Husband, in-laws feud over missing woman
FBI investigating disappearance of 41-year-old mother
She vanished at sea on Mother’s Day during a honeymoon catamaran cruise.
Since then, the disappearance of Isabella Hellmann has stymied search and rescue crews, pitted her husband and relatives against each other in court, raised at least one of her sister’s suspicions of foul play and sparked an FBI investigation.
Hellmann, 41, a Delray Beach real estate agent and mother to a now 1-year-old, presumably fell overboard while at the helm of the couple’s 37-foot catamaran. Her husband told authorities that he was asleep below deck when the vessel struck something and began to take on water.
For four days the U.S. Coast Guard searched the waters near the Bahamas with two airplanes, two helicopters and two ships.
A day after the search was called off, Hellmann’s husband, Lewis Bennett, requested a letter from authorities saying his wife was “presumed dead,” according to court records obtained Friday.
The Coast Guard told Bennett it did not have the authority to issue such a letter, according to records from the Palm Beach County Circuit Court, where a legal battle between Lewis Bennett and his in-laws Hellmann is playing out.
By state law, Hellmann would have to be missing for five years before she would be legally presumed dead.
The U.S. Coast Guard searched for Isabella Hellmann near the Bahamas for four days with two airplanes, two helicopters and two ships.