Fri | Apr 12, 2024

St Vincent, Grenada police probe suspected murder of US sailors by escaped prisoners

Published:Friday | February 23, 2024 | 9:32 PM
Simplicity - CMC photo

KINGSTOWN, St Vincent, CMC – Detectives from St Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada were on Friday combing a catamaran for evidence as they investigate the disappearance of two United States sailors.

The sailors, whose names have not been released, are said to have been aboard the yacht 'Simplicity' when it was allegedly stolen in Grenada on Sunday and sailed to St Vincent overnight, allegedly by three escaped prisoners.

Officers from the Major Crime Unit and the Criminal Records office in Kingstown were joined by their Grenadian counterparts, including a forensic investigator, aboard the vessel that was anchored at the main Coast Guard base in Calliaqua, on the south Coast of St Vincent.

They were joined aboard by the three Grenadian prisoners — Ron Mitchell, 30, unemployed; Trevon Robertson, a 25-year-old farmer, and Atiba Stanislaus, 23, unemployed, all of Paradise, St Andrew, Grenada — who investigators suspect might have killed the two sailors and disposed of their bodies.

Police said on Thursday that three prisoners who escaped lawful custody in Grenada were recaptured by police in Petit Bordel on the north western coast of St Vincent, the previous day.

Police said the men were recaptured about 4:35 p.m., during an operation by officers from Narcotics and Rapid Response units.

A source confirmed to the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) that one of the men was shot during the arrest and was treated in hospital for his injuries.

Meanwhile, Caribbean Safety and Security Net's (CSSN), which collects and disseminates information relating to crimes against yachts in the Caribbean, reported that a cruising catamaran that had been anchored off Grand Anse, Grenada, was found poorly anchored with a shredded jib off the coast of Wallilabou on the west coast of St Vincent on Tuesday.

“Upon inspection, it was found that the yacht had been ransacked, and it was apparent a violent act had taken place. Copious amounts of blood were found in the master stateroom, and the two owners were missing,” CSSN reported.

The yacht's dinghy was also missing but was later recovered and personal items of the occupants of the yacht were also missing.

However, passports found onboard the vessel allowed authorities to make contact with the victims' emergency contact.

CSSN said the three men escaped from their holding cell in Grenada the day the yacht's automatic identification system track moved from Grenada to St Vincent between Sunday night and Monday afternoon.

In a statement on Thursday, the Royal Grenada Police Force said the three men who escaped their custody and were recaptured  were charged jointly with one count of robbery with violence.

Additionally, Ron Mitchell was charged separately with one count of rape, three counts of attempted rape, two counts of indecent assault, and causing harm.

“All three men were kept in the holding cell at the South St George Police Station and escaped lawful custody, on Sunday the 18th of February 2024.”

The Grenada constabulary said that collaboration with their regional counterparts in St Vincent has led to the recapture of the three men.

“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. The RGPF is currently working on leads that suggest that the two occupants of the yacht may have been killed in the process. It is believed that the occupants of the yacht were American citizens.”

The Grenada police said that the investigation is in its infancy stage and that they have dispatched a team of senior investigators and a forensic specialist to St Vincent and the Grenadines in furtherance of this investigation.

“Commissioner, Don McKenzie has ordered an immediate investigation into the circumstances of the escaped prisoners,” the Grenada police said.

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