Americans missing from boat in the Caribbean: A timeline

Ralph Hendry and Kathy Brandel, from Virginia, were last seen on Feb. 18.

March 7, 2024, 2:20 PM

An American couple went missing from their yacht in the Caribbean when three escaped prisoners boarded their boat in February.

After days of searching, police said that Ralph Hendry and his wife, Kathy Brandel, were likely dead. But their bodies have not been found.

Here's how the case has unfolded:

Feb. 18

Hendry and Brandel, from Falls Church, Virginia, were last seen alive by their boating neighbor at the dock in Grenada on Feb. 18, according to Hendry's sister, Suellen Desmarais.

The couple, married for 27 years, had been living on their yacht, Simplicity, since they sold their home in 2013.

PHOTO: Ralph Hendry and Kathy Brandel are seen in this undated photo.
Ralph Hendry and Kathy Brandel are seen in this undated photo.
Courtesy Suellen Desmarais

Feb. 19

On the morning of Feb. 19, the neighbor said the couple and their boat were gone, according to Desmarais.

Three escaped prisoners allegedly stole the couple's boat before heading to the nearby island of St. Vincent, where they arrived on the yacht on Feb. 19, police said.

Feb. 21

The three suspects were arrested on Feb. 21 and are cooperating with investigators, police said.

Feb. 26

On Feb. 26, Junior Simmons, head of the public relations and complaints department at Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force, said investigators determined "the suspects committed several criminal acts, including bodily harm, to the couple."

Police processed the scene on the yacht and found signs of violence, Simmons said.

PHOTO: Ralph Hendry and Kathy Brandel's yacht, Simplicity.
Ralph Hendry and Kathy Brandel's yacht, Simplicity.
Courtesy Suellen Desmarais

"Several items were strewn on the deck," Simmons said, and in the cabin was "a red substance that resembled blood."

"Based on the investigation thus far it is presumed that Ralph Hendry and Kathy Brandel are deceased," Simmons said.

Their bodies have not been found.

The three suspects have appeared in a St. Vincent court on immigration-related charges and pleaded guilty, police said. Sentencing was scheduled for March 4, police said.

Feb. 27

On Feb. 27, Henry's son, Bryan Hendry, and Brandel's son, Nick Buro, said in a statement, "We are incredibly saddened to hear the news that our parents Kathy Brandel and Ralph Hendry are now presumed dead. We remain optimistic in the ongoing search."

"Ralph and Kathy lived a life that most of us can only dream of, sailing the eastern coast of the United States, living on their home Simplicity, making friends with everyone they encountered, singing, dancing and laughing with friends and family," the sons said. "We are grateful to have been raised by the strongest people that we will ever know, and we hope that we can follow in their footsteps and strive to be even half as wonderful as them."

"While the end of their life may have been dark, they brought light, and that light will never be extinguished from the hearts and minds of the people who knew, loved and cared so deeply about them," they said. "We are ever hopeful that justice will be served. In honor of Ralph and Kathy, we ask that everyone please take a moment to stop, pray and reflect on how lucky we were to have known them -- hug your loved ones, spend time with your families, and console one another as we all collectively mourn."

March 7

The suspects in the deaths of Kathy Brandel and Ralph Hendry have been charged with murder, police said on March 7.