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

Charges against strippers arrested with Stormy Daniels dropped, report says
Charges against strippers arrested with Stormy Daniels dropped, report says

Update 5:30 EDT July 18: The charges against the two strippers arrested with adult film star Stormy Daniels last week in Columbus, Ohio, have been dropped, according to BuzzFeed News. >> Read more trending news  Brittany Walters and Miranda Panda were taken into custody along with Daniels early last Thursday at the Sirens Gentleman&rsquo...
New Boynton Beach Wawa will ‘wake up the whole area’
New Boynton Beach Wawa will ‘wake up the whole area’

Wawa is not your average gas station. The Philadelphia-based chain has developed an almost cult-like following in its home state of Pennsylvania, and as more locations pop up around Palm Beach County, Florida fanatics of the chain are becoming more common. Adding to the Wawa hype in South Florida is the recent approval of the county&rsquo...
Move stalls: ‘A car will go down Fern, a 40-foot building will not’
Move stalls: ‘A car will go down Fern, a 40-foot building will not’

Bad weather, safety concerns and the unwieldy logistics of moving an antique, two-story building through a mile of city streets have stalled plans to turn downtown’s Edgewater rooming house into a bed and breakfast to reawaken the Historic Northwest neighborhood. West Palm Beach’s Community Redevelopment Agency was to receive the building...
Gov. Scott breaks with Trump on Putin, says he ‘completely disagrees’
Gov. Scott breaks with Trump on Putin, says he ‘completely disagrees’

Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday broke with President Donald Trump’s recent comments about Russian President Vladimir Putin and his denial of meddling in the 2016 election. “I completely disagree with the president with regard to trusting Putin, trusting Russia,” Scott said during a campaign stop in Boca Raton on Wednesday afternoon....
State legislators proud of bills crafted after Irma, Parkland
State legislators proud of bills crafted after Irma, Parkland

Five state legislators representing Palm Beach County joined the Palm Beach North Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday to talk about recent legislative issues including school safety, Hurricane Irma and home rule bills. “We really did face a lot of challenges in Tallahassee because of the hurricane and then the tragedy in Parkland,” said District...
More Stories