EXCLUSIVE: Family of missing Delray woman talks with baby for first time since mom vanished


Just days before Tuesday’s anniversary of the disappearance of Isabella Hellmann, her family communicated with her baby for the first time since Hellmann was reported lost at sea on May 15, 2017. 

On Friday, the family had a 15-minute video call with the little girl, who is living with Bennett’s parents in England, Mitchell Kitroser, a North Palm Beach attorney who’s been working with them, told The Palm Beach Post on Monday. 

In the early hours of May 15, 2017, the suburban Delray Beach real estate broker’s husband, Lewis Bennett, called the U.S. Coast Guard to say his catamaran had struck something west of the Bahamas and southeast of Key West, and was taking on water. And that he’d come topside to find his wife gone. A massive search turned up nothing.

Hellmann remains missing and is presumed dead. 

Bennett is in a federal lockup, awaiting trial on charges filed in February that allege he murdered his wife and staged an accident at sea to cover up the crime. On the day he was charged, he was separately sentenced to seven months in prison after admitting to transporting stolen coins the night he was rescued. 

And the couple’s daughter Emelia, now nearly 2, is with Bennett’s parents in England. Hellmann’s family hasn’t seen her since Bennett came for her a few days after his rescue.

Up to now, he said, the Florida relatives had seen only photos. But on Friday, “they were able to see Emelia and talk to her,” Kitroser said. “Everybody was able to put the needs of the little girl over the controversy of a murder case. And kudos to both families for doing it.” 

The Florida family is hoping for a face-to-face reunion with the child, Kitroser said. 

“There was discussion about it, and we’re hoping that’s something that gets done sooner rather than later,” he said.

Kitroser said he was not privy to the talks and can’t say if the two families discussed the logistics and whether the baby would come back to Florida or the Florida family would travel to England. 

He also said the family did not want to comment specifically about either the anniversary or the pending murder charges. Several times in the last year, the family has declined interview requests by The Post. Bennett’s father, in England, and his sister, in Scotland, both also have declined to talk to The Post. Bennett has declined to comment through his federal public defender, and federal prosecutors also will not comment.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

UPDATE: Boca Mayor Susan Haynie’s court arraignment today canceled
UPDATE: Boca Mayor Susan Haynie’s court arraignment today canceled

Update Thursday at 6:30 a.m.: Boca Raton Mayor Susan Haynie’s arraignment hearing Thursday was canceled.  The hearing hasn’t yet been rescheduled. Haynie pleaded not guilty to the four felony and three misdemeanor charges. Original story: The first court hearing in Boca Raton Mayor Susan Haynie’s public corruption case is...
'The Chew' canceled: ABC kills foodie talk show amid Mario Batali allegations
'The Chew' canceled: ABC kills foodie talk show amid Mario Batali allegations

ABC’s appetite for afternoon talk show “The Chew” is over after seven years. Instead, a third hour of “Good Morning America” will air at 1 p.m. starting this fall.  “The Chew,” currently hosted by Carla Hall, Clinton Kelly and Michael Symon, replaced “All My Children” in 2011. Former...
T.I. rails against Houston's restaurant after actresses' arrests from bathroom
T.I. rails against Houston's restaurant after actresses' arrests from bathroom

Renewed criticism is emerging for Houston’s restaurant in Atlanta as three actresses say they were wrongfully arrested and attacked at the Peachtree Road restaurant after using the restroom. The Atlanta Police Department is investigating whether an off-duty officer working security at the restaurant used excessive force, the agency told...
Growth slowing across Palm Beach County, Census figures show
Growth slowing across Palm Beach County, Census figures show

Population growth slowed in nearly every nook and cranny of Palm Beach County, Census Bureau estimates released Thursday show. In the latest year reported, population growth was typically two-thirds of what it had been a year earlier, and many cities grew at about half the rate of this decade’s average. Boynton Beach was the best at keeping its...
Jupiter bus driver being called ‘a hero’ after saving child’s life
Jupiter bus driver being called ‘a hero’ after saving child’s life

Every day Sharonda Akins, of West Palm Beach, picks up the same group of Jupiter Farms Elementary School students from their bus stop and drops them off at the end of the day. She has learned all their names and even plays Kidz Bop as she drives them. But around 2:15 on May 15, Akin’s typical Tuesday took a scary turn. She was forced to act on...
More Stories