NBC's Dateline, Airing Tonight, Puts USVI in Spotlight With Investigation Into Sarm Heslop's Disappearance

Investigations Published On March 11, 2022 05:54 AM
Ernice Gilbert | March 11, 2022 05:54:29 AM

For V.I. Police Commissioner Trevor Velinor will appear on Dateline's latest episode, which airs on Fri. March 11, 2022 at 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time By DATELINE

The U.S. Virgin Islands will be in the spotlight tonight during NBC's latest Dateline program, as the respected investigative series takes on a case that has gone cold in the territory: the disappearance of Sarm Heslop, the British woman last seen off the coast of St. Thomas by Ryan Bane — the man she sailed to the USVI with on a catamaran named "Siren Song" — approximately one year ago.

"A mystery in paradise unfolds when Sarm Heslop, a British woman, vanishes from her boyfriend’s luxury yacht in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Friday’s all-new Dateline NBC investigates the disappearance that made international headlines and left investigators with more questions than answers," reads a description of the Dateline program set to air tonight.

Being reported by Dateline's Andrea Canning, tonight's broadcasting will feature an exclusive interview with Bane's ex-wife, along with interviews with U.S. Coast Guard Lieutenant Commander Jan League, former V.I. Police Commissioner Trevor Velinor, and others.

The program will air at 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time tonight, a preview of which can be seen here.

In November, Bane and his catamaran, on which both he and Heslop lived before she went missing, were spotted in a somewhat secluded marina in Grenada. Bane was seen walking his distinctive white dog, lounging in the sunshine on the yacht’s deck, and sipping coffees in the cafe of Le Phere Bleu Marina. International media outlets reported rumors later confirmed by the Consortium’s on-the-ground sources that the catamaran’s identifying details — name and registration number, usually prominently displayed by all registered seagoing vessels had been removed from the sides of the boat, with only faint outlines remaining of where “Siren Song” was painted. 

The VIC Regional News Desk received a message from our source about 2:00 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 16 2021. They sent a photo of the marina. Bane’s boat was not in its usual spot. 

 The 47-foot Leopard 4-head vessel was listed on several sites - asking price, $229,0000. One of the listings indicates a recent upgrade of the onboard refrigerator and freezer, among other things. Heslop’s family had been pleading for Bane to return to the U.S. Virgin Islands so that law enforcement there could examine the boat.

Despite claiming, through his lawyer, that he was “devastated” by his girlfriend’s disappearance over eight months ago, Bane has never allowed authorities to look for clues in the place he says Heslop was last seen - aboard the catamaran. U.S. Coast Guard officers, responding to Bane’s belated report of his girlfriend’s disappearance, were denied the opportunity to do anything but a cursory inspection of the deck of the vessel — they cited Bane for denying them full access to the boat, contrary to the narrative spun by Bane’s lawyer, who’d said the responding officers were able to inspect the vessel without limitation. 

Sarm Heslop’s friends and family say that even the smallest clue gleaned from the boat could hold the key to solving the mystery of her disappearance. For their part, the U.S. Virgin Islands Police Department says they are very interested in interviewing Bane and searching his boat, but several attempts at obtaining a search warrant for that purpose had been rebuffed by the courts because, according to a police source close to the investigation, detectives had not provided anything of “evidentiary value” to justify such a warrant. Because Bane has never been declared a suspect in Heslop’s disappearance, he is free to sail the open seas — at least for now.

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