April 23rd, 2024

Grenada police say a US couple whose catamaran was hijacked were likely thrown overboard and died

By Dánica Coto, The Associated Press on February 26, 2024.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) – Police in Grenada said Monday that they believe an elderly U.S. 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 Feb. 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.

“Information suggests that while traveling between Grenada and St Vincent, they disposed of the occupants,” 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 don’t 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,” McKenzie said.

St. Vincent police could not be immediately reached for comment.

The nonprofit Salty Dawg Sailing Association said Hendry and Brandel were “veteran cruisers” and longtime 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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