They’re Probably Dead


( – The boat of an elderly couple was hijacked while going to a tropical paradise and now it is feared that they are probably dead.

The mysterious disappearance of Ralph Hendry, 66, and Kathy Brandel, 71, from Virginia, has captured attention after their yacht, Simplicity, was hijacked by three escaped prisoners in Grenada. Despite police statements suggesting the worst, their family holds onto hope.

The couple’s journey through the Caribbean took a horrifying turn when their yacht was found abandoned off a beach on Saint Vincent, with signs of violence onboard. The Salty Dawg Sailing Association, of which they were members, reported, “a good samaritan who spotted the boat boarded it, found evidence of apparent violence” and immediately alerted authorities.

Royal Grenada Police Commissioner Don McKenzie provided a timeline, stating the three prisoners escaped from custody on February 18, hijacked Simplicity on February 19, and were captured on February 21 in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Despite the grim outlook, McKenzie expressed, “We have nothing conclusive to say that the individuals are dead. We still hold out hope that in spite [of] what might be a low probability, that they would turn up alive somewhere.”

Hendry and Brandel were fulfilling their dream, cruising the eastern Caribbean for the winter. “This does appear to be a tragic event — our hopes and prayers are with Ralph and Kathy and the family who love them,” stated Bob Osborn, president of the Salty Dawg Sailing Association. The couple had embraced a life at sea after selling their home in 2013 to purchase Simplicity.

Nick Buro, Brandel’s son, shared with CNN the family’s determination to find answers. “We are doing our best to try and get answers to find out what is next in terms of hopefully finding them safely recovered somewhere on the islands,” he said, acknowledging the dire evidence found on the boat.

In the wake of the tragedy, a GoFundMe page has been set up to support the couple’s family, raising over $50,000 to assist with recovery efforts and potential funeral costs. “It was their home. Everything they had, they owned, was on that boat. It was their life,” Buro reflected on his mother and Hendry’s adventurous spirit.

Investigations continue as the families of Ralph Hendry and Kathy Brandel are still waiting for a miracle despite the dire situation and the high possibility of the couple not making it out alive of this one.