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Lake Orion man's girlfriend goes missing from his luxury boat in U.S. Virgin Islands

Posted at 7:58 PM, Mar 25, 2021

SOUTHFIELD (WXYZ) — A phone call that their friend, an experienced boater, had gone missing from her boyfriend's luxury catamaran was the last thing friends of Sarm Heslop expected.

"When you get a call to say that Sarm has gone missing and she was last seen on a boat that was moored and anchored in 11 foot of water and she hasn't been seen since 2:00 in the morning, the fear is unexplainable," said Kate Vernalls, one of Heslop's close friends in the UK.

Heslop's boyfriend, Ryan Bane of Lake Orion, contacted U.S. Virgin Islands Police around 2:30 am on March 8 to report Heslop missing from his boat.

Bane told police that it was an anchor alarm, that sounds off when a boat moves off position, that woke him up and that's when he said he noticed that his British girlfriend was gone.

Police advised him to contact the U.S. Coast Guard and he did - a reported nine hours later.

Sarm Heslop's friends have started a website, FindSarm.com, to keep attention on the case until Sarm is found.

The FBI has joined the investigation that, at the time of this report, has not been deemed criminal, but rather it's still a missing person case.

Toby Derima, spokesperson for the U.S. Virgin Islands Police Department, told 7 Action News Thursday that Bane has not been named as a suspect in Heslop's disappearance.

Derima added that Bane is refusing to talk to investigators or let them do a thorough search of his boat for possible evidence in Heslop's disappearance.

Derima pointed out that Bane is exercising his rights under the law, but they would still like to get more information from the Michigan man to help determine exactly what happened to his girlfriend and where they might be able to locate her.

And just as details about Sarm Heslop's disappearance are making headlines around the country, so is Ryan Bane's arrest for domestic violence in 2011.

The victim was Bane's now ex-wife and it took place at their home in Rochester Hills.

His wife told police that he grabbed her and dragged her out of their truck. Once inside their home, she said Bane smashed her head into the floor, chipping one of her teeth.

Bane later pleaded guilty to domestic violence and he served 21 days in jail and two years on probation.

Anyone with information in the case of missing Sarm Heslop or may have heard what's happened to her is urged to call the U.S. Virgin Islands Police Department at 340-774-2211.