Express & Star

Hijackers threw elderly couple overboard after capturing yacht, police say

Three men have been arrested over the hijacking of the boat in the Caribbean.

St. Vincent Grenada Hijacked Yacht

Police in Grenada said on Monday that they believe an elderly US couple aboard their catamaran that was hijacked by three escaped prisoners last week were killed and thrown into the Caribbean Sea.

The announcement is a blow to those who were independently helping search for Ralph Hendry and Kathy Brandel and had hoped they were still alive.

Don McKenzie, police commissioner of the Royal Grenada Police Force, said at a press conference that the three prisoners escaped on February 18 from the South Saint George police station.

They hijacked the catamaran Simplicity on Monday and headed to St Vincent and the Grenadines, where they were arrested on Wednesday, he said.

St. Vincent Grenada Hijacked Yacht
Investigators from Grenada and St Vincent and the Grenadines look for evidence on Simplicity in Calliaqua harbour, St Vincent (AP Photo/Kenton X. Chance)

“Information suggests that while travelling between Grenada and St Vincent, they disposed of the occupants,” Mr McKenzie said.

He noted that he was “quite limited” with what he could share with the public regarding the case because the investigation is ongoing, and because Grenadian authorities still do not have much information.

“The information I possess is limited and can be considered second-hand as I have had very limited discussions regarding the details of the investigation with my Vincentian counterpart,” Mr McKenzie said.

St Vincent police could not be immediately reached for comment.

The non-profit Salty Dawg Sailing Association said Mr Hendry and Ms Brandel were “veteran cruisers” and long-time members of the association, calling them “warm-hearted and capable”.

It said the couple had sailed the yacht in last year’s Caribbean rally from Hampton, Virginia, to Antigua, and were spending the winter cruising in the eastern Caribbean.

A son of Hendry and a son of Brandel did not immediately return a message for comment.

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