Statement from the family members of the crew of S/V Simplicity:

“Many in the Salty Dawg family have offered support and the willingness to help in any way that they can, as we all mourn the disappearance of two of our long term members, Ralph and Kathy of Simplicity.

“The family has asked us to share the following with you and others and encourage you to forward this to anyone that you wish to get the word out as broadly as possible.

“As you can imagine, the family faces considerable expense with all this and a close family friend has set up a gofundme fundraiser, listed at the end of this note.”

From Bryan Hendry:

“We want to reach out to the entire cruiser community to express our gratitude for everyone that worked to gather information from eyewitnesses and provide search and rescue support. It means so much to us that so many people cared for Ralph and Kathy as friends and fellow cruisers that they are willing to stop and help in whatever way possible.

“Thanks to all this input from this community we are able to develop a timeline of events. For the safety of the cruising community we are asking all cruisers, and anyone that is not affiliated with the officials with presiding jurisdiction, to stand down. The only way we feel this situation could be worse would be if anyone was hurt or endangered trying to conduct searches.

“We also want to applaud the St. Vincent authorities for their quick actions in securing Simplicity and their brave, swift response that led to the apprehension of three dangerous fugitives. We greatly appreciate the coordination of the St. Vincent and Royal Grenadian Police forces and Coast Guards in investigating these events.

“With love and eternal gratitude,

Bryan Hendry and Nick Buro”

For more information, please email

Salty Dawg Couple Missing Aboard Their Boat in Grenada

Thursday, February 22, 2024 03:40 PM


On Wednesday, February 21, the Salty Dawg Sailing Association Executive Director Tatja Hopman was alerted by a cruising skipper that a member’s yacht, Simplicity, was anchored and abandoned off a beach on the south coast of the Caribbean island of St. Vincent.

The good Samaritan had boarded the boat and noted that the owners, Ralph Hendry and Kathy Brandel, were not onboard and found evidence of apparent violence. Contact information for the SDSA was posted and the skipper contacted the Association.

The good Samaritan contacted the St. Vincent coast guard alerting them of the situation; they in turn notified the local police. The Coast Guard took possession of Simplicity and the St. Vincent police are currently investigating with the U.S Embassy and the Grenada police department.

Kathy Brandel and Ralph Hendry are veteran cruisers and long-time members of the Salty Dawg Sailing Association from its earliest days. Warm hearted and capable, they both contributed to building the SDSA and Kathy sat on the association’s board for two years.

Kathy and Ralph had sailed Simplicity in the 2023 Caribbean Rally from Hampton, VA to Antigua and were spending the winter cruising the Eastern Caribbean. The SDSA has a live member’s tracking map where boats can be followed as they cruise and Simplicity’s track shows that Kathy and Ralph were anchored in Grenada and then the boat moved directly to its last anchorage off St. Vincent.

Shortly after the incident was reported to police, news came out that three dangerous inmates had escaped from a Grenada prison and were at large. It is speculated that the escapees boarded Simplicity.

Wednesday afternoon, St. Vincent police reported that the three suspects had been detained.

Bob Osborn, SDSA President, speaking for the whole Salty Dawg family, said, “This is a very upsetting event and details are still unconfirmed by the authorities, but this does appear to be a tragic event – our hopes and prayers are with Ralph and Kathy and the family who love them. I have spoken to the families and have offered our deepest condolences and our assistance in any way possible. In all my years of cruising the Caribbean, I have never heard of anything like this.”

For more information, please email

American Sailing Couple Disappears in Caribbean. Their Yacht Is Found 80 Miles Away

Kathy Brandel and Ralph Hendry were sailing in Grenada when they went missing Feb. 18. Police allege three local prison escapees may be responsible for their disappearance

American Boaters, Kathy Brandel and Ralph Henry, Missing in Grenada
Kathy Brandel and Ralph Hendry have been missing since Feb. 18. Police say they may have been murdered by three prisoners who escaped their custody. PHOTO: 


A sailing captain was paddle-boarding along the Saint Vincent shore when he noticed a ransacked yacht with a broken sail.

Concerned, he boarded the abandoned SV Simplicity. Its deck was covered in blood. Then the captain found two American passports belonging to Kathy Brandel and Ralph Hendry.

The captain took photographs of the yacht, sending them to an email address he found in a note onboard.

“The ship inside is very messy,” he wrote in the email to Salty Dawg Sailing Association. “Can you contact them?”

But Association President Bob Osborn says he could not reach the couple, who had lived aboard the yacht for a decade and who had last been spotted Feb. 18 docked in St. George, Grenada, about 80 miles from where the yacht was later found.

American Boaters Missing in Grenada
The couple’s SV Simplicity was found abandoned with an unrolled and broken bow sail. 


Speaking by phone Thursday as they prepared to leave for the Caribbean in search of their parents, Nick Buro and Bryan Hendry tell PEOPLE that they last heard from the couple Feb. 18, noting that the lack of contact is unusual.

Kathy Brandel and her husband, Ralph Hendry
Kathy Brandel and Ralph Hendry. 


“The entire interior of the vessel and its decks were ransacked,” the commanding officer wrote, naming the missing couple.

The following day, the police commissioner forwarded the memorandum to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, noting: “It is imperative that the families are promptly and compassionately informed of the incident.”

