Prison escapees charged with murder in deaths of American couple presumed dead after yacht hijack

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Three inmates who escaped situation successful Grenada past period person been charged pinch superior execution successful nan deaths of an American mates presumed dormant after their yacht was hijacked.

Ron Mitchell, 30, Atiba Stanisclaus, 25, and Trevon Robertson, 23, were charged pinch 2 counts of superior execution “by intentionally causing” nan deaths of Ralph Hendry and Kathleen Brandel, nan Royal Grenada Police Force announced Thursday. 

The 3 men had escaped custody connected nan land of Grenada connected Feb. 18, "commandeered" a yacht called Simplicity docked successful nan St. George area, and made their measurement to nan adjacent land of St. Vincent and nan Grenadines, wherever they were recaptured connected Feb. 21, constabulary had said.

Kathy Brandel, beforehand left, and Ralph Hendry, beforehand right, pinch family.Kathy Brandel, beforehand left, and Ralph Hendry, beforehand right, pinch family.Courtesy Hendry Family

Simplicity was Hendry and Brandel's sailing yacht and they were connected committee astatine nan time.

St. Vincent and nan Grenadines Police said past week nan mates is presumed “deceased.”

Royal Grenada Police Commissioner Don McKenzie besides said past week the mates was astir apt “disposed of” astatine oversea by nan escaped prisoners. McKenzie said there’s a “low probability” Brandel and Henry mightiness beryllium alive.

The segment connected nan couple’s vessel was “consistent pinch signs of violence,” St. Vincent and nan Grenadines Police Superintendent Junior Simmons said past week.

“Several items were strewn connected nan platform and successful nan cabin, and a reddish constituent that resembled humor was seen connected board,” he said. “There was nary find of bodies connected committee nan yacht.”

The 3 inmates were besides charged pinch escaping lawful custody, housebreaking, robbery, and 2 counts of kidnapping. Stanislaus was additionally charged pinch 1 count of rape — though constabulary did not opportunity who Stanislaus is accused of raping. 

All 3 made their first tribunal quality successful tribunal Thursday and were remanded to prison. They are owed backmost successful tribunal connected March 27.

Hendry and Brandel, American retirees and sailing enthusiasts, traded their life successful Alexandria, Virginia, for their longtime dream of life astatine sea, experiencing "a different escapade each day," Brandel’s son, Nick Buro, told NBC Washington.

The mates had been readying nan travel down to Grenada — their first to nan Caribbean land — for “years and years and years, training themselves, preparing nan boat, preparing themselves ... to make nan trip,” Hendry’s son, Bryan Hendry, told the station.

The family of Hendry and Brandel released a connection connected Feb. 27 done nan Salty Dawg Sailing Association, which nan mates had made their voyage to nan Caribbean with.

“We are incredibly saddened to perceive nan news that our parents Kathy Brandel and Ralph Hendry are now presumed dead. We stay optimistic successful nan on-going hunt led by nan St. Vincent Coast Guard," nan connection said.

"While nan extremity of their life whitethorn person been dark, they brought light, and that light will ne'er beryllium extinguished from nan hearts and minds of nan group who knew, loved and cared truthful profoundly astir them," it continued.

“Ralph and Kathy lived a life that astir of us can only dream of, sailing nan eastbound seashore of nan United States, surviving connected their location Simplicity, making friends pinch everyone they encountered, singing, dancing and laughing pinch friends and family — that’s who Ralph and Kathy were and that’s really they will beryllium remembered successful our hearts."


Marlene Lenthang

Breaking News Reporter