The husband of a newlywed mom missing since an alleged boat crash asked authorities for a “letter of presumed death” just days after she vanished.
Isabella Hellmann, 41, went missing at sea from a boat near the Bahamas on May 15 — some three months after marrying 38-year-old Lewis Bennett.
The couple, who is from Delray Beach, Fla., had been celebrating their marriage when the boat allegedly struck an unknown object and began to capsize, the Palm Beach Post reported.
Her new hubby, who survived the crash, told authorities that he had been below deck when the boat started to take on water.
Bennett claimed that that he last saw his wife hours before the accident standing at the helm of the boat.
Authorities looked for Hellmann until May 18 before calling off the search. U.S. Coast Guard officials later said they found no evidence the boat was involved in a crash before losing track of it.
The Coast Guard wrote to Bennett the day after the search ended to deny his request for a “letter of presumed death,” according to court documents. In Florida, people cannot be legally dead until they have been missing for five years.
It isn’t clear when Bennett filed to have Hellmann declared dead.
The Coast Guard letter was part of a July 14 court filing from her sister, Adriana DiFeo, to gain control of her assets. Police reports have indicated that at least one of Hellmann’s sisters has accused Bennett of killing her, the Palm Beach Post.
Bennett, who holds dual citizenship in the UK and Australia, has reportedly fled the country with the couple’s 9-month-old daughter. He has never been formally named a person of interest in the case, officials said.