FL FL - Isabella Hellmann, 41, catamaran off Cay Sal, SE of the FL Keys, 14 May 2017 #1 *GUILTY*

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thekarmabus

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Did anyone actually see her leave Cuba? That would be my first question.


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updated quicky timeline:

April 8 - Government officials in St. Maarten confirmed Bennett’s boat came in.
April 26 - Bennett flew to Fort Lauderdale from London and the couple was going to take a flight to somewhere in the Caribbean to begin their trip.
April 30 - Government officials in St. Maarten confirmed Bennett’s boat left for the trip.
May 2 - Hellman posts from Puerto Rico. referencing "another day in paradise".
~May 3 - (4 days after they left) Hellman's cellphone broke and all contact from this point on was through Bennett's iPad
May 14 - 5:30 p.m. - Catamaran leaves Havana, Cuba, final destination expected Boca Raton, Florida.
May 14 - 8:00 p.m. - Bennett goes below deck to sleep.
May 14 - 8:30 p.m. - Hellmann called her family to say she had left Cuba and was at sea, saying the satellite phone had been malfunctioning, but the couple had gotten it working and “we’re heading home.”
May 14 - 1:35 a.m - "accident" occurs 30 miles from Cay Sal
May 15 - 4:50 a.m. Bennett rescued to Marathon FL, Hellmann’s family picked him up that afternoon and brought him to their home in Boca Raton.
May 15 - within hours of when Bennett would have been rescued, a neighbor said she saw a car parked downstairs belonging to Hellmann’s sister.
May 17 - Neighbor said he approached Bennett to express his concern and sympathy. “He said, ‘Yeah. I’m going to be leaving for England. I’ve got to move on with my life,’ ” The neighbor said, ‘What about the baby?’ He stopped and said, “Oh. I guess I’ve got to take her with me too".
May 17 - His first time back in his apartment. Hellmann’s engagement ring, electronics and an expensive handbag were gone.
May 18 - U.S. Coast Guard called off the search.
May 19 - the key lock on Bennett’s front door had been replaced with an electronic keypad. Bennett contacted deputies to file a complaint. Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office confirms.
May 20-23 - Bennett and baby stay at the apartment. Also that weekend, Bennett told a neighbor he wanted to search for his wife but had lost his passport when the vessel sank. He said he had obtained a temporary one but that it barred him from leaving the country right away.
May 23 - 8:30 p.m. - neighbor said she saw “official-looking” men with latex gloves and Bennett out by his car
May 24 - another neighbor was walking his dog and saw Bennett “bringing stuff out. He had someone helping him. They were throwing stuff in the dumpster.”
May 25 - Bennett's car is gone.
May 26 or 27 - CBS 12 visited the apartment. No one was home, but two boxes marked evidence were left on the front stoop-- one was open at the top, and they could see inside. The item looked like a piece of inflatable marine equipment, possibly a life-vest.
May 27 - Bennett returns from Cuba.
May 28 - Bennett goes to Boca Raton to pick up the baby, he returns to Hellman's family's home with a Boca Raton police officer demanding the baby’s things.
Of all the things on this timeline, I find the most remarkably odd thing is the fact that her sister went to her apartment and took her expensive things within hours of her disappearance. In what world is THAT the first reaction you take after learning a loved one could be missing at sea? Something's wrong there.
 

jillnors2

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May 14 - 8:30 p.m. - Hellmann called her family to say she had left Cuba and was at sea, saying the satellite phone had been malfunctioning, but the couple had gotten it working and “we’re heading home.”
Do we know if someone actually spoke to Isabella or was this via text?

Of all the things on this timeline, I find the most remarkably odd thing is the fact that her sister went to her apartment and took her expensive things within hours of her disappearance. In what world is THAT the first reaction you take after learning a loved one could be missing at sea?
VERY strange. Who would do that?
 

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msphilosopher

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Do we know if someone actually spoke to Isabella or was this via text?

VERY strange. Who would do that?

This is not in the timeline but the relatives were seen at the condo a few days after Isabella went missing before Bennet came back to the condo. We do not know if the expensive items were taken when the sister's car was there a few hours after Bennet was rescued or when the relatives were there a few days later....

