Silently swigging beer on the deck of his luxury yacht, this is the wealthy American beau of missing Brit Sarm Heslop who is refusing to cooperate with cops investigating her disappearance.
Ryan Bane, 44, claims girlfriend Sarm, 41, vanished without trace from his catamaran while it was anchored overnight in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
But two weeks later the case is at a standstill after wealthy Bane lawyered up and blocked detectives from conducting a fingertip search of his 47-foot vessel, the Siren Song.
Authorities need a warrant to board but are yet to obtain one because Sarm’s March 8 disappearance has not been classified as a criminal inquiry and Bane is currently neither a suspect, nor a person of interest.
Ryan Bane is seen swigging beer on the deck of his luxury yacht. He is the wealthy American beau of missing Brit Sarm Heslop. Authorities need a warrant to board but are yet to obtain one because Sarm’s March 8 disappearance has not been classified as a criminal inquiry
Bane is refusing to cooperate with cops investigating Sarm’s disappearance. Bane is currently neither a suspect, nor a person of interest
Bane, 44, claims girlfriend Sarm, 41, vanished without trace from his catamaran while it was anchored overnight in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Heslop’s friends insist they are not ‘pointing fingers’ at Bane but are calling on the American, who moved to the Caribbean in 2015, ‘to provide as many details as possible’
DailyMail.com can reveal the rugged boat skipper remains holed up on his yacht which is still moored in idyllic St. John – off limits to investigators from both the Virgin Islands Police Department (VIPD) and the FBI.
The Michigan native broke cover Tuesday to take a dinghy to shore to shop for supplies and a six pack of beer before returning to his boat in the late afternoon.
As the sun went down, Bane sat bare-chested on deck, speaking on the phone and sipping a beer with just his pet Labrador, Hunter, for company.
A close friend told DailyMail.com Bane was not in hiding but was refusing to speak to the island’s police officers because he didn’t trust them.
‘My suggestion to him was that he makes some sort of statement and is as cooperative as possible,’ the friend said. ‘But I think he’s scared, I think he’s totally spun out. He is definitely bereaved. He had finally found a girl he was in love with.
‘I think that his concern is that the VIPD is not real well known for conducting any sort of investigation with clarity. ‘He’s concerned that something could go wrong or be spun the wrong way, or that they’re going to be looking for something to implicate him as opposed to the other way around.’
Sarm, a former flight attendant from Southampton, England, met Bane on Tinder eight months ago and travelled to the Caribbean to work as a cook on Siren Song, which he charters out for more than $2,000 a day.
The Michigan native broke cover Tuesday to take a dinghy to shore to shop for supplies and a six pack of beer before returning to his boat in the late afternoon
As the sun went down, Bane sat bare-chested on deck, speaking on the phone and sipping a beer with just his pet Labrador, Hunter, for company
A close friend told DailyMail.com Bane was not in hiding but was refusing to speak to the island’s police officers because he didn’t trust them
Heslop, from Southampton, England, met Bane on Tinder eight months ago. She disappeared from Siren Song, which was moored 120ft from Frank Bay on the extreme western end of St. John on March 8. The couple are pictured together
It’s understood the couple had lined up ten or more bookings for the coming season, worth around $100,000.
However their plans came to a shocking halt when Bane raised the alarm at 2:30am on March 8, telling police his lover was gone but her belongings were still on board. In his initial account to cops later that morning Bane said the pair had been out for dinner the previous night before going back to the boat at 10pm to sleep.
He said he was woken up at 2am by an anchor alarm, which triggers an alert if the boat is straying from its position. By then Sarm had vanished. Police say Bane was advised to ring the US Coast Guard but it later emerged they did not receive the SOS call until 11:46am – more than nine hours later.
A massive land and sea search involving divers, a helicopter and an island-wide appeal for leads subsequently failed to find Sarm or any evidence that she fell overboard.
Since then cops have been scouring CCTV from island bars and businesses to trace the couple’s last steps but have been prevented from setting foot on Siren Song.
Soon after reporting 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,’ said VIPD spokesman Toby Derima.
He added: ‘We would need to show the court that we had probable cause to search the boat, as this is not yet a criminal case. ‘We thought we could just ask Mr Bane to search the boat and he would say yes and he didn’t. That is his right. Getting the search warrant would be the next step.’
