5 Things to Know About the Florida Mom Missing at Sea After Boating Trip with Her New Husband
Isabella Hellmann was reported missing on May 15 during a trip with her husband from St. Maarten to Key West
It has been just over one month since Florida mom Isabella Hellmann disappeared from aboard a catamaran in the Atlantic Ocean that she’d been traveling on with her husband of three months, and there are still few answers as to what happened.
While a joint missing person’s investigation by the FBI and U.S. Coast Guard continues, following an earlier three-day search, here are five things to know about the case.
1. She and Her Husband Were Honeymooning
Hellmann, a 41-year-old real estate broker, and husband, Lewis Bennett, were on a two-week trip starting from the Caribbean island of St. Maarten. They were meant to travel first to Puerto Rico, then on to Cuba before finally landing back in Florida.
A friend of Hellmann’s told the Palm Beach Post that the trip was a belated honeymoon for the newlyweds.
2. Hellmann’s Husband Says He Was Sleeping When She Vanished
Bennett reportedly told investigators that he was asleep below the deck of their boat when he heard the vessel hit something soon before his wife’s disappearance. After emerging topside, he said, there was no trace of Hellmann. She was wearing a life vest when he last saw her, he said.
“She said, ‘I’m in the middle of the ocean right now. We left Cuba,’ ” Rodriguez recalled. “She didn’t tell me what time, but she said, ‘We left Cuba,’ and that’s it. She said, ‘I’ll see you tomorrow.’ ”
3. The Couple’s Boat Didn’t Show Obvious Holes
Hellmann and Bennett’s catamaran was 70 miles from shore when, Bennett said, it started taking on water southeast of Key West, Florida.
In May, Coast Guard Miami spokesman Eric Woodall told the Post that the responders who rescued Bennett inspected the boat “the best they could from the surface,” but never saw what it might have struck.
Woodall further stated that the vessel had no obviously visible holes, but that there were deep scrapes on the back ends of each pontoon.
Earlier this month, a relative of Hellmann’s told the Post that, according to authorities, the boat had sunk. The Coast Guard said retrieving it was Bennett’s responsibility and that its electronic beacon had stopped working, making it unable to track.
Guard spokesman Jonathan Lally told the newspaper on June 5: “We haven’t had track of it or seen the boat since.”
Coast Guard authorities had not inspected the boat from a close distance, Lally said at the time, although divers banged on the side of the vessel and got no response.
Neither the Guard nor the FBI has commented on if they are looking into possible wrongdoing in the case.
4. Investigators Have Searched Hellmann’s Home
On Friday, the FBI executed a court-authorized search at Hellmann’s apartment in Delray Beach, Florida, Special Agent Michael D. Leverock confirmed to PEOPLE.
According to the Post, Hellmann shared the residence with Bennett and their 9-month-old daughter. The newspaper reported that investigators were there for more than eight hours and were seen making several trips back and forth to vehicles with evidence bags.
WATCH: FBI Searches Missing Florida Mom’s Home
5. Hellmann’s Husband Has Allegedly Disappeared with Their Baby
According to Hellmann’s sister, Bennett said that he traveled to Cuba to look for his wife after being rescued by the Coast Guard himself.
Upon his return to Florida, Bennett allegedly picked up the couple’s infant child from Hellmann’s family in the Boca Raton area — later retrieving the baby’s belongings while escorted by a police officer.
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According to the Post, Bennett has dual Australian and British citizenship. A friend told the paper that she asked Bennett not to leave the country, explaining, “I begged him to please understand that the family lost Isabella and the only piece of Isabella left was [the baby], and he needs to understand that he just can’t leave and take [her]. He said he understands, but he’s got his life in Australia.”
A Facebook page dedicated to finding Hellmann now claims that her family has not seen the child since, writing they have “no sign of knowing where she might be” and fear that Bennett has fled the country.
PEOPLE’s efforts to reach him for comment have been unsuccessful.