CRUZ BAY — Police are pressing the boyfriend of a British woman missing from St. John for nearly three months to begin cooperating fully with their investigation.
Sarm Heslop’s Michigan boyfriend Ryan Bane has refused to allow police to search his boat, from where he says she disappeared in the early hours of March 8.
Bane also refused to allow the Coast Guard full access to his boat, Siren Song, after telling them he had been woken by the anchor alarm and found her gone.
Now police have appealed for him to give all the help and information he can to assist with their inquiries.
“We would like the boyfriend to cooperate with the police,” VIPD spokesman Toby Derima told The Telegraph, “We would like to ask him a few questions. We need his cooperation and for him to come forward so we can speak to him.”
Police said his boat has not been searched because they have not established probable cause required under local law to obtain a search warrant.
“American citizens have rights and we cannot go and search his boat unless we have probable cause to do so,” Derima added. “We need to have probable cause to search his boat and that is why we need him to speak to us to tell us more. Right now there is nothing we can do nor can we get a warrant without probable cause.”
Police said Bane reported 41-year-old Heslop missing to police at 2:30 a.m., but did not inform the Coast Guard about her disappearance until around noon the same day.
When the Coast Guard boarded the Siren Song Bane, 44, refused to let them search below deck — leading to him receiving a citation for impeding officers.
Coast Guard officials said that when they visited his boat that afternoon, during a search and rescue operation, they found him “drunk and uncooperative.” He refused to answer questions and physically prevented them from searching his boat.
Virgin Islands police confirmed on Tuesday that the body of a woman found on May 19 at Bugby Hole, about 40 miles (65km) from St. John, was not that of Heslop.
Local police have been joined by FBI agents from the U.S. mainland in their investigation into Heslop’s disappearance. She had been living aboard Siren Song with Bane, acting as a chef and hostess on charter cruises for private clients.
Detectives say it is not certain that Heslop in fact made it back to the boat at all after she was last seen with Bane eating at a restaurant in St John.
CCTV footage from a number of Cruz Bay locations has been examined by police, but so far there has been no sign of her.
Bank cards and a cell phone belonging to Heslop were still on board the Siren Song when she vanished.
Bane has said he is “desperate” for Heslop to be found.
David Cattie, attorney for Bane, has previously said: “Ryan’s only hope is that Sarm is found alive and well… Mr. Bane has spent countless hours searching for Sarm and will continue to do so. Ryan is devastated that Sarm is missing.”
Bane served 21 days in jail for a 60-day sentence in 2011 for assaulting his then wife Cori Stevenson.
Friends of Heslop in the United Kingdom have offered a reward of up to $10,000 for information and set up a Missing Sarm Heslop Facebook page to share information about her disappearance.
“Eleven weeks since Sarm Heslop went missing we are still pushing for news, asking questions and trying to keep Sarm in people’s hearts and minds,” friends said.
SOURCE: The Telegraph