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FL ISABELLA HELLMAN: Vanished while sailing near Cay Sal Bank, Bahamas - 15 May 2017 - Age 41 *PLEA*

Discussion in 'Missing 2015 to Present' started by Uno2Much, Feb 23, 2018.

  1. Uno2Much

    Uno2Much Bronze Member

    He said his wife vanished while they were sailing. Now he's charged with killing her.
    David J. Neal

    Getting seven months in federal prison for stealing $38,480 in gold and silver coins turned out to be the better part of Lewis Bennett's day.

    After he was sentenced in the coin theft on Tuesday, the Delray Beach resident was taken into custody on a charge of second degree murder on the high seas, a charge arising from his wife Isabella Hellman's disappearance at sea last May - one that has the potential for a much longer sentence.

    Key factors in the criminal complaint: Bennett, 40, initially told investigators he didn't do anything to find his missing wife. Then he filed for a presumptive death certificate in Palm Beach County court on Sept. 20. In Florida, a missing adult can be presumed dead after five years.

    "Since Hellman had been missing approximately [four] months, and a husband would normally want his wife to be found alive, this request is extremely early," FBI Special Agent James Kelley wrote an affidavit filed in Miami federal court. The affidavit points to financial greed as the likely motive: Kelley noted that declaring Hellman dead would shift all her property and cash to Bennett under Florida family law.

    Read more: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/crim...g-now-hes-charged-with-killing-her/ar-BBJpLjh



    Husband of Florida woman missing at sea faces murder charge
    Isabella Hellman reported missing 9 months ago

    By STEVE ALMASY AND CHRIS BOYETTE, CNN
    Posted: 11:23 PM, February 20, 2018Updated: 11:23 PM, February 20, 2018


    Isabella Hellman was reported missing nine months ago after the Coast Guard received a distress call from her husband, Lewis Bennett.

    Bennett, 41, was rescued from a life raft about 30 miles west of Cay Sal, Bahamas, an island near Cuba's northern shore. The couple's catamaran was not far away.

    An FBI agent says in an affidavit filed Saturday that he believes Bennett intentionally scuttled the couple's vessel late on May 14 or early May 15. The affidavit concludes, "There is probable cause to believe that ... Bennett ... killed Hellman."

    Read more: https://www.news4jax.com/news/national/husband-of-florida-woman-missing-at-sea-faces-murder-charge

    https://crimewatchers.net/forum/ind...ank-bahamas-on-may-15-2017.3026/#comment-3098
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 23, 2018
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  2. Uno2Much

    Uno2Much Bronze Member

    A man claimed his wife had been lost at sea. The FBI charged him with murder.
    By Meagan Flynn February 21

    Soon after authorities suspected him of stealing the coins from his former employer, they suspected him in his wife’s disappearance. They did not identify the employer. The Coast Guard had spent four days searching for Hellmann’s body but to no avail.

    On the fifth day, Bennett asked a judge if she could be declared dead so that he could have ownership of her condo, a request that would be denied multiple times, according to the Sun Sentinel.

    By then, his story had already started changing. Investigators grew more suspicious of Bennett after he gave inconsistent statements, the Sun Sentinel reported. In the days after the rescue, he told investigators that he didn’t try searching for Hellmann, that he didn’t think to light up the sky with flares he had on board, that he did not yell for Hellmann as he escaped the sinking ship in his life raft. Then he told other agencies that he did call out for her and that he even threw her a life preserver in case she might still be alive.

    The investigation into the actual damage to the boat and into Bennett’s use of safety equipment punctured more holes in Bennett’s account. According to federal prosecutors, a naval architecture expert who examined the evidence found that the damage to the catamaran was caused from within —not by some unknown object in the water. The damage, the expert wrote, appeared intentional. Just as unusual, the expert found, was the fact that two escape hatches were left open, allowing the cabin to flood.

    Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news...arged-him-with-murder/?utm_term=.bff31171d1d9
     
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  3. Paradise

    Paradise Media Mod

  4. SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

    SheWhoMustNotBeNamed Administrator Staff Member

    No bond for man accused of killing his wife at sea

    Lewis Bennett, the man accused of second-degree murder in the presumed death of his wife,Isabella Hellmann of Delray Beach, is too much of a flight risk to go free as he awaits trial, a federal judge in Miami ruled Friday.


    But early on May 14, Bennett turned on the personal locating beacon on his satellite phone, eager for the Coast Guard to find him as he floated on a life raft about 30 miles west of Cay Sal, north of Cuba and southeast of the Florida Keys.

    Surf Into Summer had struck something in the water, he later told investigators. He was asleep at the time, and when he got up to the boat deck, his wife was nowhere to be found, he said.

