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2 Americans killed on yacht near Grenada are identified

Feb. 23 (UPI) -- Officials have identified two Americans who were killed aboard their sailboat by three inmates who escaped from a Grenada prison as Kathy Brandel and Ralph Hendry, a couple from Virginia who were spending the winter cruising the Eastern Caribbean after sailing their yacht, Simplicity, from Hampton, Virginia, to Antigua. Their sailing club identified the couple.

Authorities have yet to officially confirm the identities, but police in Grenada have said they have three men back in custody who escaped from prison on February 18 and may have killed y who escaped from prison on February 18 and may have killed .

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Brandel's son - Nick Buro - told CNN Sunday they were holding out hope the couple might be found safe but evidence on Simplicity suggested violent scenes.

"The boat itself was ransacked and everything was strewn about in the entire cabin so clearly there was an altercation of some type that took place on the boat which does indicate that we are concerned for their safety overall because it does appear that they were likely injured," Buro said.

"They were super careful to be safe all the time," Buro said. "Everywhere they went everything they did, safety was their top, top concern so this unfortunate accident, I think, it came out of nowhere for them."

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Three inmates, who were recaptured Wednesday after escaping a Grenada police station, likely hijacked the yacht and killed the two American citizens in the process, the Royal Grenada Police Force said Thursday.

The RGPF said Ron Mitchell, 30, Trevon Robertson, 19, and Abita Stanislaus, 25, were arrested in December on charges of robbery with violence. Ron Mitchell also was charged with assault and rape.

On Sunday, the men reportedly escaped from the police station where they were being held.

"Preliminary information emanating from investigators in St Vincent suggests that the three men made their way to St Vincent via a yacht which was docked in the St, George area," the RGPF said in a Facebook post Thursday.

"The RGPF is currently working on leads that suggest the two occupants of the yacht may have been killed in the process," the RGPF said, "It is believed that the occupants of the yacht were American citizens."

The Carribean Safety and Security Net said blood was discovered during an inspection of the yacht Simplicity, Brandel and Hendry were sailing to Antigua.

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