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3 men suspected in disappearance of U.S. sailing couple ordered deported from St. Vincent

The men escaped from a police holding cell in Grenada on Feb. 18 and are suspected of hijacking Ralph Hendry and Kathy Brandel's catamaran while the couple were aboard.
/ Source: The Associated Press

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent — Three men from Grenada suspected in the disappearance of a U.S. couple whose catamaran was hijacked were ordered deported from St. Vincent on Monday.

The men, Trevon Robertson, a 19-year-old unemployed man; Abita Stanislaus, a 25-year-old farmer; and Ron Mitchell, a 30-year-old sailor, had pleaded guilty to immigration charges in a court in the eastern Caribbean island of St. Vincent.

Senior Magistrate Colin John ordered that they be repatriated “as soon as practicable.”

From Left, Trevon Robertson, Ron Mitchell, Abita Stanislaus
Trevon Robertson, Ron Mitchell and Abita Stanislaus.RSVG Police Force

The men had escaped from a police holding cell in Grenada on Feb. 18 and are suspected of hijacking the catamaran while Ralph Hendry and Kathy Brandel were aboard.

Police have said they believe the couple were thrown overboard as the suspects sailed to St. Vincent, where they were arrested on Feb. 21. They have not been charged in the case.

The investigation is ongoing, with authorities noting there were signs of violence aboard the couple’s boat found abandoned in St. Vincent.

Last month, Robertson, Stanislaus and Mitchell were held at the South Saint George Police Station in Grenada when they escaped.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Superintendent Junior Simmons has said Brandel and Hendry were likely dead.

“Based on the investigation thus far, it is presumed that Ralph Hendry and Kathy Brandel are deceased,” Simmons said in a video statement.

Kathy Brandel, front left, and Ralph Hendry, front right, with family.
Kathy Brandel, front left, and Ralph Hendry, front right, with family members.Courtesy Hendry Family

Royal Grenada Police Commissioner Don McKenzie has said the three men escaped from jail before they “commandeered” the couple’s boat, called Simplicity, and headed north. The escapees boarded the boat while it was docked in the St. George area of Grenada, police said.

The nonprofit Salty Dawg Sailing Association described Hendry and Brandel as “veteran cruisers” who participated in last year’s Caribbean Rally from Hampton, Virginia, to Antigua, and had planned to spend the winter cruising in the eastern Caribbean.