They were towards the end the of the trip so my guess is that her sister was not there to take expensive items but to probably retrieve more supplies for Emilia... IMO Isabella probably left them with enough diapers, clothes, baby food etc. for the two weeks. Now with her "lost at sea" my first thought would be to go get more supplies for the baby. While the sister was there she may have noticed the expensive items and returned days later to retrieve them "with relatives" as it's clear from the article of the sister speaking out that after a few days she had a suspicious sentiment of Bennet....

-----

From article discussing the sister's car then the relatives car a few days later.

http://www.mypalmbeachpost.com/news...mystery-missing-woman/5reNR5lTYpl2kcOKNxdxaP/
On May 15, within hours of when Bennett would have been rescued, Fennimore said, she saw a car parked downstairs that she recognized as belonging to Hellmann’s sister. Two days later, she said, she saw five relatives go into the condo.
Fennimore said Bennett told her later that after the Coast Guard rescued him on the morning of May 15 and flew him to Florida, Hellmann’s family picked him up that afternoon and brought him to their home in Boca Raton. She said Bennett told her his first time back in his apartment was the evening of May 17. She said he told her Hellmann’s engagement ring and electronics and an expensive handbag were gone. She said she told him she’d seen the family in the apartment.
JMO!
 

inmyhumbleopinion

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"Dayana said the couple had a satellite phone with them but did not activate until hours before Isabella’s disappearance.

...

'They connect it that Sunday night,' said Dayana 'She called me at 8:25 p.m. and said 'oh hi, we just connected the phone, it’s been really hard for us to connect it cause his [Bennett’s] friend told me it’s hard,' said Dayana recalling the conversation with Isabella. 'She said ‘I’m in the middle of the ocean right now, we left Cuba.'

...

That was the last time Dayana heard her sister’s voice. At around 3 a.m. Monday Dayana said she woke up to several missed calls and voicemails. One was from the satellite phone.

'That was Lewis and said this is an emergency, you need to call the Coast Guard. This is my coordinates,' said Dayana."
[Somewhat interesting that the satellite phone was not activated until hours before Isabella disappeared. Maybe such service is very costly, plus the article says, "Then, on either on the 11th or 12th, Dayana received a call from Isabella," so perhaps they were able to talk through FB-Messaenger-like app via Bennett's iPad. I understand Bennett used an emergency beacon to send a distress signal, but it probably didn't hurt that he also had a working phone at the time of the incident.]

"Dayana said Bennett said the Coast Guard allowed him to retrieve a backpack from the boat.

In it was his iPad, the satellite phone, chargers, his wallet, and documents related to the boat, according to Dayana."
[This .... If true, I am really curious as to where inside the boat the backpack had been kept, and how Bennett was able to retrieve it. It has been reported repeatedly that the CG was unable to search inside the boat for Isabella citing safety concerns. Despite what he told a neighbor, I have a feeling his passport might have been inside the backpack also. I mean, he supposedly was in Cuba over the weekend, and "[Isabella's friend, Sarah] Cortes said Bennett told her he planned to leave for Australia by the end of May [with his daughter]." It just sounds all too convenient, IMO. I'm assuming that the baby is a dual American-Australian (as well as British, perhaps) citizen ...? In a related note, Isabella is apparently a US citizen ("She had previously been married for 10 years to Bill Hellman, who lives a few miles away with his new wife and son"; "She later became a U.S. citizen, Cortes said").

Sources:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...robe-wife-vanishing-speaks.html#ixzz4iaubzrb0

http://www.wptv.com/news/region-s-p...ut-trip-questions-what-happened-to-her-sister

http://www.mypalmbeachpost.com/news...ella-hellmann-husband/29MTelJJDnOiiRai7yYGjJ/

http://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Citi/pathways-processes/application-options/descent
 

msphilosopher

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"Dayana said the couple had a satellite phone with them but did not activate until hours before Isabella’s disappearance.

...

'They connect it that Sunday night,' said Dayana 'She called me at 8:25 p.m. and said 'oh hi, we just connected the phone, it’s been really hard for us to connect it cause his [Bennett’s] friend told me it’s hard,' said Dayana recalling the conversation with Isabella. 'She said ‘I’m in the middle of the ocean right now, we left Cuba.'

...

That was the last time Dayana heard her sister’s voice. At around 3 a.m. Monday Dayana said she woke up to several missed calls and voicemails. One was from the satellite phone.

