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Who are Ralph Hendry and Kathy Brandel, US couple likely killed on their yacht by escaped prisoners in Grenada?

BySumanti Sen
Feb 27, 2024 10:05 AM IST

It is now believed that the couple is dead and that they were tossed overboard in the Caribbean

Three escaped prisoners have been accused of hijacking an American couple’s yacht in Grenada. It is now believed that the couple is dead and that they were tossed overboard in the Caribbean. Ralph Hendry, 66, and his wife Kathy Brandel, 71, were both from Virginia. They were last seen on February 18 and are now presumed dead. Their boat was later found anchored and deserted.

Ralph Hendry, 66, and his wife Kathy Brandel, 71, were both from Virginia (GoFundMe)

Royal St. Vincent and Grenadines Police Force official Junior Simmons said during a press conference that officers responded to the boat and came across a scene that was “consistent with signs of violence.” “Several items were strewn on the deck and in the cabin and a red substance that resembled blood was seen on board,” Simmons said. “There was no discovery of bodies on board the yacht.”

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The couple were likely killed on board, according to the Royal Grenada Police Force. 

Who are Ralph Hendry and Kathy Brandel?

A longtime friend and colleague of Nick Buro, Brandel’s son, has set up a GoFundMe for the couple. “Kathy and Ralph were seasoned sailors who lived on their beloved catamaran, Simplicity. Their lives ended in unimaginable tragedy on Sunday, February 19th, off the shores of Grand Anse Beach, Grenada,” the GoFundMe reads. “Kathy and Ralph, experienced adventurers, spent their retirement sailing aboard Simplicity, spending summers in New England and embracing the warmth of Caribbean winters. Their final voyage with the Salty Dawg Sailing Association crew took an unthinkable turn as Simplicity was found abandoned in St. Vincent, bearing chilling evidence of a violent struggle.”

“This heartbreaking tragedy has left not only the sailing community, but also their families, shattered. Kathy, who had recently become a first-time grandmother, found immense joy in the presence of her grandson—joy that has now been abruptly taken away. As their families navigate the overwhelming grief and attempt to make sense of this unthinkable loss, we extend our collective support and sympathy,” the says, adding that the funds raised will “go towards recovering the vessel and belongings, covering funeral costs, and providing support to the grieving families as they try to comprehend the depth of this tragedy.”

The couple’s sons called their parents’ disappearance “the rarest of the rare occurrences,” according to NBC News. They are clinging on to the hope that their parents are still alive. 

Who are the suspects?

Three men have been arrested in connection with the crime – Ron Mitchell, 30, Trevon Robertson, 19, and Abita Stanislaus, 25. They were nabbed in St. Vincent after the boat was searched. All of them had escaped from police custody on February 18. 

On Sunday, February 25, the trio appeared in court on four counts each of immigration-related charges. Officials said they pleaded guilty. Before their escape, they were all facing robbery charges, and Mitchell was also facing rape and attempted rape charges. 

The trio have been accused of getting on the boat, named Simplicity, while it was docked in the St. George part of Grenada. They have not been charged in the disappearance of Brandel and Hendry yet.

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