The ex-wife of an American man whose girlfriend has vanished in the U.S. Virgin Islands describes yachtsman Ryan Bane as quick to anger, unpredictable and narcissistic.
Bane, a convicted domestic abuser, allegedly routinely pushed and shoved his former partner and called her “b—-” or “c—,” according to his ex-wife Corie Stevenson, whose tooth she says he once broke by slamming her face into the ground at their Michigan home.
“He’s very aggressive with girls, but he doesn’t really wanna get in fights with guys,” Stevenson told Fox News.
Sarm Heslop, a 41-year-old British woman, has been missing for more than two weeks and was last seen on Bane’s 47-foot catamaran, the “Siren Song.” Fox News has learned the boat left the local harbor in the middle of the night; Bane’s whereabouts were unknown as of Thursday morning.
The mystery began when the two went out to dinner on March 7 and returned to the yacht around 10 p.m.
The 44-year-old Bane called 911 around 2:30 a.m. on March 8 to report that she wasn’t on board. Virgin Islands police told him to contact the Coast Guard – but he reportedly did not do so for roughly 10 hours. Then he got a lawyer and has not allowed police to search his vessel.
Heslop has remained missing, despite a search through crystal-clear waters and on land. Stevenson said she hoped that by sharing her story, she could add urgency to the missing-person case.
Stevenson married Bane in 2008 – and the two were divorced by 2014. She told Fox News he was verbally and physically abusive and that “he will lie about everything.”
“I want people to know about Ryan’s behavior, and then maybe they can keep looking for the girl,” she said. “If you were just to meet Ryan in the bar, or out anywhere, you would think that he’s awesome. Everyone thinks he’s wonderful. It’s what they’re not seeing behind closed doors.”
He would “fly off the handle” without warning – often over minor transgressions or unpredictable triggers, she said.
“With Ryan, you never ever knew what was gonna set him off,” she said.
In 2011, Bane was charged with assaulting his then-wife late at night after a long drive home from a wedding. She said she was at the wheel and asked him to help her navigate the backroads.
“If you can get me to the highway, I can get home,” she said.
But Bane, she said, grew irate, “like a giant 5-year-old,” that she was asking for help.
“He would kick and scream like a child, and he was kicking and screaming the whole time telling me what a b—- I am,” she said.
He kicked the dash – then the gearshift and then her legs, she said. She said she pleaded with him to stop and dug her knuckles into his foot.
“I think it just pissed him off,” she said.
When they finally got home, she described Bane as “in such a rage” that he tore her out of the truck through the passenger side.
“I was still in the seatbelt and he pulled me out of it,” she said. “It was still buckled.”
From there, she said he tackled her, pulled her hair and slammed her face into the ground, chipping her tooth.
“Then he turned me over and basically choked me out,” she said. “And then he went upstairs and went to bed. He went to bed.”
A police report at the time described a similar course of events, and investigators noted other injuries, including scratches on her face, ear and neck.
She went to the garage and called 911. Police arrested him in the bedroom. Bane served 21 days in jail on a 60-day sentence, according to Stevenson.
She said despite some other reporting, this level of abuse was a singular event.
She also alleged he has problems with drugs and alcohol, stating that while they were married, she had stocked up well in advance of a party they planned to host and almost all of it had been imbibed before the event took place.
On another occasion, she said he took Xanax and froze on the couch while lifting a beer to his lips, spilling it without moving. Friends nicknamed him Tin Man after that, she said, based on the “Wizard of Oz” character, who sometimes froze in place.
“My darkest days are out there and now everyone on the planet knows,” Stevenson said. “But if it helps this girl’s family then I guess I’m willing to do that.”
Fox News has reached out multiple times to Bane’s attorney regarding the ex-wife’s allegations, and did not receive a response as of press time.
There was no indication the Coast Guard or local investigators had found Heslop in the surrounding area as of Wednesday.
The FBI has confirmed it’s assisting in the search, which remained ongoing.