Orion Township native at center of search for missing woman in Virgin Islands

FBI joins police in search for Sarm Heslop

A Michigan man is at the center of the search for a British woman who has gone missing the U.S. Virgin Island.

DETROIT – A Michigan man is at the center of the search for a British woman who has gone missing the U.S. Virgin Island.

Sarm Heslop went missing more than two weeks ago, but the investigation is at a standstill.

Ryan Bane -- from Orion Township -- has reportedly refused to let investigators continue to search his boat after reporting his girlfriend missing while the two were sailing between islands.

The FBI has joined the Virgin Islands Police Department (VIPD) in the search.

According to police and reports, Heslop, 41, hasn’t been seen since about 10 p.m., March 7. She and her Bane, 44, had last been seen at a restaurant on the island of Saint Thomas.

Police said Bane called local authorities at about 2:30 a.m., March 8 and said he couldn’t find Heslop after he had been awoken by their boat’s anchor alarm that’s used to alert sailors when a boat has drifted too far.

Authorities said they told Bane to call the U.S. Coast Guard, but he didn’t make the call until nine hours later.

The pair had traveled between the two popular Caribbean islands and were reportedly anchored just off the Pillsbury Sound, which is known for its powerful underwater currents.

Since her disappearance, Heslop’s family has begun a website chronicling the search. In a statement released Wednesday, the family said they hope the media attention will spur a more thorough investigation.

An attorney for Bane released a statement that said Bane allowed investigators on his boat and handed over Heslop’s personal items.

“Ryan’s thoughts and prayers are with Sarm and her family at this time,” the statement reads in part, “He is praying for her safe return.”

According to CrimeOnline.com, Bane was accused of domestic abuse in Oakland County against his now ex-wife in 2011.

More information can be found on FindSarm.com or the official Facebook page here.

About the Authors:

Grant comes to Local 4 from Oklahoma City. He joins the news team as co-anchor of Local 4 News Today weekend mornings and is a general assignment reporter.

Dane is a producer and media enthusiast. He previously worked freelance video production and writing jobs in Michigan, Georgia and Massachusetts. Dane graduated from the Specs Howard School of Media Arts.