Pillsbury Sound, the stretch of water separating St. John from St. Thomas, is referred to locally as the ‘washing machine’ because of powerful rip currents that occur where the Caribbean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean
Siren Song was moored 100ft from the shore in shallow waters however the seabed drops to 70ft deep a little further out
A friend of Bane’s told DailyMail.com that he had already consented to two searches of Siren Song before he sought legal advice
Bane’s confidante told DailyMail.com that he had already consented to two searches of Siren Song before he sought legal advice.
‘When they wanted to search a third time he was like, listen, I want you to search for her but she’s not on the boat,’ the friend said. ‘And that got spun into him denying a request to search the boat which wasn’t really the case.
‘He’s not running from anything, he’s just super overwhelmed and feeling like people are coming for him with pitchforks. ‘He’s just looking for a lawyer to tell him how to proceed.’
Bane and Sarm had spent the evening prior to her disappearance having dinner at 420 to Center, a dive bar hangout for locals in Cruz Bay, the island’s tourism and nightlife hub.
Staff there said they were unable to discuss the case but a source told DailyMail.com that a barman who remembered seeing the couple was due to speak with the FBI. ‘He’s made it clear he can’t speak. But he did see them,’ the insider confirmed.
After leaving 420 to Center, the couple likely walked or took a taxi half a mile back to Frank Bay, a secluded beach beautyspot popular with bathers and dog walkers.
Siren Song was moored 100ft from the shore in shallow waters however the seabed drops to 70ft deep a little further out.
Pillsbury Sound, the stretch of water separating St. John from St. Thomas, is referred to locally as the ‘washing machine’ because of powerful rip currents that occur where the Caribbean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean.
Corie Stevenson, married to fellow American Mr Bane, 44, for six years, came forward to say her ex ‘went to jail for kicking my a**’
Sarm Heslop, 41, a former air hostess for Flybe airline, vanished in the dead of night from Ryan Bane’s 47ft catamaran Siren Song in the US Virgin Islands two weeks ago
The booking card is seen for Bane. He was taken in by the Oakland County Sheriffs office
‘He told me they went out, they went to bed, the alarm went off and woke him up and she was gone,’ Bane’s friend told DailyMail.com.
Ryan Bane is seen in his mugshot after he was arrested in 2011 for attacking his ex-wife
‘He went out on his dinghy and was screaming for her, and trying to find her and yelling her name.
‘If he’s at fault obviously I want justice for her, but I find it very hard to believe that’s the case. I’m hoping that what is worked out will exonerate him
Earlier this week it was revealed that Bane served 21 days in jail in 2011 for attacking his ex-wife, Corie Stevenson, as they drove home from a wedding in Lake Orion, Michigan.
According to a police complaint he flew into a rage and dragged her out of the truck before smashing her head into the dining room floor, chipping one of her teeth.
‘Corie’s front right tooth had a chip out of it that appeared to be fresh,’ wrote Officer Vincent Lichok. ‘Her right ear lobe was bloody and scratched. Her right shoulder and the right side of her neck showed red scratches. Her right eyelid was scratched and red.’
Stevenson, 43, told the officer Bane had attacked her six months previously but she had not reported it.
In a 2013 divorce filing, she said the marriage had broken down to such an extent that ‘objects of matrimony have been destroyed and there remains no reasonable likelihood that the marriage can be preserved.’
Police papers obtained by Daily Mail.com reveal Bane attacked his ex-wife because she kept asking him for directions as she drove home from a wedding
Stevenson told the cops that Bane had attacked her about six months earlier so badly that she had to skip work for several days due to the marks on her face. She said she did not report that incident
A copy of the couple’s ex parte restraining order is pictured, issued during their 2013 divorce
In the UK, Sarm’s anguished friends and family have been pushing for answers in her disappearance, questioning Bane’s timeline and saying they find it ‘incredibly difficult to believe’ she fell of the boat.
‘We would like assurance that the authorities in the Virgin Islands are doing everything possible to find her and that the investigation into our beautiful and cherished daughter’s disappearance includes a comprehensive fingertip search of the boat,’ her parents Peter Heslop and Brenda Street said in a statement.
David Cattie, Bane’s attorney, told NBC: ‘Ryan’s thoughts are with Sarm and her family at this time, and he is praying for her safe return.’