SVG, Grenada launch joint  regional investigation into disappearance of US citizens
This is the yacht SIMPLICITY, owned by Americans Ralph Hendry and Kathy Brandel, which was found on Monday February, 19, 2024, in the afternoon, docked off Wallilabou, Anchorage. (INSET American yachties Ralph Hendry and his common-law wife, Kathy Brandel.)
Front Page
February 27, 2024
SVG, Grenada launch joint regional investigation into disappearance of US citizens

A joint regional investigation between the Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force (RSVGPF) and the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF), is taking place into the disappearance and presumed death of two United States citizens namely, Ralph Hendry and his common-law wife, Kathy Brandel. The main suspects in the investigations are three male prisoners who escaped lawful custody on Sunday February, 18, 2024, while being held at the South St. George Police Station in Grenada on charges of rape, robbery with violence, and other serious offences, a release from the RSVGPF states.

From Left: Atiba Stanislaus , Ron Mitchell and Trevon Robertson

The suspects/escapees are Ron Mitchell, 30 years; Trevon Robertson, 25 years; and Atiba Stanislaus, 23 years, all of Paradise, St. Andrew, Grenada.

The investigation thus far indicates that after the escapees/suspects escaped, they hijacked a yacht named “Simplicity” that was moored at Grande Anse Beach in Grenada and kidnapped the couple. The investigation further reveals that while sailing from Grenada, the suspects committed several criminal acts including bodily harm to the couple.

On Monday February, 19, 2024, the escapees/suspects illegally entered the south western coast of SVG, sometime in the afternoon and docked the yacht off Wallilabou, Anchorage.

On February 21, 2024, the police received certain information concerning the escapees and the discovery of a yacht in the said area. A manhunt was immediately launched and the SVG Coast Guard and the Crime Scene Unit (CSU) were dispatched to the location where the yacht was found.

The scene was processed and found to be consistent with signs of violence. Several items were strewn on the deck and in the cabin and a red substance that resembled blood was seen on board. There was no discovery of bodies on board the yacht. About 4:35 p.m. the same day, the three escapees/suspects were apprehended by the police at Petit Bordel on the north western coast of SVG. The Grenadian authorities were subsequently informed and a team of investigators from the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) arrived in SVG on Thursday February, 22, 2024 and are assisting with the investigations.

Caribbean Safety and Security Net’s (CSSN), which collects and disseminates information relating to crimes against yachts in the Caribbean, reported a cruising catamaran which had been anchored off Grand Anse, Grenada, having been found poorly anchored with a shredded jib off the coast of Wallilabou.

“Upon inspection, it was found that the yacht had been ransacked, and it was apparent a violent act had taken place. Copious amounts of blood were found in the master stateroom, and the two owners were missing. Copious volumes of blood were discovered in the master stateroom. Numerous personal belongings were also lost. Passports discovered onboard allowed police to contact the victims’ emergency contacts,” CSSN reported.

According to AIS data, the yacht left Grenada around 10:00 p.m. on Sunday from Grand Anse Beach. The vessel’s speed was not reflective of the sailors, who are known as fair-weather sailors who go exceedingly slowly, according to the Grenada Cruisers Information Facebook page.

The RSVGPF release states that the escapees/suspects have been cooperating with the investigation.

The Regional Security System (RSS), and the coast guard services of Grenada and St Vincent and the Grenadines are conducting air and maritime patrols and surveillance across the borders of both islands but no bodies have been recovered.

Based on the investigation thus far, it is presumed that Ralph Hendry and Kathy Brandel are deceased. The acting Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of crime, Trevor Bailey met with the family members of the couple and a legal representative and updated them on the status of the investigation. The RSVGPF also expressed sympathizes with the family during this difficult time.

The three suspects/escapees appeared at the Kingstown Magistrate Court yesterday February, 26, 2024 on four immigration-related charges and will re-appear in court on March 4, 2024.

The investigation and search for the missing persons continue.