A South Florida man is under federal investigation about two weeks after the U.S. Coast Guard suspended its search for his wife, who has been missing since a May 14 boat incident, police said.
Lewis Bennett was on a boat with his wife, Isabella Hellmann, when it turned over last month, Coast Guard officials said. Bennet was spotted on a life raft 30 miles west of Cay Sal, Bahamas, but Hellmann was never found. The Coast Guard led an air and sea search for four days but was unable to locate Bennett, who is listed as a local realtor.
Hellmann’s family said Bennett recently left the U.S. with the couple’s baby. As of Thursday night, the FBI did not have an update on the investigation.
“The Coast Guard Investigative Service is working jointly with the FBI on a missing persons investigation involving this matter,” The Coast Guard said in a statement.
“As that investigation is ongoing we cannot provide further details at this time.”
On Sunday, Bennett was engaged in a dispute with his in-laws in Boca Raton, leading police to learn the FBI is investigating him in connection with Hellmann’s disappearance.
Bennett made contact with his sister-in-law, Dayana Rodriguez, who he claimed had stolen an iPad, a computer, an engagement ring, clothes and handbags from his house, police said.
Dayana invited Bennett into her home to search for the items before Elizabeth Rodriguez, his other sister-in-law, insisted that Bennett leave. Outside, Elizabeth shouted that Bennett had killed Hellmann, according to a police report.
After a conversation with police, Bennett decided to leave the property. When U.S. Marshal Dennis Munchel learned of the incident, he revealed that Bennett is under FBI investigation.