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Florida Native Holds Girlfriend In St. Thomas Airbnb For ‘Several Days’ And Beats Her Repeatedly

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — A Florida native has been charged with holding his girlfriend against her will in a St. Thomas apartment — repeatedly assaulting her — and not allowing her contact with the outside world for “several days,” official and social media sources said.

Joseph Henschel, 44, currently of Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico was arrested at 6:18 p.m. Monday and charged with false imprisonment-domestic violence, the Virgin Islands Police Department said.

Detectives interviewed the victim at the Roy L. Schneider Regional Medical Center on June 2, when she said that Henschel “locked her in an apartment against her will for several days, keeping her mobile phone from her.” according to the VIPD.

VIPD mugshot of 44-year-old Clearwater, Florida native Joseph “Joe” Henschel.

“The victim was eventually able to get to a phone and messaged friends for help,” VIPD spokesman Toby Derima said. “When the victim’s friends went to the apartment to check on her, she was able to escape as Henschel opened the door.”

Henschel allegedly assaulted the victim during the time that she was held captive, leaving her with visible injuries to her face, legs, head, arms, and ribs that required medical attention, according to Derima.

Henschel was not offered bail as per the territory’s domestic violence statutes.

FAMILY MAN? Joseph “Joe” Henschel on Facebook.

He was remanded to the custody of the Virgin Islands Bureau of Corrections (BOC) pending an advice-of-rights hearing.

Henschel said on Facebook that he is from Clearwater, Florida. He said that he became “self-employed” on June 4, according to Facebook.

The VIPD falsely listed Henschel as someone with “no fixed address;” but he was clearly paying jointly for an Airbnb property with his live-in girlfriend in St. Thomas.

His motto on social media is: “Family, real friends and a positive goal for the future, I will get there.”

On Facebook, he said that he studied business management at City College Fort Lauderdale.

He said that he is currently a resident of Trujillo Alto, which is a municipality of Puerto Rico located in the Northern Coastal Plain and in the karst zone, north of Caguas, and Gurabo; southeast of San Juan.

Derima personally called a V.I. Free Press reporter and said the picture of the woman in a bigbox store’s shopping cart in short pants on March 25 could be Henschel’s accuser.

Henschel’s accuser said in published reports that when local police arrested him and took his mugshot he was impaired by drinking alcohol.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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