Create a free profile to get unlimited access to exclusive videos, breaking news, sweepstakes, and more!
Boyfriend Of Missing UK Woman Who Vanished From Boat In The Virgin Islands Was Previously Arrested For Domestic Abuse
Ryan Bane was arrested for domestic abuse in 2011 after his ex-wife told deputies that he had "grabbed her in the dining room, threw her to the ground, and smashed her head into the floor, chipping one of her teeth.”
The boyfriend of a U.K. woman who mysteriously disappeared from his boat in the U.S. Virgin Islands earlier this month, was previously arrested on a domestic abuse charge.
Sarm Heslop, 41, was last seen March 7 aboard the 47-foot catamaran Siren Song after returning to the vessel around 10 p.m. with her American boyfriend 44-year-old Ryan Bane.
Bane reported her missing to the Virgin Islands Police Department early the next morning around 2:30 a.m., but police have said he retained an attorney soon after, has stopped answering questions and refused to let police search the luxury vessel in the weeks that have followed, according to the Evening Standard.
He hasn't been labeled a suspect or person of interest in the case at this stage.
The FBI has now been called in to aid in the search for the missing woman, just as information surfaced that Bane has a past record of alleged domestic abuse involving his ex-wife, Cori Stevenson, in Michigan, where the couple once lived together.
According to an Oakland County Sheriff’s Office arrest record, obtained by Oxygen.com, Bane’s ex-wife told deputies the couple had been driving home from a wedding on Nov. 27, 2011 when Bane—who she said had been drinking—fell asleep in the car. She needed directions home and tried to wake him, but he got angry and used “abusive language” toward her and began “kicking at the dashboard, radio and gearshift of the vehicle,” she told deputies.
Stevenson’s name is redacted from the report, but multiple outlets including CrimeOnline, who spoke with Stevenson, have confirmed she was the victim in the incident.
She told deputies that after they got home, Bane “dragged her out of the truck.” After the couple was inside, she told deputies that he “grabbed her in the dining room, threw her to the ground, and smashed her head into the floor, chipping one of her teeth.”
She fought him off and was able to escape to the laundry room where she called 911.
Deputies arrived to find her right ear lobe “bloody and scratched,” red scratches along her right shoulder and neck and a scratched right eyelid. The shirt of her collar had also been stretched and torn, according to the report.
“She states that Ryan has been becoming increasingly verbally abusive toward her, and that he has been physically abusive one time previously,” the arresting deputy wrote.
Bane told authorities that Stevenson had been the one to drag him out of the car. He claimed once inside their home, she yelled at him, threw objects at him in the kitchen and attacked him; however, authorities noted in the report that some of the evidence discovered at the scene did not seem to support that narrative.
Stevenson told CrimeOnline that she and Bane were married in 2008; however, his demeanor toward her started to change almost immediately after their wedding. She said she even decided to cut their honeymoon short after fearing for her safety and described a difficult marriage before the couple divorced in 2014.
Stevenson has reportedly reached out to the Virgin Islands Police to alert them to her concerns about her former husband as the search for Heslop continues.
Toby Derima, a spokesman for the Virgin Islands Police, said authorities are doing everything they can to determine what happened to Heslop, including searching other local islands like St. Thomas and continuing to try to gain access to the boat.
“We are doing everything we can to get on the boat,” Derima said, according to The Telegraph. “We have to have an actual reason. Just him being the last person [to see Heslop]—isn’t considered enough probable cause. Detectives know what they need to have probable cause. The court isn’t going to give them the warrant they need.”
Heslop’s friends have openly criticized Bane for not agreeing to let police search the catamaran.
“If Mr. Bane loves Sarm then why wouldn’t he want to aid in the investigation as much as possible?” close friend Andrew Baldwin told the Telegraph. “We welcome reports that the FBI is now assisting with the investigation and would implore the FBI and our UK police force to each dedicate an officer to support the USVIPD until we have an outcome, whatever that may be.”
They have also questioned a seemingly nine-hour delay between the time Bane reported her missing to police and when he called the U.S. Coast Guard.
While Bane reportedly contacted police at 2:30 a.m., a spokesperson for the United States Coast Guard District 7 told Oxygen.com in a statement that they were not notified about the disappearance until 11:46 a.m. on March 8.
They boarded the boat to take the report, although it's not clear whether a search was done at that time.
“As part of the search and rescue effort, the Coast Guard went aboard the vessel to interview and gather information from the reporting source. Later, the Coast Guard returned to the vessel to conduct a standard vessel safety check to ensure proper equipment and compliance with applicable rules and regulations for vessel type and operation,” the statement said.
Bane’s attorney, David Cattie, told Fox News that Bane traveled to meet with Virgin Islands Police to give them a statement the morning Heslop disappeared and that “multiple USCG officers” boarded the boat and “conducted a search of the vessel for Ms. Heslop later that morning.”
“Ryan’s thoughts are with Sarm and her family at this time, and he is praying for her safe return,” Cattie said according to The Telegraph.
Heslop is described as a Caucasian female, approximately 5’8” tall, with an athletic build and long, dark brown hair, according to the website FindSarm.com. She has a large, colorful tattoo of a seahorse, butterfly and flower on her shoulder.
Anyone with information about her whereabouts is urged to contact authorities.