A scream was heard at 1am in the area a British woman vanished while staying on a yacht in the Caribbean, a friend of hers has claimed.
Sarm Heslop, 41, was last seen on March 7 aboard ‘Siren Song’, a catamaran moored off the coast of St. John in the Virgin Islands.
She had been staying with her US boyfriend Ryan Bane, 44, who reported her missing on March 8 – sparking a police hunt.
Ms Heslop, a former flight attendant from Southampton, was last seen having dinner before returning to the vessel at around 10pm.
Mr Bane, the boat’s skipper and owner, says he woke up at around 2am to find his partner gone, before raising the alarm at 11am.
Police are yet to search the charter boat, where Ms Heslop’s phone, passport and belongings are still believed to be.
A Facebook group – ‘Missing Person: Sarm Heslop’ – has been set up by more than a dozen worried friends seeking answers.
Laura Taylor, 33, has told The Mirror that they hope to keep the pressure on the authorities and today revealed a potential lead.
She said: “We are aware that, at 1am that morning, between the 10pm and 2am timeframe, somebody who was walking their dogs came forward and said they heard a scream.
“He was walking his dogs and he heard a scream, heard a female scream. He heard it from the bayside.
“He got in touch – it was the very first post. [A friend] put it on a local Facebook group.
“Someone got in touch with her directly and said: ‘Can you call me?’. That’s what he said. I don’t know if the police have followed it up.
“It’s really important to note how close the boat is. A lot of people have reporting she’s lost at sea. She’s not. [The boat] is only 120ft from the shore.”
Divers have been scouring the Caribbean waters since Ms Heslop vanished, with a witness appeal also put out by police.
But friends fear the authorities are not moving fast enough, and are calling for an “urgent” search of the boat.
Ms Taylor added: “I have no idea why [the boat] wouldn’t be where they looked in the fist place. I’m dumbfounded.
“Our hope is that, if we are all looking at that small police department, they will have to treat this with the utmost urgency.”
A spokesman for the United States Virgin Islands Police Department told the Telegraph that the boat would be searched “eventually”.
He said: “We have not been able to search the boat yet and will do this in due course. It is something that will be done eventually.”
He added that police are “keeping their options open” and are looking to see whether Ms Heslop could have “fled” to St Thomas.
The island, where the territory’s capital is, is a 20-minute boat ride away from St John.
In a previous statement made on the social media group, friends said it was unlikely Ms Heslop would have just vanished.
They said: “She would not just disappear, leaving no trace. She is savvy and sensible, it’s not like her at all, it just doesn’t make sense.”
Mr Bane’s lawyers said that he is “devastated” Ms Heslop is missing, reports the Daily Mail.
A statement said: “Mr Bane’s only hope is that Sarm is found alive and well. His thoughts and prayers are with Sarm and her family during this difficult time.
“Mr. Bane has spent countless hours searching for Sarm and will continue to do so. Ryan is devastated that Sarm is missing.”
Ms Heslop is described as a slim, with a southern English accent and a tattoo on her left shoulder.
Anyone with information regarding her whereabouts is urged to call 911 in the US.
Ms Taylor added that she wanted to thank the volunteers who had given up their time to look for Ms Heslop.