Man blocks search of yacht where girlfriend was last seen

Sarm Heslop


A British woman who was last seen aboard her boyfriend’s yacht in the US Virgin Islands is still missing nearly two weeks later — and now cops say her beau won’t let them search the boat.

Ryan Bane, who owns the 47-foot luxury catamaran, had reported girlfriend Sarm Heslop, 41, missing on March 8, but then immediately lawyered up, Virgin Islands Police told the UK’s Telegram on Friday night.

The boat has remained moored — and off limits to cops — off the coast of St. John as a massive search of the waters continues.

“Soon after reporting Ms. Heslop missing, Mr. Bane acquired the services of an attorney,” the police told the Telegram in a statement.

“Upon his attorney’s advice, Mr. Bane exercised his constitutional right to remain silent and denied officers’ requests to search the vessel.”

Authorities would need a warrant to search the boat. But they can’t get one because Heslop’s disappearance has not been ruled a criminal case.

Ryan Bane reported girlfriend Sarm Heslop missing on March 8.

“We thought we could just ask Mr. Bane to search the boat and he would say yes,” police spokesman Toby Derima told the UK paper.

“But he didn’t.”

The couple went to dinner on shore and then returned to the yacht at 10 p.m. on Sunday, March 7, authorities have said.

Ryan Bane and his girlfriend Sarm Heslop who is still missing nearly two weeks later.
Ryan Bane and his girlfriend Sarm Heslop who is still missing nearly two weeks later.

Ryan called local police at 2:30 a.m. the next morning, saying he had just awakened and realized Heslop was no longer on board, though her passport, purse and phone remained behind.

The cops told Ryan to call the US Coast Guard immediately. But Ryan allegedly waited until almost noon the next day to report Heslop’s disappearance to the US Coast Guard’s San Juan station.

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Ryan Bane’s 47-foot luxury catamaran yacht, dubbed ‘Siren Song’.
Ryan Bane’s 47-foot luxury catamaran yacht, dubbed ‘Siren Song’.

The missing woman’s family on Friday urged British authorities to step in and help.

“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,” family members said in a statement.

“We will never give up looking for Sarm and we still have hope of finding her safe.”


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