'That was Lewis and said this is an emergency, you need to call the Coast Guard. This is my coordinates,' said Dayana."
[Somewhat interesting that the satellite phone was not activated until hours before Isabella disappeared. Maybe such service is very costly, plus the article says, "Then, on either on the 11th or 12th, Dayana received a call from Isabella," so perhaps they were able to talk through FB-Messaenger-like app via Bennett's iPad. I understand Bennett used an emergency beacon to send a distress signal, but it probably didn't hurt that he also had a working phone at the time of the incident.]

"Dayana said Bennett said the Coast Guard allowed him to retrieve a backpack from the boat.

In it was his iPad, the satellite phone, chargers, his wallet, and documents related to the boat, according to Dayana."
[This .... If true, I am really curious as to where inside the boat the backpack had been kept, and how Bennett was able to retrieve it. It has been reported repeatedly that the CG was unable to search inside the boat for Isabella citing safety concerns. Despite what he told a neighbor, I have a feeling his passport might have been inside the backpack also. I mean, he supposedly was in Cuba over the weekend, and "[Isabella's friend, Sarah] Cortes said Bennett told her he planned to leave for Australia by the end of May [with his daughter]." It just sounds all too convenient, IMO. I'm assuming that the baby is a dual American-Australian (as well as British, perhaps) citizen ...? In a related note, Isabella is apparently a US citizen ("She had previously been married for 10 years to Bill Hellman, who lives a few miles away with his new wife and son"; "She later became a U.S. citizen, Cortes said").

Sources:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...robe-wife-vanishing-speaks.html#ixzz4iaubzrb0

http://www.wptv.com/news/region-s-p...ut-trip-questions-what-happened-to-her-sister

http://www.mypalmbeachpost.com/news...ella-hellmann-husband/29MTelJJDnOiiRai7yYGjJ/

http://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Citi/pathways-processes/application-options/descent

It's interesting that the satellite phone was found in the boat, in a safe place to avoid water damage and not with him. If I'm in distress regardless of my experience, my priority would be to get out of the sinking boat, take any means of communication so I can be rescued, get into the life raft and find my wife. If she was no where to be found than she may have fell over board way before I woke up and came top deck. I would take the satellite phone and travel backwards in search of my loved one if I was sure she was not on the boat or near it.

I wouldn't care risking an damage to an expensive satellite phone because well my life and my wife's life is in danger. One would have to be very confident that they would be found safe / easily to leave the satellite phone behind in a safe place. We know that he did the phone behind because he used it to call Hellman's sister and seemingly his "business partner".

I don't know about satellite phones so I initially thought that maybe the phone needed to be powered by the boat to work. Not the case.

The phones sell for $400 - $1,240 depending on the model. So it seems like not risking damage or losing the phone by taking it with him was more important than having a sense of security or to go away from the boat to search for his wife with the satellite phone.

ALL JMO, I'm not trained in a emergency boat situations but IMO it's odd the expensive phone which is his only life line to communication / safety was not taken with him when he abandoned the boat in the middle of the ocean in a state of crisis and instead was left safely in the boat.

Did he know the boat wouldn't fully sink? That would be the only reason I would think one would not take the expensive phone.

http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/satellite-phones-work-can-buy-one/
 

jillnors2

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"Dayana said Bennett said the Coast Guard allowed him to retrieve a backpack from the boat.
I thought a previous report said the Coast Guard knocked on the hull and received no answer, they knocked because it was too dangerous to enter.
 

spiritseeker31

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My thoughts as well. I didn't even notice the baby until someone here pointed it out. Don't new parents always love to show off their new family addition? This is a very odd family photo indeed. Doesn't feel right to me, imo.

I think we're analyzing this picture too much. It could have been a semi-action shot where someone said "hey, lean together for a pic". One doesn't have their baby in the carrier front and center every minute of the day.

This being said - I'm still on the fence about the hubby.
 

spiritseeker31

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Bennett, who is from Dorset in the UK, studied at Bangor University in Wales, and lived for several years in Queensland, Australia, met divorcee Isabella, 41, through the internet.

Asked if it was any suspicion that he had harmed his wife that was fueling the investigation, he said: 'They haven't accused me of anything. Nobody has put that allegation directly against me. 'But 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.'

Asked if some might find it odd that a husband would go to sleep at 8pm and leave his wife alone on honeymoon, he said: 'The reason why I went to bed at 8pm was because we had been on the water for four or five days. You do get tired. 'We were just taking it in turns just to watch [the boat and navigate] I suppose.'

Asked if his wife was a strong swimmer, he shrugged and added: 'She could swim OK.'

