Man who said wife vanished at sea charged with murder
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A man who said his wife disappeared at sea when their boat collided with an unknown object near the Bahamas has been charged with murder.
An FBI affidavit released Tuesday says that 41-year-old Lewis Bennett is charged with second-degree murder in the May 2017 disappearance of 41-year-old Isabella Hellman of Delray Beach, Florida. Bennett holds dual British and Australian citizenship.
CBS affiliate WPEC
Bennett was arrested while facing sentencing Tuesday in Miami federal court on charges of stealing $100K worth of coins from a yacht in the Caribbean. His lawyer did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
According to the FBI, Bennett told investigators he had gone below deck on their Catamaran near the Bahamas and left Hellman above to keep watch. He said a loud noise woke him up and discovered that the boat was taking on water, but his wife was nowhere to be found.
Rescue crews found him in a life raft. The FBI says Bennett falsely claimed Hellman disappeared after the supposed accident.
Among Bennett’s belongings when he was rescued were 225 coins. Authorities later learned that Bennett had been first mate on a ship the previous year, when 617 collectible coins were stolen. The ship’s owner identified Bennett’s coins as those stolen. 162 more coins were found at Bennett’s Delray Beach condo.
The couple has an infant daughter. Hellman’s family declined to comment to a reporter for CBS affiliate WPEC after Tuesday’s hearing.
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