Home » ‘Negligence’ by Caribbean police blamed in murders of Americans on yacht: prime minister

‘Negligence’ by Caribbean police blamed in murders of Americans on yacht: prime minister

by John Jefferson
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Three Caribbean prison escapees, who allegedly killed an American couple, were placed in the wrong cells that were less secure, despite warnings they were dangerous and flight risks, the Grenada prime minister said this week.

Ron Mitchell, 30, Trevon Robertson, 23, and Abita Stanislaus, 25, were supposed to be placed in individual jail cells that had a “secure locking mechanism,” Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell said.

Instead, they were “in a corridor” with burglar bars that suspects bent and broke free from South St. George Police Station on Feb. 18, according to Mitchell, who added that four officers were arrested. 

“It is clear that had the men been placed in the individual locking cells which had proper functioning locking mechanisms, they would not have escaped or had the opportunity to escape,” the prime minister said. “The investigation concluded … human error, primarily in the form of negligence, played a pivotal role in the escape.”

SUSPECTS IN AMERICANS’ CARIBBEAN YACHT HIJACKING CHARGED WITH MURDER, RAPE OF MISSING COUPLE

The fleeing suspects hijacked Ralph Hendry and Kathy Brandel’s yacht during a violent altercation that allegedly included Brandel’s rape. 

The retired couple from Virginia were allegedly thrown overboard somewhere between Grenada, where the suspects escaped, and the island of St. Vincent, where they were ultimately recaptured. 

SUSPECT IN AMERICANS’ CARIBBEAN YACHT HIJACKING SHOT DURING ARREST, 2 OTHER FOUNDS HIDING: REPORTS

“So far,” four officers were arrested and charged with several crimes under the country’s Police Act, including making a false statement, permitting the escape of prisoners and breaches of the Standing Orders, the prime minister said. 

“It is also clear that the leadership at the station is a matter that requires attention as well, and the commission of police has commissioned an investigation into the role of leadership at the time (of the escape),” Mitchell said during a March 13 press conference. 

Grenada-Escapees

Despite the negligence and arrests, Mitchell expressed his support for law enforcement and said “disrespecting the police will not be tolerated.”

WATCH BLOODIED SUSPECT’S ARREST

Authorities still have not found Hendry or Brandel’s bodies in the 70-plus miles of water between the two islands. 

Last week, the suspects were returned to Grenada, where they were all charged with two counts of capital murder, escaping lawful custody, housebreaking, robbery and two counts of kidnapping. Stanislaus was also charged with rape. 

BLOODIED SUSPECT IN MISSING AMERICANS’ CARIBBEAN YACHT HIJACKING TOSSED INTO TRUCK DURING ARREST, VIDEO SHOWS

Robertson was shot by police on St. Vincent during his arrest. 

Police said he reached for an officer’s gun, according to Searchlight and other local outlets, but he denied this narrative during his court appearance. 

“I never wrestle with no officer,” he reportedly told the judge. “The officer throw me on the ground and just shoot me on me foot, you understand? I never wrestle with no police, you understand?”

Ralph Hendry his wife, Kathy Brandel
St. Vincent Grenada Hijacked Yacht

Tribute to Ralph Hendry and Kathy Brandel

The beloved couple’s yacht – “Simplicity” – was docked off Grand Anse Beach in Grenada, a popular tourist hot spot that the couple sailed to, when the suspects allegedly took the vessel by force as part of their getaway.

Their sons, Nick Buro and Bryan Hendry, talked about their parents’ impact on them and others in previous interviews. 

BLOOD FOUND ON KIDNAPPED AMERICANS’ YACHT DURING CARIBBEAN PRISON ESCAPE: ‘PRESUMED DEAD’

“Ralph and Kathy lived a life that most of us can only dream of,” they said in a heartfelt message.

They sailed off the eastern coast of the United States and “made friends with everyone they encountered, singing, dancing and laughing with friends and family.”

“That’s who Ralph and Kathy were and that’s how they will be remembered in our hearts,” they said. “We live in a world that at times can be cruel, but it’s also a world of profound beauty, wonder, adventure, love, compassion, caring and faith. 

“Our parents encompassed all those values and so much more.”

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