Caribbean Travel Nightmare: Robbery Turns Deadly

The content originally appeared on: News Americas Now

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Weds. Feb. 28, 2024: American couple Ralph Hendry and Kathy Brandel, who were robbed of their yacht Simplicity on February 19th near Grand Anse Beach, Grenada by three prison escapees, are now presumed dead, St. Vincent and the Grenadines police say.

American couple Ralph Hendry and Kathy Brandel are feared dead in the Caribbean island of Grenada.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Superintendent Junior Simmons said: “Based on the investigation thus far, it is presumed that Ralph Hendry and Kathy Brandel are deceased.”

The scene on the couple’s boat was “consistent with signs of violence,” Simmons in St. Vincent and the Grenadines said. “Several items were strewn on the deck and in the cabin, and a red substance that resembled blood was seen on board,” he said. “There was no discovery of bodies on board the yacht.”

Royal Grenada Police Commissioner Don McKenzie also said he’s offering “condolences” to the family of the two American boaters, who were most likely “disposed of” at sea by escaped prisoners. McKenzie said there’s a “low probability” Brandel and Henry might be alive.

Three accused criminals escaped from jail on Feb. 18 before they “commandeered” the couple’s boat, called Simplicity, and headed north, McKenzie said. Police have said the escapees boarded the boat while it was docked in the St. George area of Grenada. The escapees, identified as Ron Mitchell, Trevon Robertson, and Atiba Stanislaus from Grenada, were apprehended in St. Vincent and the Grenadines by local law enforcement and are in custody there. Prior to their escape, they faced charges including rape and robbery with violence.

Nick Buro, the son of Kathy Brandel and Bryan Hendry, the son of Ralph Hendry, released a statement that said they are “incredibly saddened to hear the news that our parents Kathy Brandel and Ralph Hendry are now presumed dead (but) remain optimistic in the on-going search led by the St. Vincent Coast Guard.”

“We are coordinating with the United States Embassy, the governments of St. Vincent and Grenada, as well as other officials of the United States government, as they continue their work on this on-going investigation into the alleged crimes committed by these three suspects currently held in custody by Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force,” the statement added. “In honor of Ralph and Kathy, we ask that everyone please take a moment to stop, pray and reflect on how lucky we were to have known them – hug your loved ones, spend time with your families, and console one another as we all collectively mourn.”

A crowdfunding effort has now garnered over $66,625 of their $75,000 goal to support the search and memorial expenses for the American couple. The GoFundMe campaign aims to fund the retrieval of their yacht, Simplicity, along with the couple’s personal effects, and to offer financial aid to their bereaved families during this challenging period.

“Our parents encompassed all those values and so much more. If we have learned anything from this tragic event, it’s that we know they left this world in a better place than it was before they were born. Ralph and Kathy lived a life that most of us can only dream of, sailing the eastern coast of the United States, living on their home Simplicity, making friends with everyone they encountered, singing, dancing and laughing with friends and family – that’s who Ralph and Kathy were and that’s how they will be remembered in our hearts,” Buro and Hendry added in their statement. “We are grateful to have been raised by the strongest people that we will ever know, and we hope that we can follow in their footsteps and strive to be even half as wonderful as them. So many people have reached out with love and encouragement, sharing stories and anecdotes of their memories of Ralph and Kathy, and those stories are what we want them to be remembered by. While the end of their life may have been dark, they brought light, and that light will never be extinguished from the hearts and minds of the people who knew, loved and cared so deeply about them.We are ever hopeful that justice will be served.”