Case 261

Shari Smith & Debra May Helmick

*** Content Warning: Sexual assault ***

[Part 1 of 2]

When 17-year-old Shari Smith disappeared from the end of her family’s driveway in Lexington, South Carolina, there were immediate concerns for her wellbeing. Shari had a rare medical condition that could turn fatal without her medication. 

But any concerns that Shari’s illness could have caused her disappearance were quickly quashed after the Smith family received an odd phone call, prompting the largest manhunt in South Carolina’s history. As the taunting calls continued, the question remained – where was Shari? And was she still alive?



Casefile Presents



Research & writing – Elsha McGill

Creative direction – Milly Raso

Narration – Anonymous Host



‘Flatline intro’ and ‘Come play with me’ intro and outro –

Audio production – Mike Migas 

Scoring – Mike Migas



Logo and website design – Paulina Szymanska



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State Vs Bell – Appeal



Last Will – Forensic Files 

Cat & Mouse – The FBI Files 

The Smith Sisters – I, Witness

The Execution of Larry Gene Bell – News19 Special Report



When a Killer Calls – John Douglas & Mark Olshaker 

Murder in the Midlands – Rita Y Shuler



Senseless tragedy – The Columbia Record (6 June 1985)

Rare water diabetes fatal if left untreated – The Columbia Record (6 June 1985)

Coping with the pain – The Columbia Record (26 June 1985)

They could have been anyone’s children – The State (28 June 1985)

Sorting out the rumours – The State (29 June 1985)

Assaults on women part of suspects past – The Charlotte Observer (29 June 1985)

Questions remain after arrest – The State (30 June 1985)

Telephone conversations with Miss Smith’s killer – The State (15 February 1986)

Bell Case History – The State (15 February 1986)

Shari Smith’s last will and testament – The State (16 February 1986)

For the Helmicks, the hardship continues – The State (26 June 1986)



Survivors of Capital Crimes Don’t Want the Victims to be Forgotten – Prison Fellowship

Diabetes insipidus – Better Health 

SLED’s laboratory wizardry convicts SC kidnap-murderer – Criminal Justice Chronicle

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