EXCLUSIVE: American yacht captain Ryan Bane’s ex-wife revealed new accusations about his alleged abuse last month after his British girlfriend Sarm Heslop disappeared after a night out at a bar in the US Virgin Islands.
Corie Stevenson told Fox News on Thursday that he lost patience “dozens of times” with his pre-teen daughter Grace, and that it got so bad that she couldn’t leave them alone when she went to class or to the work.
“I couldn’t leave Ryan at home alone with Grace, because he would be really mean to her,” she said.
On one occasion, Stevenson said that Grace, now 20, was 8 or 11 years old. Bane had sent her upstairs to find a television remote, according to Stevenson. But the girl did not find it and went down to tell him.
He supposedly got angry and screamed in her face when he found it himself.
“He was so angry that he marched up the stairs, pulling her with him, picking her up and throwing her on the bed,” said Stevenson. “There are many cases like this that I didn’t discover until a little later. Grace didn’t say anything for a long time.”
Bane’s lawyer told Fox News on Thursday that “they are not making any further comments at this time”.
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On another occasion, Stevenson said that her ex-husband gave the 10-year-old girl a slingshot. The mother wanted to establish some rules for the house, including not using it indoors and not shooting animals, but Bane ignored her concerns, she said.
Then, one day, when Stevenson came home from a grocery store, she said she went in and found Bane yelling at her daughter – who had spilled a sticky toy on a glass door with the slingshot.
“I mean, with a red face, veins jumping from the neck, insane screams,” she said. “I walk in and Grace is standing there, crying hysterically – and I’m like, ‘What the hell happened?'”
“He was like, ‘She could have broken the window,'” said Stevenson. “He was crazy. I just grabbed it and left the house.”
When the couple divorced, Stevenson said Bane took his daughter’s dog, Hunter, with whom he was photographed last month in the Virgin Islands.
According to Stevenson’s version of events, Bane violated an expulsion order and she called the police. A policeman accidentally let the dog out of the house, and Bane has been with him ever since.
As Fox News previously reported, Bane was arrested for beating Stevenson in 2011 after a night of drinking at a wedding – and then had his parole revoked for violating the terms of his release.
Stevenson married Bane in 2008 – and the two divorced in 2014. She told Fox News that he was verbally and physically abusive and could quickly lose patience, especially around women.
But there were signs of trouble long before the chaotic split, Stevenson said.
“When we had alcohol at home, he drank until he was finished,” she claimed. “Pills the same way.”
She also claimed that on more than one occasion he killed wild animals that she was feeding in her backyard.
She told Fox News in March that he killed a friendly squirrel in the yard and left it in the freezer for her to find. On another occasion, she said he shot and killed a deer and tried to feed it – supposedly knowing that she was leaving food outside for him.
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When she heard that he had briefly lifted anchor and left Frank Bay, where his boat, Siren Song, was moored during Heslop’s disappearance, Stevenson said that she immediately started carrying a gun with her the entire time. And she said she had slept with a shotgun next to her during the divorce process.
“I have my gun hidden and I usually don’t have the gun with me,” she said. “But since this started, he’s been with me every day. Wherever I go, he’s with me.”
Bane, a licensed pilot, could travel discreetly to almost anywhere, she said.
Stevenson said he hoped that by sharing his story, he could add urgency to the missing person’s case.
Bane reported Heslop’s disappearance on the morning of March 8. She was last seen in public with Bane at a bar in St. John, United States Virgin Islands, the night before.
After calling 911 to say she disappeared from the 47-foot catamaran at around 2:30 am, police said they instructed him to contact the U.S. Coast Guard for a search and rescue. He would have waited about 10 hours to do this.
Bane refused to allow investigators to search the Song of the Mermaid and the police did not name him as a suspect. The U.S. Coast Guard boarded the ship, but Bane reportedly prevented the military from searching the cabin, resulting in a series of citations.
Stevenson, who met Bane while growing up and attended the same school, said the police not to search the vessel is “the craziest thing I’ve ever heard of”.
“Looking for the last place where they knew the girl was, I think this would be one of the first things they will do,” she said.
Virgin Islands investigators have repeatedly refused to answer questions about whether they are seeking a search warrant for Siren Song or whether Bane is considered a person of interest, citing the ongoing investigation.
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However, Jerry Forrester, a former FBI agent and private investigator specializing in the Caribbean, said it shouldn’t be difficult to establish the probable cause and obtain a search warrant for the last place where a missing person was seen.
“They have a likely enough cause, I think,” he told Fox News last week. “She is missing and she was on that boat … They are just not doing their job.”
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Anyone with information about Heslop’s whereabouts should contact the U.S. Virgin Islands Police Department.