Retired Virginia couple hijacked at sea and likely killed

ST. GEORGE’S, GRENADA – A retired couple from Virginia, known for their annual winter trips to the Caribbean, are feared dead after their yacht was hijacked by three escaped prisoners, according to local authorities. Ralph Hendry and Kathy Brandel were docked in the St. George’s area of Grenada when their catamaran, “Simplicity,” was seized.

The escapees, aged 30, 19, and 20, were previously incarcerated on charges of violent robbery. The eldest was also facing three counts of attempted rape. The couple’s yacht was discovered abandoned and in disarray, leading investigators to believe a violent act occurred.

The Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) found the three fugitives near another Caribbean Island on Wednesday. However, there was no sign of Hendry and Brandel. The RGPF is currently pursuing leads suggesting the couple may have been killed during the hijacking.

Jessica Mause, a close friend of the couple’s son, expressed her grief on a GoFundMe page she set up, confirming the couple’s death. However, Hendry‚Äôs sister, Suellen Desmarais, remains hopeful, questioning the conclusion without concrete evidence.

The RGPF has taken into custody the three suspects, identified as Ron Mitchell, a 30-year-old sailor; Trevon Robertson, a 19-year-old unemployed man; and Abita Stanislaus, a 20-year-old farmer. All are local residents of Paradise in Grenada.

Nicole Parker, a former FBI special agent, expressed her concerns about the case. She suspects the couple was forced to sail to a specific location, killed, and then discarded overboard. Parker also mentioned that the FBI often assists in international investigations involving U.S. citizens, though it is unclear if they have been called upon in this case.

The couple was part of a sailing association called the Salty Dog. Its president, Rob Osborn, expressed his shock over the incident, stating that such occurrences are rare in Grenada.