Automatic Identification System data, collected by the U.S. Coast Guard, shows SV Simplicity leaving a Grenada harbor around 10 p.m. Feb. 18 and arriving in Saint Vincent around noon the next day.

Ron Mitchell, Trevor Robertson, Atiba Stanislaus
Police have linked Ron Mitchell, Trevor Robertson and Atiba Stanislaus to the possible murders of the couple. 


The Royal Grenada Police Force links the couple’s disappearance to the escape of three prisoners from their nearby holding cell Feb. 18, per a press release Thursday, alleging the men may have killed the couple.

“Preliminary information emanating from investigators in St. Vincent suggests that the three men made their way to St. Vincent via a yacht which was docked in the St. George area,” police said in the release, which did not name the couple, but added that the two Americans “may have been killed in the process.”

Police identified the Grenadian prisoners as Trevon Robertson, 19, Abita Stanislaus, 25, and sailor Ron Mitchell, 30. 

They were previously arrested in December, charged jointly in a violent robbery case, per police. 

Ron Mitchell, escaped Grenada Prisoner
Ron Mitchell. 


Mitchel was additionally charged with one count of rape, three counts of attempted rape, two counts of indecent assault, and causing harm.

Police re-apprehended the prisoners Feb. 21.

Video of one arrest, published by local media, includes shouts of “Gun! Gun! Gun!” and an escapee in his underwear, blood streaming down his legs as an official rounds him into the back of a pick-up truck. 

American Boaters, Kathy Brandel and Ralph Henry, Missing in Grenada
Ralph Hendry and Kathy Brandel. 


A source close to the investigation tells PEOPLE that two of the men have confessed to killing the couple. The third – hospitalized for a gunshot wound to the leg – had not been interviewed as of Friday.

The men have not been formally charged in the case.

Missing American Boaters in Grenada
SV Simplicity in a photograph before the yacht was ransacked. 


Will Knoll, a longtime friend of the Alexandria, Va., couple, remembers Kathy, a retired real estate agent who would have turned 71 Wednesday, and Ralph, a financial advisor, as a loving, Christian couple who were happily married over two decades.

Knoll — who had been sailing with them in December — says he is frustrated that more is not being done to locate them.

“Where are the U.S. citizens and what is being done to find them?” he asks. “There are still a lot of unanswered questions.”


Photo- Ken Goodings
  • Grenadian Escapees Recaptured in St. Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Couple Missing from SV Simplicity Grenada to St. Vincent
  • Yacht owners feared dead after escapees recaptured

The three Grenadian prisoners who escaped from police custody on the Southern Caribbean island on February 18 and made their way to St. Vincent by hijacking the catamaran yacht “Simplicity” are now being investigated after the vessel’s owners are believed to be dead.

According to initial information from police in St. Vincent, the three men travelled to the island on the yacht, which was docked in Grand Anse bay, Grenada  on February 19.


According to accounts, the two occupants of the boat may have been slain while the vessel was en route to St. Vincent.

The Grenada police department announced on Thursday that they are actively investigating leads that indicate the two occupants of the yacht may have been killed.

According to AIS data, the yacht left Grenada around 10 p.m. on Sunday from Grand Anse Beach. The vessel’s speed was not reflective of the sailors, who are known as fair-weather sailors who go exceedingly slowly, according to the Grenada Cruisers Information Facebook page.

On Wednesday, February 21, 2024, at around 4:35 p.m., police on the island of St. Vincent apprehended the Grenadian escapees during an operation by members of the Narcotics and Rapid Response Units in the North Western community of Petit Bordel.

The ‘Simplicity’ was discovered anchored in Walliabou, with bloodstains on the interior of the vessel. Walliabou Bay, located on the western coast of the main island of St. Vincent, gained to notoriety during the filming of Pirates of the CaribbeanIt is thought that the yacht’s occupants were American citizens.

“This investigation is in its infancy stage, and we have dispatched a team of senior investigators and a forensic specialist to St. Vincent in furtherance of this investigation,” a spokesperson for the RGPF said on Thursday.

On Thursday, February 22, posted the following:

“Bollo for two sailors missing from the SV Simplicity since Sunday, February 19, 2024.” They are suspected to have met with foul play somewhere between Grenada and St. Vincent. The SV was last anchored near Grand Anse Beach in Grenada.

The SV, a 48-foot St. Francis Catamaran, was discovered in Saint Vincent. Please keep an eye out for the missing sailors and report any sightings to local law enforcement or the Coast Guard.

Any additional information should be directed to Ken Goodings at 504-595-9417 in Grenada.”

The three (3) male escapees were in police detention in Grenada on charges of rape, robbery with violence, and other major crimes. Two (2) additional Grenadian nationals were detained during the police operation in St Vincent.

Broadcast Version For Maritime Mobile Service Network and Other Networks 

Bollo for two sailors missing from SV Simplicity since Sunday February 19, 2024. It is believed they met with foul play somewhere between Grenada and St. Vincent. The SV was last anchored near Grand Anse Beach, Grenada.

The SV, a 48 foot St. Francis Catamaran was found in St. Vincent. There now are unconfirmed reports that their  13 foot Caribe center console dinghy with a 50 HP Yamaha was also found in St. Vincent.

Please keep a sharp lookout for the missing sailors and report any sightings to the nearest law enforcement or Coast Guard.