A Florida judge has officially declared a missing Florida dead after she disappeared on her honeymoon in the Bahamas. Isabella Hellman, 41, disappeared two years ago while she was on a boat with her husband Lewis Bennett. Bennett, 42, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in Nov. 2018 and faces a maximum eight years in prison.
Bennett is scheduled to be sentenced later in May.
“As Isabella Hellman has not been heard from nor seen since being lost at sea on May 14, 2017… there are no reasonable inferences or an explanation of her absence other than her presumed death at sea,” Palm Beach County Circuit Court Judge Scott Suskauer said.
Now that Hellman is officially dead, it will allow for her estate, that includes a condo and her bank accounts, to pass to her parents and a $18,000 trust fund is to be set up for the couple’s 3-year-old daughter.
When authorities found Bennett in a lifeboat, he told them that he was asleep below deck on their catamaran and woke up when the boat started taking on water. The FBI investigation found that holes were punctured into the hull of the boat and that the hatches were deliberately opened in order to sink the boat.
When Bennett pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter back in January he apologized to his wife’s family.
“I know that they have been through unimaginable pain as a result of my actions and for that I am truly sorry,” Bennett said. “I have made poor decisions which compounded a tragedy of such magnitude that I pray no one else would ever have to experience it.”
[Image via Broward Sheriff’s Office]
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