England, met Bane on Tinder eight months ago. She disappeared from Siren Song, which was moored 120ft from Frank Bay on the extreme western end of St. John on March 8. The couple are pictured together
Bane is seen swigging beer on the deck of his luxury yacht. Authorities need a warrant to board but are yet to obtain one because Sarm’s March 8 disappearance has not been classified as a criminal inquiry
Bane is refusing to cooperate with cops investigating Sarm’s disappearance. Bane is currently neither a suspect, nor a person of interest
As the sun went down, Bane sat bare-chested on deck, speaking on the phone and sipping a beer with just his pet Labrador, Hunter, for company
Ryan Bane’s luxury 47-foot catamaran, named Siren Song, sits in Frank Bay on St. John in the US Virgin Islands. Bane, 44, is boyfriend of missing British woman Sarm Heslop.
Sarm, a former flight attendant from Southampton, England, met Bane on Tinder eight months ago and travelled to the Caribbean to work as a cook on Siren Song, which he charters out for more than $2,000 a day.
It’s understood the couple had lined up ten or more bookings for the coming season, worth around $100,000.
However their plans came to a shocking halt when Bane raised the alarm at 2:30am on March 8, telling police his lover was gone but her belongings were still on board.
In his initial account to cops later that morning Bane said the pair had been out for dinner the previous night before going back to the boat at 10pm to sleep.
He said he was woken up at 2am by an anchor alarm, which triggers an alert if the boat is straying from its position. By then Sarm had vanished.
Police say Bane was advised to ring the US Coast Guard but it later emerged they did not receive the SOS call until 11:46am – more than nine hours later.
A massive land and sea search involving divers, a helicopter and an island-wide appeal for leads subsequently failed to find Sarm or any evidence that she fell overboard.
Since then cops have been scouring CCTV from island bars and businesses to trace the couple’s last steps but have been prevented from setting foot on Siren Song.
‘Soon after reporting Ms Heslop missing, Mr Bane acquired the services of an attorney.
‘Upon his attorney’s advice, Mr Bane exercised his constitutional right to remain silent and denied officers’ requests to search the vessel,’ said VIPD spokesman Toby Derima.
He added: ‘We would need to show the court that we had probable cause to search the boat, as this is not yet a criminal case.
‘We thought we could just ask Mr Bane to search the boat and he would say yes and he didn’t. That is his right. Getting the search warrant would be the next step.’
Heslop’s friends insist they are not ‘pointing fingers’ at Bane but are calling on the American, who moved to the Caribbean in 2015, ‘to provide as many details as possible’
Siren Song was moored 100ft from the shore in shallow waters however the seabed drops to 70ft deep a little further out
Pillsbury Sound, the stretch of water separating St. John from St. Thomas, is referred to locally as the ‘washing machine’ because of powerful rip currents that occur where the Caribbean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean
420 to Center, in downtown Saint John, US Virgin Islands, was the last place Sarm Heslop was seen before going missing two weeks ago
Ryan Bane is seen in his mugshot after he was arrested in 2011 for attacking his ex-wife
Bane and Sarm had spent the evening prior to her disappearance having dinner at 420 to Center, a dive bar hangout for locals in Cruz Bay, the island’s tourism and nightlife hub.
Staff there said they were unable to discuss the case but a source told DailyMail.com that a barman who remembered seeing the couple was due to speak with the FBI.
‘He’s made it clear he can’t speak. But he did see them,’ the insider confirmed.
After leaving 420 to Center, the couple likely took their dinghy back to Frank Bay, a secluded beach beautyspot popular with bathers and dog walkers.
Siren Song was moored 100ft from the shore in shallow waters however the seabed drops to 70ft deep a little further out.
Pillsbury Sound, the stretch of water separating St. John from St. Thomas, is referred to locally as the ‘washing machine’ because of powerful rip currents that occur where the Caribbean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean.
‘He told me they went out, they went to bed, the alarm went off and woke him up and she was gone,’ Bane’s friend told DailyMail.com.
‘He went out on his dinghy and was screaming for her, and trying to find her and yelling her name.’
Corie Stevenson was married to fellow American Mr Bane, 44, for six years and came forward to say her ex ‘went to jail for kicking my a**’
Earlier this week it was revealed that Bane served 21 days in jail in 2011 for attacking his ex-wife, Corie Stevenson, as they drove home from a wedding in Lake Orion, Michigan.
According to a police complaint he flew into a rage and dragged her out of the truck before smashing her head into the dining room floor, chipping one of her teeth.
‘Corie’s front right tooth had a chip out of it that appeared to be fresh,’ wrote Officer Vincent Lichok.
‘Her right ear lobe was bloody and scratched. Her right shoulder and the right side of her neck showed red scratches. Her right eyelid was scratched and red.’
In the UK, Sarm’s anguished friends and family have been pushing for answers in her disappearance, questioning Bane’s timeline and saying they find it ‘incredibly difficult to believe’ she fell of the boat.
‘We would like assurance that the authorities in the Virgin Islands are doing everything possible to find her and that the investigation into our beautiful and cherished daughter’s disappearance includes a comprehensive fingertip search of the boat,’ her parents Peter Heslop and Brenda Street said in a statement.
David Cattie, Bane’s attorney, told NBC: ‘Ryan’s thoughts are with Sarm and her family at this time, and he is praying for her safe return.’