He said he was considering 'civil action' against some members of Isabella's family who he accused of entering his property while he was away in Cuba.

He added: 'I am surviving. But I don't know how. I feel very alone. I have got a baby with me and I don't know many people around here.'

'She was excited about going on the holiday with Lewis. She had no experience about boats, but said that Lewis "was good with them". She was happy to go on the trip.


http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...robe-wife-vanishing-speaks.html#ixzz4iejI0ebS

___

They weren't on the boat for days, they had just left Havana at 5:30 p.m. when he went to sleep at 8:00 p.m. Why would he leave her alone at night if she has no experience with boating???

This right here just got me off the fence. You are so right!!
 

azure

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Of all the things on this timeline, I find the most remarkably odd thing is the fact that her sister went to her apartment and took her expensive things within hours of her disappearance. In what world is THAT the first reaction you take after learning a loved one could be missing at sea? Something's wrong there.

The only "proof" we have of that was her husband complaining to the neighbors that said items were missing. For all we know he sold them.
 

inmyhumbleopinion

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IMO, I think this is a great question. Any boat people here? :waitasec:

Thanks, and I am not being snarky at all in asking that question. I just don't know and would like to learn. I must say I am leaning towards foul play right now, but haven't ruled out something completely accidental, either. I am surprised to see Bennett so eager to leave the US, given the fact that Isabella has been missing only for two weeks and all of her family -who clearly adores the baby- is here while he apparently has no family locally, but to be fair, that's all coming from third parties (now if it is confirmed in the next couple of weeks that he has left the country, then ... I don't know ...).

Also, there appears to have been a great deal of animosity between Bennett and Isabella's family even since before her disappearance, but at this point, we really don't know why. I have a feeling she had told some of her family members something about him that was concerning to them, but it may just be that Isabella was generally unhappy in her marriage.

But if there is nothing to indicate there was damage serious enough to sink the boat, then that would definitely change my opinion. Also, if there was a life insurance purchased since their marriage just three months ago -"In February, the couple had a getaway in Atlanta, and Hellmann 'texted me out of the blue and said, 'Hey. I just got married.'' Hellmann told her the couple decided on a lark."-, then that would set my hinky meter off.
 

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updated quicky timeline (with additional info posted today):

