Parents travel to US Virgin Islands a year after daughter’s disappearance

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The parents of a woman who went missing from her boyfriend’s yacht in the US Virgin Islands (USVI) have travelled there to seek answers on the anniversary of her disappearance.

Sarm Heslop, 42, from Southampton in Hampshire, went missing from the Siren Song, a catamaran owned and operated by her American boyfriend, Ryan Bane, while off the coast of St John in the early hours of March 8 2021.

Sarm Heslop missing
Sarm Heslop went missing from the Siren Song catamaran (Family handout/PA)

The move comes as #FindSarm, the group of friends set up to publicise the search, say they feel abandoned by the USVI and UK authorities.

They said in a statement: “We are a whole year on from learning of her disappearance and yet we still only have the same handful of facts about what happened that night.”

Sarm’s parents are being accompanied by the British Consul General in Miami following a meeting with the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).

The group added: “We have been so grateful to Hampshire police for assisting the VIPD (Virgin Islands Police Department) with the investigation but we are absolutely gutted that they are now not accompanying Sarm’s parents to the USVI.

“We feel that the USVI and UK authorities could still do a lot more to support the investigation.

“The investigation has stalled and no-one seems willing to push harder for Sarm. She is a UK citizen and she is missing. She deserves more.”

Detective Inspector Matt Gillooly, of Hampshire police, said: “Sarm’s disappearance is understandably troubling and, as such, Hampshire Constabulary has been providing operational support in the UK to assist the US Virgin Islands Police Department investigation.

“We are working with the Government’s Foreign, Commonwealth, & Development Office to support Sarm Heslop’s family in the UK.

“Her family is being supported by the FCDO when they travel to the US Virgin Islands and this is entirely appropriate.

“Hampshire Constabulary cannot comment further on another force’s investigation, but will always be available to assist the US Virgin Islands Police Department as and when requested.”

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