Case 261

Shari Smith & Debra May Helmick

*** Content Warning: Sexual assault ***

[Part 2 of 2]

When nine-year-old Debra May Helmick was abducted from the front of her family’s trailer in Richland County, South Carolina, there were immediate concerns that her kidnapping could be linked to the recent murder of Lexington teenager Shari Smith. Those fears were confirmed when Shari’s sister Dawn received a chilling phone call directing authorities to Debra May’s body. 

The news that a serial killer was on the loose had South Carolina residents gripped by fear. As the investigation ramped up, a breakthrough clue finally emerged.



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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