April 8 - Government officials in St. Maarten confirmed Bennett’s 37-foot catamaran came in.
April 26 - Bennett flew to Fort Lauderdale from London and the couple was going to take a flight to somewhere in the Caribbean to begin their trip.
April 30 - Government officials in St. Maarten confirmed Bennett’s boat left for the trip.
May 2 - Hellman posts from Puerto Rico. referencing "another day in paradise".
~May 3 - (4 days after they left) Hellman's cellphone broke and all contact from this point on was through Bennett's iPad
May 14 - 5:30 p.m. - Catamaran leaves Havana, Cuba, final destination expected Boca Raton, Florida.
May 14 - 8:00 p.m. - Bennett goes below deck to sleep, leaving Hellman at the helm of the boat wearing a life vest.
May 14 - 8:25 p.m. - Hellmann called her family to say she had left Cuba and was at sea, saying the satellite phone had been malfunctioning, but the couple had gotten it working and “we’re heading home.” Hellman's sister said the satellite phone did not activate until hours before Isabella’s disappearance. 'They connect it that Sunday night. She called me at 8:25 p.m. and said 'oh hi, we just connected the phone, it’s been really hard for us to connect it cause his [Bennett’s] friend told me it’s hard,' her sister said, recalling the conversation with Isabella. 'She said ‘I’m in the middle of the ocean right now, we left Cuba.'
May 14 - 1:35 a.m - Bennett said he awoke to something hitting the boat and felt that it was starting to sink, Cat is now 30 miles west of Cay Sal. Bennett couldn’t find his wife, so he jumped onto a life raft and sent out a distress call using an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon.
May 15 - 3:00 a.m. - Hellman's sister said she woke up to several missed calls and voicemails. One was from the satellite phone; that was Bennett who said, 'this is an emergency, you need to call the Coast Guard. This is my coordinates.'
May 15 - 4:50 a.m. - Bennett was found floating in a life raft with a personal locator beacon 1,000 yards from the overturned catamaran in about 4,800 feet of water. Bennett was rescued via Coast Guard helicopter and taken to Marathon Key, FL. Bennett said the Coast Guard allowed him to retrieve a backpack from the boat; in it was his iPad, the satellite phone, chargers, his wallet, and documents related to the boat. He told the Coast Guard he was unable to find his wife and had no choice but to abandon the vessel. Hellmann’s family picked him up that afternoon and brought him to their home in Boca Raton.
May 15 - within hours of when Bennett would have been rescued, a neighbor said she saw a car parked downstairs belonging to Hellmann’s sister.
May 17 - His first time back in his apartment. Hellmann’s engagement ring, electronics and an expensive handbag were gone.
May 17 - Neighbor said he approached Bennett to express his concern and sympathy. “He said, ‘Yeah. I’m going to be leaving for England. I’ve got to move on with my life,’ ” The neighbor said, ‘What about the baby?’ He stopped and said, “Oh. I guess I’ve got to take her with me too".
May 17 or 18 (day before USCG search called off) - Hellman's best friend pleaded with Bennett not to leave the country with the couple’s baby. “I begged him to please understand that the family lost Isabella and the only piece of Isabella left was (the baby), and he just can’t leave and take (her).” "He said he understands, but he’s got his life in Australia.” The best friend reminded Bennett, at the Hellmann family home in Boca Raton, about the huge effort by family and friends to find the two Tequesta teens lost at sea in 2015, and “suggested he do his own search. I mean, he’s a captain. He knows the sea. He knows the area. Do something. Not stay here. I would be looking for my wife."
May 18 - U.S. Coast Guard called off the search after searching 6,600 square miles of sea.
May 19 - the key lock on Bennett’s front door had been replaced with an electronic keypad. Bennett contacted deputies to file a complaint. Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office confirms.
May 20-23 - Bennett and baby stay at the apartment. Also that weekend, Bennett told a neighbor he wanted to search for his wife but had lost his passport when the vessel sank. He said he had obtained a temporary one but that it barred him from leaving the country right away.
May 23 - 8:30 p.m. - neighbor said she saw “official-looking” men with latex gloves and Bennett out by his car
May 24 - another neighbor was walking his dog and saw Bennett “bringing stuff out. He had someone helping him. They were throwing stuff in the dumpster.”
May 25 - Bennett's car is gone.
May 26 or 27 - CBS 12 visited the apartment. No one was home, but two boxes marked evidence were left on the front stoop-- one was open at the top, and they could see inside. The item looked like a piece of inflatable marine equipment, possibly a life-vest.
May 27 - Bennett returns from Cuba.
May 28 - Bennett goes to Boca Raton to pick up the baby, he returns to Hellman's family's home with a Boca Raton police officer demanding the baby’s things.
 

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IMO, I think this is a great question. Any boat people here? :waitasec:

I am a boater, though I don't have overnight experience.

1) she took the first watch. He went down to sleep because he had to be up in about 6 hours to relieve her-- so he would take the 3-8 am shift. He would need to rest so he wouldn't be exhausted for his shift.

2) she didn't need much experience to steer and watch for items.

3) either the boat took on water through the cracks or it was dead in the water and a wave capsized it.

4) satellite phones are expensive. They have spotty reception. EPIRB is the number one go to in an emergency. (Mine is in the shop getting a check up and new battery this week). He activated his EPIRB, which is the correct step in an emergency.

5) navigational hazards, such as shipping containers that fell off merchant ships, are a real threat in open water.
 

JerseyGirl

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I am a boater, though I don't have overnight experience.

5) navigational hazards, such as shipping containers that fell off merchant ships, are a real threat in open water.

But wouldn't navigational hazards this large continue to float. Since he was found about 3 or 4 hours after the incident, I would think that during the search the Coast Guards would have seen a large obstacle in the ocean that could have caused the cat to take on water.

Also, does it make sense to leave port at 5:30pm and have the one person quickly sleep that night. If there are only 2 people on the boat, why didn't they leave Havana just before daybreak and have a good 12-14 hours of sailing during daylight.

Leaving Havana and 5:30pm just makes no sense to me. Does that mean she had slept that day in order to stay awake until 3 a.m. when it's assumed he was to take over the helm after her 6 hour shift?

I would think that the more experienced sailor would be at the helm the majority of the night, since that's the most dangerous time to sail.
 

JerseyGirl

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Another boat?

Sent from my XT1650 using Tapatalk

And why would that boat continue to sail along and only the cat had damage? And wouldn't they see that there is someone setting off an emergency beacon?

Another boat makes no sense. Like a hit and run? Pirates?
 
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