Police searching for missing British woman Sarm Heslop in the US Virgin Islands say her boyfriend has not let them search their luxury catamaran where she was last seen.
The US Coast Guard was alerted to Sarm Heslop’s disappearance at 11.46 am on Monday when her boyfriend, American yachtsman Captain Ryan Bane, could not find her aboard the 47ft Siren Song.
Divers have since joined the search amid concerns the 41-year-old from Southampton fell overboard.
Police say American yachtsman Captain Ryan Bane (right) has not allowed officers to search the £500,000 vessel, anchored 120ft from secluded Frank Bay.
Sarm Heslop, 41, has not been seen since Monday and officers have allegedly been stopped form going aboard the vessel
Police searching for the missing 41-year-old from Southampton have been scouring land and water off the island of St John, where the yacht was moored.
But the officers have allegedly been stopped from stepping foot on the Siren Song by Mr Bane.
Virgin Islands Police Department (VIPD) spokesman Toby Derima said officers had performed an ‘initial land search’, adding on the BBC: ‘Soon after reporting Ms Heslop missing, Mr Bane acquired the services of an attorney.
‘Upon his attorney’s advice, Mr Bane exercised his constitutional right to remain silent and denied officers’ requests to search the vessel.’
Boyfriend Bane had earlier said the couple had been for dinner in a restaurant, leaving at 10 pm in line with the local Covid curfew and taking their dinghy back to the three-berth, £500,000 vessel, anchored 120ft from secluded Frank Bay.
They went to sleep, Ryan says, and when he woke at 2 am after his yacht’s anchor alarm sounded, Sarm had gone.
It comes as a friend of Sarm’s in the UK said they were told that her phone, passport and belongings had all been left behind on the yacht.
The friend added: ‘We would like to thank all the local community for their support in searching for Sarm both on water and land.
‘They have been so amazing but we urge them not to give up until she is found or we have more information.’
Heslop is described as a slim 41-year-old woman with a southern English accent and a tattoo on her left shoulder.
A search of land and sea has been undertaken by the police and an army of local volunteers
She was last seen onboard on Sunday before her boyfriend called the Coast Guard’s San Juan station reporting that ‘his girlfriend may have fallen’ from the yacht.
The Leopard 4700 luxury catamaran was moored off the coast of St John, the third-largest of the US Virgin Islands.
Police spokesman Toby Derima said: ‘Divers from various law enforcement agencies have searched hundreds of square feet of water for Heslop.
Volunteers from the Virgin Islands have also scoured the area around Cruz Bay during daylight hours, police said.
Sarm Heslop vanished from 47ft yacht, the Siren Song, on March 7, while it was moored off the coast of St John in the U.S. Virgin Islands — and she hasn’t been seen since
‘Unfortunately, this effort proved unsuccessful,’ said Derima who added that the search will continue.
An island source in St John where the boat was last seen said that they are very concerned about her welfare.
‘An Englishwoman has gone missing on our island and we are appealing for help in trying to locate her, ‘they said.
‘Every day that goes by and we don’t have any news about her is a major concern for us. We need to locate her as soon as possible.’