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The missing sailors, Ralph Hendry and Kathy Brandel.
The missing sailors, Ralph Hendry and Kathy Brandel.
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By Kenton X. Chance  

Investigators in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada are trying to determine where three Grenadian fugitives threw two U.S. sailors off their yacht while fleeing to St. Vincent on Feb. 18.

Acting Assistant Commissioner of Police in Kingstown, Trevor “Buju” Bailey told the Bubb Report, on Sunday, that the prisoners, who were recaptured in Petit Bordel on St. Vincent’s west coast on Wednesday, have made certain admissions to police.

On Monday, the three men, Ron Mitchell, 30, Trevon Robertson, 25, and Atiba Stanislaus, 23, of Paradise, St. Andrew, Grenada, appeared before the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court and each pleaded guilty to four counts of immigration violations.

They were remanded in custody for one week before being sentenced.

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In Grenada, the men had been jointly charged with robbery with violence, while Mitchell was charged separately with one count of rape, three counts of attempted rape, and two counts of indecent assault, and causing harm before escaping from the holding cell at the South St. George Police Station.

Bailey said jurisdiction is a major issue in the case in which the men are alleged to have hijacked the catamaran “Simplicity” with U.S. nationals Ralph Hendry and Kathy Brandel on board.

Police in Kingstown said in a statement on Monday that based on the investigation, it is presumed that Hendry and Brandel “are deceased”.

“We have not been able to identify specifically where the bodies were thrown overboard and that presents a challenge,” Bailey said.

Ralph Hendry and Kathy Brandel relatives
Relatives of the missing sailors, Ralph Hendry and Kathy Brandel at the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Coast Guard Service Calliaqua Base on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024.

He said the air wing of the Regional Security System was assisting the Vincentian and Grenadian coast guards in a search operation. 

“… that has not yielded any fruits in terms of the discovery of the bodies,” he said, adding that the Vincentian Coast Guard has also conducted dives that have also “not yielded any positive results”.

He was asked whether the suspects had given police a good indication of where the sailors were thrown overboard.

“Without going into too much detail, as I said, they have been cooperating and an attempt has been made to narrow as far as practicable the area where this incident took place and some effort has been made but, unfortunately, up to this time we have not retrieved the bodies,” Bailey said.

Media reports have suggested that the men have confessed to acts of violence against the sailors.

“… there has been some admission and, respectfully, we cannot go into details, but to say they have been electronically interviewed and their recordings are intact,” Bailey said.

He said the interviews were conducted by Vincentian and Grenadian investigators and the audio and video were recorded.

Ron Mitchell Trevon Robertson and Atiba Stanislaus 1
The suspects. From left: Ron Mitchell, Trevon Robertson and Atiba Stanislaus, all of Paradise, St. Andrew, Grenada, outside the Kingstown’s Magistrate’s Court in St. Vincent on Monday, Feb, 26, 2024.

Bailey said that police in Kingstown were informed on Feb. 19 about the escape of the Grenadian prisoners.

He said that the information, including the photograph of the escapees, was circulated to the local constabulary.

Last Wednesday, police received information about the yacht “Simplicity” being docked at Walliabou, a west coast anchorage that is located south of Petit Bordel.

Bailey said that the Coast Guard and Major Crime Unit went to the yacht and “made certain observations, certain information was received”.

In light of that information, the Narcotic and Rapid Response units were deployed to Petit Bordel and interacted with residents of the village.

“And they were pointed in the bushy area of Petit Bordel and having gone to that area, the three Grenadians were recaptured,” Bailey said, adding that Mitchell was shot in the leg and was treated in hospital. 

Yacht at Coast Guard base
The yacht “Simplicity” anchored at the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Coast Guard Service Calliaqua Base on Friday, Feb. 23, 2024.

Bailey said that the men had a number of items in their possession when they were recaptured and police were able to link these to the stolen catamaran.

“Naturally, the police would ask for an account as to who does this belong to and how did you come to be in possession of this,” he said.

“And it is out of that conversation, out of the discovery of these articles with them when they were recaptured, we were able to link directly their connection to the yacht.”

He said that this, coupled with other investigation from the Coast Guard, and conversation with other sailors helped police to establish that the men had “direct linkage to the yacht”.

 The senior cop said the Vincentian Coast Guard, including the base in Canouan in the southern Grenadines, had been on the lookout for any suspicious seacraft.

“We were checking and monitoring movement of boats on the waters and were out looking… But never did we know that they were not on a regular speed boat but were cruising through our water on board a yacht,” Bailey said.

He said the yacht has been processed forensically.

“It has been photographed. Samples have been taken. There is evidence that there was a struggle on board. There was the presence of blood,” he said.

He told Bubb Report that it seems as if people had “spent a lot of time on the yacht because there is evidence, there are signs, that things were thrown about in the cabin of the boat.

“So, we have done the processing as detailed as we can alongside the authorities from Grenada and we have collected several samples from that yacht.”

Bailey said that the suspects have been cooperative.

He said he met on Saturday with relatives of the missing people who assisted tremendously in readily identifying items as the property of the missing sailors.

“So, we have moved from suspicion to confirmation that these persons who are missing and who would have been on board the yacht at some stage. So, the investigation is progressing nicely.”

Police on Yacht
Investigators aboard the yacht “Simplicity” anchored at the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Coast Guard Service Calliaqua Base on Friday, Feb. 23, 2024.

Bailey praised the residents of Petit Bordel and surrounding areas for their assistance to the police.

He said that the Grenadian fugitives were not walking around in the village.

“They occupied an area in the mountain not too far from the village. They purchased items from a nearby shop and retreated into the mountainous area,” he said.

“If something like this happens in our area and the police come knocking and searching, our people will speak to us, more so if the persons involved are not locals,” he said.

“So, even though there may be a tendency to be a bit reluctant if locals were involved, where foreigners are involved, our people will speak to us and they have spoken.”

He said the investigators from both countries will continue to work together to resolve the matter.

“We put our lives on the line every day for the security of the citizens of Grenada and St. Vincent and the Grenadines and visitors alike. Again, our deepest sympathies, condolences to the family of these two missing persons but law enforcement has a job to do and we are committed to the task in doing that which we are charged to do. And we will continue to do the work in the best interest of justice,” Bailey said. 

3 replies on “SVG police trying to determine where Grenadian escapees threw US sailors overboard”

  1. The public has a vested interest in seeing that the law not only be done but must be seen to be donevas dictated by Regina v Sussex. If it is possible extradite them to the USA where they will face execution by legal injection. This Britiah hurdle of the worst of the worst will never be overcome.

  2. Do you trust any investigation conducted by RSPF? The answer is never. It is the same RSPF for which a Junior Constable Stroyson Soleyn was indicted in an alleged rape case and most recently, a police Constable it was alleged loaned his friend his service revolver in an intimidation case. In several instances in the past our RSPF hands are not clean. It was also alleged that several of our personnel in ghe RSPF are chatty to the extent ghat the public is not so forgiving in lending a helpful hand in crime fighting

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