Seems the CG has lost
contact with the locator beacon they placed on the hull:
Family says Coast Guard has lost boat missing Delray woman was on
says Coast Guard has lost boat missing Delray woman was on
Eliot Kleinberg Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
5:18 p.m Monday, June 5, 2017 Local News
The U.S. Coast Guard confirmed Monday it has lost track of a potential crime scene: the catamaran
on which Isabella Hellman was last seen before she vanished.
And a relative of the suburban Delray Beach real estate broker said Monday authorities have told the family
the boat is gone, sunk in more than 4,000 feet of water.
Lewis Bennett has told the Coast Guard he was awakened early on May 15 after the 37-foot Surf into Summer struck something about 30 miles west of Cay Sal in the Bahamas
, and came topside to find the vessel was taking on water and his wife of three months, and the mother of the couple’s 9-month-old daughter, was gone. A four-day search failed to find Hellmann, 41.
Read The Post’s complete coverage of the disappearance of Isabella Hellmann
The FBI has so far, including on Monday, refused to address any inquiries, either general or specific, beyond its initial confirmation on May 26 that it and the Coast Guard were conducting a “missing person investigation.”
Neither agency has said whether Bennett is a target of their investigation or even if they suspect foul play.
But on May 23, at the couple’s condominium, near Atlantic Avenue and Florida’s Turnpike, men
wearing powder-blue latex gloves searched Bennett’s car and questioned him as he stood nearby, said a neighbor, Anne Fennimore.
And on Thursday, the condo’s front door was sealed with yellow FBI evidence tape. On Monday, the tape was still there, and mail on the ground and notes jammed into the doorjamb suggested Bennett has not been back.
A friend has said Hellmann’s family fears Bennett, and the baby, have left the country. Friends of the family, and neighbors at the condominium, both have said the couple fought often over Bennett’s desire to take her and the child to Australia
The family has started a “find Isabella” page on Facebook.
The Palm Beach Post has been unable to reach Bennett, 40, a dual British-Australian citizen with few ties to Florida
. Hellmann’s family spoke briefly at the start of the search but has since declined to speak to the Post, except for Monday’s brief exchange. The relative, who did not want to be identified, did not identify the agency that said the boat had sunk.
The Coast Guard has said it was Bennett’s responsibility to retrieve the boat and that the agency had marked it and sent out a “navigation hazard” advisory. But spokesman Eric Woodall said May 26 that the electronic beacon stopped working, so the Coast Guard could not say where the boat was.
On Monday, U.S. Coast Guard spokesman Jonathan Lally said that “we haven’t had track of it or seen the boat since.”
This is not the first time the Coast Guard has lost track of a high-profile boat. After Tequesta 14-year-olds Perry Cohen and Austin Stephanos vanished in July 2015, the Coast Guard found and marked their small boat
67 nautical miles off Daytona Beach, and attached a marker, but when the agency returned, the craft had vanished. A spokesman said at the time that the marker buoy “did not work
properly.” A Norwegian ship found the board bobbing off Bermuda
in March 2016; the boys never have been found.
On May 24, the Coast Guard’s Woodall said Wednesday that responders inspected the boat “the best they could from the surface” and never saw what it might have struck. Woodall said it was too dangerous for anyone from the Coast Guard to go inside the vessel and that divers banged on the side but no one answered. He said the agency did not believe Hellmann’s body is inside.
Woodall did say at the time that the hulls had neither visible holes nor obvious places where water could have filled them, just deep scrapes at the back ends of each. A Coast Guard photo
shows the catamaran
upside down with one pontoon below the surface and the other above the water line. Another shows the entire boat floating just below the surface.
Asked Monday if the Coast Guard ever inspected the boat close, the Coast Guard’s Lally said, “I haven’t heard that we did.” Asked it any other agency did so, or perhaps has possession of the boat, he said, “I wouldn’t have any more information.”
On May 28, according to reports, Bennett contacted Boca Raton police to stand by while he retrieved property he said relatives of Hellman took from the condo after she vanished.
“Someone has entered my property and taken some of my items. I believe it’s my sister and mother-in-law,” Lewis Bennett tells city dispatchers on a recording.
At the home, one of her sisters screamed accusations that Bennett killed her sister, the report said.
Bennett has told a DailyMail.com reporter at his condominium that federal investigators “haven’t accused me of anything” but that “I understand why they have to investigate and that is fair enough. I have got nothing to hide. They have to do what they have to do.”