Sarm Heslop: Concern grows for British woman who vanished from her boyfriend’s boat
Friends of a British woman who disappeared from a boat in the Caribbean are desperate for news of her whereabouts.
Sarm Heslop, from Southampton, was last seen on 7 March when she was aboard her American boyfriend’s catamaran in the US Virgin Islands.
The 41-year-old and her partner Ryan Bane had gone out for dinner earlier that evening before returning to the boat, anchored off Frank Bay in St John.
But in the early hours of the morning, Mr Bane says he woke up to find she had vanished.
Police divers have been searching local waters for any sign of Ms Heslop, but so far with no luck – and her friends are now growing increasingly worried for her safety.
"It’s completely out of character," said Andrew Baldwin, who is a long-time friend of Ms Heslop. "She would not leave her possessions just sat on the boat.
"She has friends locally in the Caribbean, she has friends in England; she would’ve reached out and asked for help if she needed it."
Ms Heslop is understood to have moved to the Caribbean for love and to follow her dream of becoming a chef on her boyfriend’s boat.
Another friend, Flora Pickard, who met Ms Heslop through the the sailing community, said at first she thought her friend had gone out to celebrate.
She said: "At first, I didn’t believe it, I was like she’s probably gone out partying somewhere and we’ll hear from her in a couple of days.
"But it’s been over a week, reality is hitting and hitting hard. But no one is giving up."
According to Mr Bane’s lawyer, his client had called the Virgin Islands Police Department (VIPD) at around 2.30am on 8 March, after he discovered his girlfriend was missing.
He added: "Mr Bane then immediately met members of the VIPD on shore in St John.
"He is devastated that Sarm is missing and is praying that she is found safe."