Authorities in the U.S. Virgin Islands are investigating the disappearance of the British girlfriend of a Lake Orion man.
Sarm Heslop, 41, was originally reported missing on March 8 by partner Ryan Bane, a 44-year-old resident of the Oakland County village.
Heslop, from Southampton, was last seen that day aboard Bane’s catamaran. The couple had returned to the boat from dinner. The boat was anchored in Frank Bay, St. John, for the night.
A website, findsarm.com, has been created to generate tips in the woman’s disappearance. Heslop reportedly had moved to the U.S. Virgin Islands, in hopes of becoming a chef.
The woman’s family issued a statement on the website this week: “We are shocked and distraught that Sarm is missing. 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.”
The press released further reads: “Our daughter is a UK citizen and we ask for all of the support that the UK authorities have to offer. Our thanks go to the local people of St. John who continue to search for Sarm.”
In an email to The Detroit News, Bane’s attorney David Cattie said Wednesday that his client reached out to authorities after his girlfriend’s disappearance.
“At approximately 2:30 am on March 8, 2021, just after finding Sarm missing, Ryan Bane contacted the Virgin Islands Police Department (“VIPD”) through 911 to make a report,” Cattie wrote. ” Mr. Bane then traveled to meet members of the VIPD (Virgin Islands Police Department) to give a statement regarding Sarm. Mr. Bane also provided a photograph of Sarm to officers.”
Cattie added: “Later that morning, the US Coast Guard came to Mr. Bane’s vessel (Siren Song) at his request. Multiple USCG officers boarded the vessel and interviewed Mr. Bane on-board. Mr. Bane, at the request of Sarm’s family, then turned over her personal belongings to VIPD, including her cell phone, iPad, passport, etc. Ryan’s thoughts are with Sarm and her family at this time, and he is praying for her safe return. At this time, we are not fielding any other requests for interviews/statements. Thank you for your understanding.”
Authorities in the U.S. Virgin Islands were not immediately available Wednesday for comment.
According to court records viewed by The News, Bane was jailed for 21 days after he pleaded guilty to domestic violence in 2011 in 52-3 District Court in Rochester Hills and was put on probation for 24 months for the misdemeanor offense. The court records do not indicate who the victim was.