Almost five months after Sarm Heslop vanished without a trace, her parents, Brenda and Peter, have made an emotional appeal to the authorities investigating the case. Heslop disappeared from a luxury catamaran in the U.S. Virgin Islands in the early hours of Monday 8th March 2021, and has not been seen since.
While one might expect no stone to remain unturned within any such international missing person search, reports suggest that to date the boat not been fully forensically examined, nor has Heslop’s boyfriend—the owner of the vessel in question—submitted to police questioning. Expressing their desperation in July, Heslop’s parents shared, “There are no words for our suffering. We want a forensic search of the boat. We want, need and demand answers.”
Turning to the Internet for Answers
With no light shed so far on what happened to Sarm Heslop, her family and friends have turned to technology in order to seek answers of their own. Posting regular updates via the hashtag #findsarm and on the website FindSarm.com, and in launching a viral TikTok campaign, loved ones of the missing woman have been able to increase awareness of her disappearance and raise funds to support their search on GoFundMe. Heslop herself was a keen social media user, sharing shots of her seemingly idyllic coastal lifestyle.
41 year-old Sarm Heslop is a former flight attendant turned chef from Southampton, England. Pursuing her passion for all things food-related, Heslop moved to the Virgin Islands in a hope of harnessing her talents professionally. Her appearance is described as Caucasian with an athletic build, and she stands at approximately 5ft 8ins. At the time of her disappearance, Heslop had long dark brown hair, while a large tattoo colorfully depicting a seahorse, butterfly, and lily is located on her shoulder.
Ryan Bane Reportedly Continues To Avoid Cooperation
At the time of her disappearance, Sarm Heslop was working as a chef on the 47-foot luxury catamaran that belongs to her boyfriend, Ryan Bane. On the evening of March 8th, the pair went to dinner at a local eatery on the island of St John. Heslops movements that evening were reportedly not captured on CCTV because of a power failure. Having returned to the boat and gone to bed several hours earlier, Bane is believed to have called the police to report Heslop missing at around 2:30 in the morning on 8th March—claiming that she was no longer on the boat when he woke up.
According to The Times of London, officers instructed Bane to contact the Coast Guard so that a search could be initiated. However, Bane delayed making such a call until much later, at 11:46 a.m. As a search and rescue operation began, Bane is reported to have refused investigators access to the upper deck of his vessel. Having been issued a citation for “obstructing law enforcement agents,” Bane is said to have “invoked his right to silence.” Speaking to The Times, Yachtsman David Woody—whose boat was next to Bane’s that night—expressed concern that no alarm was raised, saying “I’d start yelling and wake up every boat in the area and [would have] gotten into the dinghy, bang on the boats, you know, ‘Help me, help me.’”
The International Missing Person Search Continues
After extensive searches of the water and coastline both in proximity to Bane’s boat and further afield, no indication of the fate of Sarm Heslop has been uncovered. While Bane has not been named a suspect or person of interest in the case, a history of domestic violence has been reported in the media, as has his hiring of the lawyer of disgraced socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, David Cattie. The case has now transitioned into an international missing person search, with Virgin Islands investigators staging a joint investigation with FBI agents and U.K. Authorities.
As an expert in missing children and adults worldwide, international private investigator Thomas Lauth offers the highest caliber of assistance to those who need it most. He and his team at Missing Persons Investigations Worldwide strive to bring you the latest insight on people missing abroad, and guidance on what to do when your loved one goes missing overseas. If you require support in locating a missing person, contact our team today.