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A man who reported his new wife missing while sailing in the Caribbean last year has been arrested for his alleged involvement in her murder, officials said.
Lewis Bennett, 41, was taken into custody at the federal court house in Miami Tuesday morning on federal charges in the killing of Isabella Hellman, FBI officials said.
Bennett abandoned his sinking 37-foot catamaran near the Bahamas last May. He told the Coast Guard he didn’t know where Hellman, was. Rescue crews found Bennett in a life raft.
According to an arrest affidavit, Bennett said he had gone to the cabin to sleep and left Hellman at the helm when the vessel struck an unknown object.
He said when he got topside, Hellman was nowhere to be found, the affidavit said. That’s when he deployed his life raft and abandoned ship.
Among Bennett’s belongings were coins that authorities say had been stolen in St. Maarten last year from a yacht he was working on. He later pleaded guilty to transporting as much as $100,000 in stolen coins.
The Coast Guard searched but Hellman’s body was never found.
According to the affidavit, a Naval expert later determined that the boat was “intentionally scuttled.”