CRUZ BAY — For the first time ever, British police are assisting the VIPD in the investigation into the disappearance of a 41-year-old woman who went missing from a catamaran in St. John more than three weeks ago.
Sarm Heslop vanished from the Siren Song, a 47-foot yacht owned and operated by her Michigan boyfriend Ryan Bane, while it was moored in Frank Bay in the early hours of March 8.
The family of the 41-year-old Heslop from Southampton say they are becoming increasingly concerned for her and have expressed their gratitude for those continuing to help with the search.
“It is now over three weeks since Sarm went missing, 25 days in which we get more and more concerned as we wait for news,” they said.
The law enforcement joint venture between Scotland Yard and the Virgin Islands Police Department means that the British will be interviewing witnesses along with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in what is currently a missing persons case.
Virgin Islands Police Commissioner Trevor Velinor is a former U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) agent whose management style has been one to use all available resources, including federal, to help combat crime in the territory. Velinor’s salary is paid for by the U.S. government.
Meanwhile, the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force based in the British Virgin Islands to the north of St. John said that it is monitoring the investigation into this case closely.
“We know that the Virgin Islands Police Department (VIPD) is doing as much as possible and we are pleased that Hampshire police is also assisting their investigation.
“We want to say a heartfelt thank you to the local community for continuing their efforts to help search for Sarm.
“If we could travel then we would; we just want to be on the island helping with the search and we dream of being able to wrap our arms round our darling daughter.”
One of Sarm’s best friends, who did not wish to be named, added: “We want to know what happened after Sarm left the restaurant in Cruz Bay.
“As a friends group, we are doing everything we can to help support her parents and each other. No matter how insignificant something may seem, the tiniest detail may be relevant so we would encourage people to come forward and speak to VIPD immediately.”
A Hampshire police spokeswoman said: “Hampshire Constabulary is providing operational support in the UK to assist a US Virgin Islands Police Department investigation.
“This assistance is being facilitated through the UK Government’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office. Hampshire Constabulary cannot comment further on another force’s investigation.”