Prison Escapees Face Murder Charges for Missing US Couple

Grenada charges 3 men who allegedly hijacked husband and wife's yacht, threw them overboard
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 8, 2024 12:07 PM CST
Prison Escapees Face Murder Charges for Missing US Couple
Police handcuff together escaped prisoners Atiba Stanislaus, far left, and Trevon Robertson in the back of a truck in Kingstown, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, on Monday.   (AP Photo/Kenton Chance)

Authorities have pressed murder charges against a trio of escaped prisoners, accused of hijacking an American couple's yacht last month and throwing them overboard. Per a statement from the Royal Grenada Police Force cited by CNN, 30-year-old Ron Mitchell, 25-year-old Atiba Stanisclaus, and 23-year-old Trevon Robertson (who'd originally been reported as being 19) have been charged with two counts each of capital murder for "intentionally causing the death of Ralph Hendry and Kathleen Brandel," a husband and wife from Virginia.

The long-married couple were last heard from on Feb. 18; their catamaran was found three days later, abandoned and showing signs of a struggle on board, in nearby St. Vincent and the Grenadines. According to their boating club, the Salty Dawg Sailing Association, Hendry, 66, and Brandel, 71, were seasoned sailors who'd intended to spend the winter months cruising around the Caribbean. Their family says they'd planned this adventure for years.

"They were super careful to be safe all the time," Brandel's son, Nicholas Buro, says of his mom and stepdad, per CNN. "Safety was their top, top concern. So this unfortunate accident, I think, it came out of nowhere for them." The suspects were also charged with escaping lawful custody, housebreaking, robbery, and kidnapping; Stanisclaus faces an additional rape charge, though it's not clear whom he allegedly victimized. There's also been no indication from police that the couple's bodies have been found. The suspects' next court date is set for March 27. They've been remanded to prison, where they'll stay until that hearing. (More Grenada stories.)

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