From jail, he has hired an attorney to presume his wife dead to control the condo where they lived together in Delray Beach.
Judge Kroll said Thursday she could not issue the death certificate based on a Coast Guard report the attorney presented to her, stating that the search for Hellmann was suspended after the Coast Guard concluded that she could not have survived more than 120 hours at sea.
“I would have questions for the Coast Guard,” said Kroll in court. “I’m concerned that I don’t have anyone to ask those questions to.”
The judge said just because the report says the search was suspended for Hellmann does not mean the investigation is concluded.
Kroll also stated that normally she is presented with a letter presuming death, such as in cases where someone has fallen off a cruise ship.
“I have to tell you, I think this is really quick. Normally I see these [cases] after a year or two. So, when did the accident happen?” Kroll asked Bennett’s attorney Lee McElroy.
“May 14, your honor,” said the attorney.
“Yeah, so what’s the rush?” answered Kroll.
Although Bennett’s current status in federal custody awaiting trial did not come up at the hearing, McElroy told the judge the Delray Beach condo where the married couple lived is only in Hellmann’s name and Bennett does not have access to the estate.
He is seeking that access along with other assets, like Hellmann’s car, some small bank accounts, and personal effects.
The judge said she would like to see a letter from the Coast Guard saying the investigation is concluded. She has set another hearing for Nov. 3 regarding the matter.