    Bennett had purchased the satellite phone and activated the locator beacon account the day before he used it, Lunkenheimer said, implying it was not a coincidence.

    Investigators later determined that the damage to the boat came from the inside. Bennett was also found with valuable, stolen coins. He was first charged with possession of the stolen coins last August. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to seven months in jail — most of which he has already served. The same day he was sentenced, he learned he was being charged with Hellman’s murder.

    Lunkenheimer did not say how investigators believe Bennett killed Hellman, whose body was never found. But the prosecutor emphasized that without his wife, Bennett has no ties to the United States. Bennett is a dual citizen of Australia and the United Kingdom and has business interests in both countries, Lunkenheimer said.

    The couple’s daughter, now nearly 20 months old, lives with Bennett’s parents in England.

    http://www.sun-sentinel.com/local/b...-murder-detention-hearing-20180301-story.html
     
  5. SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

    SheWhoMustNotBeNamed Administrator Staff Member

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  6. Summer_breeze

    Summer_breeze Blowing through the Jasmine in my mind

  7. Kimster

    Kimster Director Staff Member

    Whatsnext, spike and Paradise like this.
  8. SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

    SheWhoMustNotBeNamed Administrator Staff Member

    Aussie man accused of killing his wife on their honeymoon ’makes plea deal

    AN AUSTRALIAN man accused of killing his wife during their Caribbean honeymoon has reportedly made a deal with authorities.

    According to US media, Lewis Bennett has filed a new affidavit admitting he killed his wife Isabella Hellman in May 2017 as the couple made their way through the waters of the Caribbean on their catamaran.

    The new documents were filed through the Miami courts as part of a plea deal, according to reports. Mrs Hellman’s body has never been recovered.


    The initial charges against Bennett by the US Attorney’s Office were second-degree murder, but these have now been downgraded to manslaughter. That is typical with a plea deal.

    If sentenced, he faces a possible eight years behind bars and then deportation from the US to either Australian or the United Kingdom.

    https://www.news.com.au/world/north...l/news-story/306d7bf618843c2213aef235570eb73a
     
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  9. Paradise

    Paradise Media Mod

    Eight yrs???? Disgusting
     
  10. SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

    SheWhoMustNotBeNamed Administrator Staff Member

    Family of woman lost at sea ask judge to reconsider husband Lewis Bennett's plea deal

    The family of Isabella Hellman wrote a letter to the judge who will determine Lewis Bennett's sentence to reconsider his plea deal.

    According to the letter, Hellman's family preferred to see Bennett go through a trial and be acquitted than to allow him to plead involuntary manslaughter.

    "That Lewis Bennett is being allowed to plead to involuntary manslaughter is outrageous to us....While our lawyer has explained to us that these facts are circumstantial and may not result in a conviction of murder, we strongly believe that a plea to involuntary manslaughter is not only insufficient but actually less consistent with the facts than an acquittal or a murder conviction would be," the family wrote in the letter.

    Hellman's family also claims that what makes things even worse for them is that they've been unable to see Emelia, Hellman and Bennett's daughter. She currently lives with Bennett's family in England.

    "In over 18 months since Emelia was taken from us, we have not seen her," the family wrote in the letter. "That is not from lack of trying. We have tried, but Lewis Bennett's family lives in the United Kingdom and he has not instructed his family to allow us to visit her. We have had very limited Facetime access to her, less than even one handful of times and before she was taken from us, she was the light of our lives."

    Bennett's sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 29 at 10 a.m. in Miami federal court.

    https://cbs12.com/news/local/family...o-reconsider-husband-lewis-bennetts-plea-deal


    Full letter available for reading at link.
     
  11. ima.grandma

    ima.grandma Believer of Miracles

    Lewis Bennett took his wife, Isabella Hellmann, honeymooning on his 40-foot catamaran in May 2017, and while sailing at night just off the Bahamas, he sent a distress signal saying the boat had capsized and Hellman was lost at sea.

    Now, a week before sentencing on an involuntary manslaughter charge, federal prosecutors have sent a sentencing memorandum to the judge asking for an upward variance in the sentencing guidelines – eight years instead of the six to seven Bennett had hoped for.

    In that memo, prosecutors wrote: “The Defendant, Lewis Richard Bennett engaged in disturbing and grave conduct stemming from an ill-fated sailing cruise with his wife, Isabella Hellman. This conduct, including the Defendant’s gross negligence which resulted in the death of his wife, his actions to scuttle his sailing vessel, and his callousness following his wife’s death which compounded the emotional pain for his wife’s family, warrants imposition of an upward variance.”


