The husband of a Florida woman who has been missing since May published a lengthy Facebook update this week, admitting he has left the country with the couple’s young daughter and speaking of his wife — who has not been found — in the past tense.
As Crime Online previously reported, Isabella Hellman has been missing since May 15, when she vanished during a sailing trip with her husband Lawrence Bennett.
Bennett reportedly told police that he was woken in the middle of the night by the sense that the catamaran had hit an object in the water. When he went above deck, he said his wife was gone and the boat was taking water. He contacted emergency services, escaped the boat on a life raft, and was rescued hours later by the Coast Guard.
The Coast Guard suspended an unsuccessful search for the 41-year-old mother of an infant girl just a few days later. Investigators performed an exterior search of the vessel, which they said was in too dangerous a position in the water to board. The Coast Guard has since lost track of the catamaran, which is believed to have sunk in the Atlantic Ocean.
The FBI reportedly questioned Bennett, and more recently searched the couple’s Delray apartment, but the husband has not been named a suspect. While there has been no trace of Isabella since she vanished, authorities have not yet declared her dead.
Based on earlier reports, Bennett does not appear to be on good terms with Isabella’s family, who live in Florida near the couple’s apartment and reportedly begged Bennett, who has dual Australian and British citizenship, not to take his and Isabella’s daughter out of the country.
But according to Bennett’s recent Facebook post, he did not respect the wishes of his in-laws.
“Understandably I have now returned to the UK with my daughter to seek the comfort of my friends and family to help us adjust to the tragic events that I have recently been through, for us to stay in that environment was not conducive to a happy child…. this is my upmost priority,” he wrote on June 28.
The post announces that Bennett will be taking a break from social media while he is in England with his daughter. He speaks of Isabella in the past tense, showing no indication he expects her to be found alive, but does not address the circumstances of her disappearance or his role in the investigation.
“I would like to take this opportunity to express how much Isabella meant to me and to Emelia and it is now my responsibility to ensure her legacy is never forgotten.”
Benett takes a defensive position about the couple’s relationship, presumably based on reports and/or rumors there may have been trouble in the marriage.
“Contrary to statements given in the press and social media, Isabella and I loved each other very much, she was the soulmate I had always searched for, she made my life complete. To think I must move forward without her in my life is something I never wanted to contemplate, and something I wouldn’t wish upon anyone as it’s an emotion that nobody should have to go through.”
A woman believed to be Isabella’s sister has also posted recent messages about the newlywed mother, including numerous calls to help find her sister.
Bennett’s post does not mention any continued search for his wife.