The U.S. Coast Guard has released photos showing damage to the vessel carrying Isabella Hellman on the sailing trip that led to her disappearance and presumed death.
Hellmann, who was on a belated honeymoon trip with her husband Lewis Bennett and had recently given birth to a daughter, is presumed dead, though her remains were never found. Bennett has pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in an agreement that will spare him a trial on more serious charges, Fox News reports.
According to Fox News, authorities believe that Bennett intentionally caused damage to the catamaran that was sailing in the Atlantic Ocean near the Bahamas in May 2017 when Bennett called the Coast Guard to report that his wife had vanished while he was sleeping. The images released by the Coast Guard, obtained by Fox News and the The Sun, show opened escape hatches and holes in the vessel. The opened portals may have accelerated the boat’s sinking.
According to The Sun, the FBI believes that Bennett intentionally caused ruptures from inside the catamaran.
The photos were released days before Bennett is expected to be sentenced for his wife’s death. He was initially charged with second-degree murder but pleaded guilty in November to the lesser charge of manslaughter. He is due in court in Miami on Tuesday to hear his sentence.
Hellman’s body has not been found, but she is presumed to have drowned during the ocean excursion in 2017. She leaves behind a daughter who was only nine months old when Hellmann disappeared.