    The memo said experts determined matching holes in the twin hulls of Bennett’s boat could not have been caused by hitting something at sea. The escape hatches were open as well, leading them to conclude the vessel didn’t accidentally sink but was intentionally scuttled.


    The Coast Guard found Bennett in a life raft, totally provisioned with food, water, emergency beacons and other devices, as well as a bag of stolen gold coins.

    Prosecutors said Bennett never turned the boat around or looked for his missing wife, but spent 45 minutes outfitting the life raft and getting himself safely on it before alerting the Coast Guard that Hellman was missing.

    Bennett admitted he went below to sleep, leaving Hellman alone to captain the boat in perilous conditions, without insisting she wear a life vest or tether, and that he knew she was inexperienced and a weak swimmer.


    The memo said Bennett disabled the boat's dinghy and other methods of rescue and then covered up his actions by intentionally scuttling the boat.

    Less than two weeks later, he flew their toddler daughter to England, not allowing Hellman’s grieving family to see her since. And, prosecutors wrote, he tried within four months of Hellman’s disappearance to have her ruled dead so he could inherit her estate.

    All of these actions combine, they said, to warrant the maximum sentence. Bennett will be sentenced Jan. 29 in Miami federal court.

    https://www.wpbf.com/article/new-evidence-revealed-in-bennett-case/26030363
     
  12. ima.grandma

    ima.grandma Believer of Miracles

    Shocking new photos reveal how a British sailor allegedly deliberately sank his yacht to drown his newlywed wife on their honeymoon.

    According to The Sun, Lewis Bennett, 41, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter after his wife Isabella Hellmann disappeared when the couple’s 37ft catamaran sank off Cuba.

    The sailor stands accused of smashing giant holes in the hull and opening escape hatches in a bid to inherit the estate of his wife of three months. Prosecutors have released photos of the damage Bennett allegedly inflicted in an attempt to make Hellman’s death look like an accident.

    The FBI claims the holes were smashed from the inside of the catamaran and the ship’s portholes below the waterline of the vessel had been opened. Bennett had previously denied killing the Colombian estate agent and originally faced charges of second degree murder.

    But he pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter in November 2018 and now faces up to eight years in prison. The mining engineer told the FBI that he and Hellmann took their catamaran, Surf Into Summer, for a Caribbean cruise in May 2017.

    As it passed the Bahamas, he sent out an emergency radio signal. When the Coast Guard found him on a life raft three hours later, he told rescuers he left Hellmann on deck as he retired for the night to their cabin.

    He said he was jolted awake when their craft hit something and that his wife was gone when he went outside. Bennett said he abandoned the catamaran in a life raft because it was sinking.

    The Florida court heard he made no effort to find his wife, instead he loaded items onto a life raft after their vessel sunk.
    The FBI says an inspection of the catamaran before it sank showed portholes below the waterline had been opened.

    Damage to the twin hulls appeared to have been caused from the inside, meaning the boat may have been intentionally scuttled. Prosecutors believe the pair had an ‘intense argument’ before the incident.

    Within 24 hours of her disappearance, Bennett asked for a ‘letter of presumed death’ so he could settle his wife’s estate.
    Hellmann’s body has not been found and she is presumed dead.

    In court documents, police allege Bennett, from Poole in Dorset, killed his wife to end “marital strife” between the couple.

    And Hellmann’s text messages have revealed that she felt Bennett did not “respect her any more” and that she “found an angry person” when she came home. Court documents detail the text messages, which also read: “Sometimes I can be a pain in the a** and more but you need to change your attitude … you make me crazy shouting, yelling, swearing … YOU ARE PUSHING ME AWAY.”
    https://www.news.com.au/world/photo...n/news-story/cf989b43dccae5dec64e5f7f84d6d2b3
     
  13. Dobrev

    Dobrev Former Member

    Shocking new photos reveal how British sailor opened escape hatches and SMASHED giant holes in the hull of his yacht to drown his newlywed wife on their honeymoon and inherit her estate

    Bennett pleaded guilty after investigators determined he intentionally sunk the vessel after they found evidence of holes made intentionally from inside the boat.

    Bennett's sentencing is scheduled for next Tuesday in Miami, Florida. Before her murder, things were becoming rocky for the couple.

    Text messages from the Colombian-born Hellman said she noticed a change in Bennett's behavior after their daughter Emilia was born in 2016 and he became very angry with her.

    Prosecutors claim the couple's 'marital strife' was a motive for the alleged murder.

    'Hellman’s murder would remove the marital strife from the defendant’s life, allow the defendant to live his life as he pleased, and would enable him to inherit money from Hellman’s estate,' a prosecutor previously said.

