Update: Questions for the USVI Police

Sarm Heslop Two Years Since Disappearance

In summer 2022 Sarm’s family appointed David Johnston QPM, former Commander of Homicide and Serious Crime at Metropolitan Police as the family’s official liaison.

Mr Johnston has been attempting to speak with the US Virgin Islands Police Department regarding Sarm’s case. Despite a positive initial response and support from the Governor for the US Virgin Islands the VIPD have failed to answer any of Mr Johnston’s questions. Despite numerous emails and letters, neither Mr Johnston nor Sarm’s parents have received any communication from the VIPD since Autumn 2022.

The questions posed to the VIPD are…

1. Did the police treat this disappearance as suspicious and unusual?

2. Has the investigation been conducted as a missing presumed dead or kidnapped investigation. If so, from when?

3. What active lines of enquiry the police are investigating at this time?

4. Has there been a formal review of the investigation to date? If so, can we see a copy of that review?

5. Ryan Bane is a person of significant interest in the Sarm’s disappearance. Has he been formally interviewed by police over his report of the disappearance from his boat?

6. If so, what was his explanation?

7. If not, why was this not done?

8. Was a formal search of his boat, Siren Song, conducted by police?

9. Was any consideration given to checking the nautical movement of Banes’ boat or electronic equipment?

10. Was consideration given to detaining Bane for questioning as a potential suspect?

11. We understand that Cori Stevens, the former partner of Bane has come forward to provide evidence of Bane’s volatile temper relating to a serious assault she sustained by him some years previously. An offence for which Bane was imprisoned. Was this investigated or considered in what action to take over Mr. Bane?

12. We also understand that at least 2 other women are prepared to testify to his volatile and violent temper. Have these lines of enquiry been formally pursued by police and considered by lawyers in relation to probable cause relating to Bane?

13. If not already interviewed, what would the threshold be that was required to meet a probable cause criterion to allow him to be questioned as a suspect or person of interest.

14. Was any investigation conducted into Bane’s telephony records or contacts made in the period around Sarm’s disappearance.

15. The family were shown some CCTV which appears to show Sarm accompanied by Bane leaving the marina to return to his boat on the evening of her disappearance. The full CCTV was not shown to the family. Is this still available?

16. Has Sarm’s mobile telephone been forensically examined by police to establish whether there is any useful information held on the device. (Similarly, for any other electronic device held by police).

17. We understand that advice may have been sought from the island Attorney General or prosecutor regarding sufficiency of evidence to arrest or detain Ryan Bane. Can we see a copy of that request and any advice in reply?

18. Was any forensic examination made of Sarm’s possessions/clothing to establish whether there were traces of blood present?

19. Was there any other intelligence linking or suggesting any other persons of interest around the time of Sarm’s disappearance? If so, can we be informed of who these were?

20. Has DNA been requested from Sarm’s immediate family to provide a baseline sample against which to check any unidentified bodies that come to light at sea or on land?

21. The family would like to have Sarm’s remaining personal possessions including her phone, iPad and any other items returned to them.