Newlywed Isabella Hellman vanished last year on a belated honeymoon. Authorities charged her husband, Lewis Bennett, with her murder Tuesday, according to People.
Hellman vanished on May 14 of last year, according to the Palm Beach Post. The couple had been married about three months and had a 10-month-old daughter.
Hellman, a real estate broker, was reported missing while on a two-week trip with Bennett from St. Maarten to Key West. Bennett was eventually rescued from a life raft by the Coast Guard. When questioned, he said that he was sleeping below deck when the couple’s boat hit something about 70 miles from the Florida shore, southeast of Key West. He told authorities that when he emerged to the top of the vessel, which was a catamaran, there was no trace of Hellman. He added that she was wearing a life vest the last time that he saw her.
Her family took to the public to ask for assistance in her whereabouts.
“Isabella is an amazing sister, friend and mother. Her family is so heartbroken and confused about her disappearance,” said a family friend in a video posted on a Facebook page dedicated to finding Hellman. “So many unanswered questions. Please, if you know anything, contact her family. Isabella is loved by so many. We all just want her home.”
According to the federal complaint against Bennett, authorities believe that the damage to the vessell was intentional. They came to this conclusion by consulting academics as well as the vessel’s manufacturer. Authorities believe that Bennett “wanted to ensure his own rescue and survival after murdering his wife and intentionally scuttling his catamaran.” Bennett is in federal custody following the charges.
Hellman's remains have not been found.
In an unrelated case, Bennett was sentenced Tuesday morning to seven months in prison and three years of supervised release for allegedly transporting stolen coins. In that case, authorities believe that Bennett stole rolls of gold and silver coins from a boat in St. Maarten in 2016. He was a member of the boat's crew at the time. As a dual citizen of the United Kingdom and Australia, he may be deported.
[Photo: Facebook, Broward Sheriff's Office]