What Happened to Sarm Heslop? She Boarded a Boat With Her Boyfriend and Never Came Home
In the March 11 episode of Dateline, we learn the sad but true story of Sarm Heslop, who went missing a year ago after boarding a yacht with her boyfriend, Ryan Bane.
Sarm was last seen in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Since then, her family has been desperate for answers. Following her disappearance, her family offered a $10,000 reward for any information that could help with the investigation.
In the Dateline episode "Siren Song," NBC correspondent Andrea Canning looks into what happened to Sarm Heslop. Read on to learn more.
What happened to Sarm Heslop?
Sarm hails from Southhampton, U.K., and previously made a living as a flight attendant. She first met Ryan on Tinder. It wasn't long before they built both a working and a romantic relationship. Eventually, Sarm came to live and work alongside Ryan on his catamaran in St. John.
But Ryan made a 9-1-1 phone call on March 8, 2021, that marked the beginning of a months-long probe into her disappearance.
According to reports, Sarm and Ryan had dinner together on shore on March 7, returning to the boat — which was called "Siren Song" — at 10 p.m.
At 2:30 a.m., Ryan called the Virgin Island authorities to tell them that his boat's anchor alarm was going off and that Sarm was missing. He was instructed to alert the U.S. Coast Guard right away while police initiated a missing-persons search, but Ryan didn't make the call until almost noon. Later that day, he didn't allow police to do a full forensic search of the boat and didn't answer questions at the advice of his lawyer.
But Ryan was not a person of interest in the initial investigation, and his luxury boat was never searched for evidence. However, there may be no more evidence left to find now that Bane has listed the catamaran for sale.
After Sarm Heslop’s disappearance, Ryan Bane listed his catamaran for $299,000.
Though Ryan went off the map in July 2021, months later, he was spotted in Grenda. Ryan’s lawyer, David Cattie, maintains that his client is “heartbroken” by the tragedy, but had no hand in any wrongdoing. However, his ex-wife Cori Stevenson, who was married to Ryan from 2008 to 2004, argued that police shouldn’t underestimate him.
When Sarm went missing, Cori came forward to share the alleged abuse she endured at the hands of her ex-husband. 'While I was gone one time, Ryan killed the squirrel and put it in the freezer for me to find,” Cori recounted in an interview with Daily Mail.
She compared Ryan to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and said that his behavior only got worse with time. Along with making accusations of infidelity and animal cruelty, she claimed to fear for her own life. In 2011, he was arrested for domestic abuse and spent 21 days in jail.
"I really am that afraid of him. He was basically my bully. I don't know what else to call him. He's already beaten me up. I am definitely worried he would still harm me in some way,” she added.
Today, Sarm would be 42. One year after her disappearance, Ryan is laying low and her parents remain dedicated to solving the case. Ahead of the Dateline premiere, they flew to USVI to, hopefully, learn the truth.
You can catch Dateline Fridays at 9 p.m. EST on NBC.