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/ar...xgvvevA1_nPST2GUPDrAOcM1BfgqQp2oFw0YA37Czpcx4
     
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  14. Dobrev

    Dobrev Former Member

    The video in the article I linked tore my heart out and rail roaded it with a train. This case kills me that her family does not have her or her daughter. She should be with them. She grew up with them.
     
  15. Summer_breeze

    Summer_breeze Blowing through the Jasmine in my mind

    Judge declares Isabella Hellmann dead, two years after she vanished at sea

    https://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/...mann-dead-two-years-after-she-vanished-at-sea
    Posted May 14, 2019 at 10:21 AM Updated May 14, 2019 at 12:56 PM

    PALM BEACH GARDENS — A judge has made official what most presumed almost from the minute Isabella Hellmann was reported overboard at sea exactly two years ago today. He has declared her dead.

    The action turns over the suburban Delray Beach real estate broker’s modest estate to someone who isn’t yet old enough to appreciate it: her toddler daughter. And for her husband to go to prison in connection with her death.

    In a series of orders, Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Scott Suskauer wrote that Hellmann “is presumed to have died on May 14, 2017.”
     
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  16. kdg411

    kdg411 Resource Mod

    Man faces prison in wife’s disappearance on honeymoon

    A sentencing hearing is scheduled Tuesday in Miami federal court for 41-year-old Lewis Bennett. The plea agreement caps his potential prison sentence at 8 years.

    Tori Simkovic
    HAPPENING TODAY: Lewis Bennett is set to be sentenced in federal court this morning. He pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter after his wife Isabella Hellman disappeared at sea in 2017. Investigators said they found evidence Bennett sank the boat intentionally.
     
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  17. Paradise

    Paradise Media Mod

    British husband sentenced 8 years for Florida wife’s disappearance during Honeymoon sailing trip

    • CHRISTOPHER KOULOURIS MAY 28, 2019 1:04 PM
    [​IMG]
    Lewis Bennett sentencing: Pictured, Isabella Hellmann and her British husband.
    Lewis Bennett sentencing: Husband receives 8 year jail sentence after involuntary manslaughter plea as questions linger if he intentionally murdered, Delray Beach wife, Isabella Hellmann?
    A British husband whose newly married wife disappeared on their honeymoon at sea was sentenced Tuesday to eight years in prison.

    Lewis Bennett, 41, was ordered to prison Tuesday in Miami federal court after pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter in a deal with prosecutors.


    Isabella Hellmann, who lived in Delray Beach, went missing from her husband’s boat off the coast of the Bahamas in May 2017 after setting sail from St. Maarten.




    Bennett’s sentencing follows Hellman’s family claiming her newly married husband conspiring to effect the 41 year woman’s death in a bid to inherit her estate. Of note, prosecutors were able to show within 24 hours of Hellmann’s disappearance, Bennett having sought to file a ‘letter of presumed death’ so he could settle her estate.

    Acknowledging the family’s disconcert, during Tuesday’s sentencing, U.S. District Judge Federico Morenore-affirmed he could only sentence Bennett for the crime which he had admitted, involuntary manslaughter.


    Had Bennett gone to trial for the initial murder charges against him the husband could’ve potentially have been sentenced to life in prison.

    [​IMG]


    Lewis Bennett sentencing: Did the husband conspire to murder his newly married wife?
    The Delray Beach, Florida couple was married for three months when they set sail on a honeymoon tripin May 2017.


    Bennett claimed the 37-foot catamaran which he owned struck an unknown object about 30 miles west of the Bahamian island of Cay Sal and began to capsize.

    When Bennett tried to escape from below deck, Hellmann was allegedly nowhere to be found, he told investigators. He said he last saw his 41-year-old wife hours before the accident standing at the helm of the boat before he went to sleep.


    Authorities searched for Hellmann by sea and air but her body was never recovered.

    The FBI, while never explicitly saying how they agency believed Bennett killed his wife, alleged Bennett staging his wife’s death to look like an accident. The FBI determined the damage to the boat was caused from the inside and there was no evidence the boat was struck.

    A complaint alleged Bennett poked holes in both of his catamaran’s hulls from the inside and having popped open two portholes below the water line. It said he admitted to doing almost nothing to find his wife, devoting his efforts to loading a life raft with food, water, a satellite phone and a homing device.


    Bennett, who shares a 2-year-old daughter with Hellmann, faced a maximum of eight years behind bars under his plea deal. The girl, who turns 3 in July, is being raised by his parents in Scotland.

    He apologized to his late wife’s family prior to sentencing.

    The judge said following his eight-year sentence, Lewis Bennett, 42, will be on supervised release for three years.

    Sailor husband kills wife at sea (during honeymoon) to inherit estate claim prosecutors
     
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