FBI raids condo of woman lost at sea for a month

The FBI raided the Delray, Florida, condominium where Isabella Hellman had been living before she vanished in a mysterious boating accident last month.

According to the Palm Beach Post, roughly 20 FBI personnel performed a day-long search on Friday of the Delray condo where Isabella lived with her husband Lewis Bennett and infant daughter.

Hellman vanished on May 15 under unexplained circumstances on a boating trip with her husband, when they were sailing about 30 miles west of the Bahamas. Bennett told authorities that he was sleeping below deck when he was awakened by the sound of the catamaran striking something in the water. When he went up to the deck, he said his wife was gone and the boat was taking water.

He reportedly sent out a distress signal, and escaped in a life raft. The Coast Guard rescued Bennett hours later.

As Crime Online previously reported, the Coast Guard has since lost track of the catamaran, and investigators were not able to conduct a thorough search of the boat because it was partially submerged in water when they first inspected it during the search for Hellman.

According to the Palm Beach Post, authorities told Hellman’s family they believe the boat sank.

The newspaper reports that FBI agents were seen carrying boxes and bags of evidence from the condo during an eight-hour search.

FBI spokesman Michael D. Leverock said in a press statement Friday morning that the search was “part of the investigation into the disappearance of Isabella Hellmann.”

The FBI would not specify what evidence was removed from the home or how it relates to the investigation. At this time, no agency has brought formal charges against Bennett, and his whereabouts are unknown.

Bennett is a dual British-Australian citizen, and Hellman’s family said earlier this month they believed he was leaving the country with the couple’s baby.

But sources told The Australian, the country’s national newspaper that has reportedly been working in conjunction with the Palm Beach Post, that Bennett was not in the country.

The FBI would not comment to Palm Beach Post reporters on the whereabouts of Hellman or her husband.


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