Virginia couple missing in Grenada and feared killed after yacht allegedly stolen by escaped criminals

Two Americans who planned to spend the winter on a yacht in the Caribbean were officially missing Monday, but feared to have been killed after their boat was stolen by prison escapees in Grenada. Kathy Brendle and Ralph Hendry were last seen a week ago near a beach in the small island nation. Police found their sailboat, and captured three escaped criminals whom they believe stole it.

Grenadan police were still searching for the couple, who are from Northern Virginia, and they told CBS News’ Washington D.C. affiliate WUSA that no bodies had been found.

Family and friends have described the couple as seasoned sailors who just last year sailed their yacht, named Simplicity, from Hampton, Virginia to Antigua. They confirmed that the pair had been vacationing in Grenada, where their boat was docked.

St. Vincent Grenada Hijacked Yacht
The yacht “Simplicity,” which officials say was hijacked by three escaped prisoners with two people on board, is seen docked at the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Coastguard Service Calliaqua Base, in Calliaqua, St. Vincent, Feb. 23, 2024.

Kenton X. Chance/AP

“It’s just really sad,” said longtime friend K.C. McAlpin, who added that Brendle and Hendry had planned to make this their “last grand trip” on Simplicity.

Instead, things may have taken a very tragic turn. The yacht was found on Feb. 18, abandoned on a beach on the nearby island of St. Vincent.
That same day, police in Grenada said they had arrested three convicted criminals who had escaped from custody.

The three men — identified as Ron Mitchell, 30, Trevon Robertson, 19, and Abita Stanislaus, 25 — were arrested in December over an alleged violent robbery. Mitchell also faced one count of rape, three counts of attempted rape and two counts of indecent assault and causing harm.

The police believe the men hijacked the couple’s yacht in Grenada and then traveled to St. Vincent.

Police said they found evidence suggesting the pair were killed, but the Americans’ deaths have not been confirmed and the investigation was still in its early stages, they stressed.

Over the weekend, family members released a statement thanking officials and those who had helped gather information, saying it ” means so much to us that so many people care for Ralph and Kathy.”

McAlpin said the couple always made friends easily and he hoped they would be remembered for their big hearts.

“They were just a delightful couple and a real blessing in my life, and the lives of so many other people,” he said.

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