Got him! Convicted killer now charged with two additional cold case homicides after shock confession

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FAIRFAX COUNTY, VA – A convicted killer, already serving a life sentence in Virginia, has been charged with two additional cold case homicides in two different states.

The indictments come after the convicted killer confessed to both slayings.

The convicted murderer, Charles Helem, was sentenced to life in prison after being found guilty of murdering Patricia Bentley in 2003.

Since his time in jail, Helem apparently decided to come clean with two different murders he allegedly committed.

Police allege they began to suspect Helem’s involvement in the murder of Jennifer Landry when he sent a letter to police claiming to have knowledge in 2010.

Detectives with the Prince Georges Police Department attempted to interview him in the case, and he refused to speak with them.

In 2017, Helem allegedly sent another letter in which he claimed to have knowledge about Landry’s murder, and again refused to meet with detectives.

That changed in 2021 when cold case detectives with the Prince Georges Police Department were able to get Helem to speak to them. The Price Georges Police Department released the following statement, in part:

“PGPD detectives traveled to a Massachusetts prison where he [Helem] had been transferred. He verbally confessed to Landry’s murder during that interview and provided information only the suspect would know.”

Helem admitted to picking up Landry in Washington, DC for the purposes of paying her for sex. Helem allegedly admitted to driving Landry to Mount Rainier where he killed her and left her body in a wooded area.

Police noted in Landry’s case, her body was found in August of 2002, but they were unable to identify her until 2005. Prince Georges Police Department reported that Landry had obvious signs of trauma to her torso and neck area when she was found.

While speaking to Helem about his alleged involvement with Landry’s murder, he allegedly admitted to committing another one, this time in Fairfax County, Virginia. The victim in that case, Eige Sober-Adler, was found in a parking lot near the Dulles Toll Road in 1987.

Based upon this confession, Fairfax County Police Department responded and met with Helem in October of 2021. Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis said:

“Detectives from the Fairfax County Police Department spoke with Helem in October of 2021. He confessed to the brutal and cold-hearted murder of Eige Adler.

Sadly, both of Eige’s parents died never knowing what happened to their daughter. We hope this indictment brings some sense of closure to her surviving family members and friends.”

Fairfax County Commonwealth Attorney Steve Descano spoke to WJLA-TV about filing the murder charges in the Adler case. He said:

“Today my heart is with the Adler family. This indictment will not bring her back. And while her parents are not here to experience this day, it is my hope that those who knew and loved her will have some semblance of closure.”

When detectives got the confession from Helem, they then had to work to connect what he told them versus details of the crime. Often times this is done by comparing information given that was intentionally not released at the time of the crime.

In both of these cases, detectives noted that Helem had information that could only have been known to the person who committed the murders and the detectives working the case.

Based upon the confessions and his details matching the cases, agencies filed murder charges on him in both cases.

Detectives in the case have noted that they are researching other unsolved homicides in the area to see if he may be connected to more.   

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Detectives use a little bit of deception to obtain suspect’s DNA and solve a decade-old cold case

Orlando, Florida – cold case involving a rape, robbery, and murder that went without a lead for 17 years finally led to an arrest in 2018.

However, the mother of the suspect arrested is upset that her DNA was used to arrest her son. The mother decided to speak out about the case against her son, and says she was “tricked” out of her DNA that led to his arrest.

Police in Orlando had searched up and down for years trying to find the man that murdered Christine Franke on October 21st, 2001. Franke was found dead, having barely gotten past her apartment door that day.

The victim was shot once in the head, her clothing had been partially removed, and police found semen on her body. On the ground lay her wallet, emptied of its cash.

 

Authorities who responded to the murder scene collected DNA sample, as it was the only lead they had at the time.

When lab officials had it submitted it to the state crime lab and entered into the national criminal database, police didn’t get a single match on the sample collected.

Investigators at the time did everything they could, gathering DNA samples from friends, relatives, co-workers, neighbors, acquaintances and witnesses – still, no match.

Nothing seemed to work in unveiling a possible suspect or motive. Police tried lifting fingerprints from the crime scene, entering a shell casing into a national firearms database, and could not make a break anywhere in the case.

Years went by and the case simply grew colder. The victim’s mother assumed police would never find her daughter’s killer.

Orlando Detective Michael Fields was handed the case back in 2012, but it wasn’t until April of 2018 that something inspired the detective to try something new.

Law enforcement officials based out of California had solved a cold case using crime scene DNA and entering it into an online database called GEDmatch. The database hosts shared profiles purchased from genetic testing companies such as Ancestry.com and 23andMe.

Detective Fields figured he’d try the same thing. The shot in the dark finally started making traction, as the DNA was showed to having familial links to two people on GEDmatch. All that was needed now was to gather more DNA samples and start building out the family tree.

So, the detective allegedly used a ploy (and a completely legal one at that) to get people to part ways with their DNA. This brings us to where Eleanor Holmes is expressing outrage over being tricked into getting her son arrested.

Detectives arrived at the Holmes’ house and told her that were trying to identify someone who’d been found dead many years earlier, according to Holmes.

She stated that the detectives told her they were using DNA and genealogical records to stitch together a family tree that they hoped would identify the unknown victim. So, Holmes parted way with her DNA – and police were able to match the DNA collected at the crime scene all those years earlier to one of her two children.

 

After tracking 39-year-old Benjamin Holmes Jr., the son of Eleanor, detectives located a cigar and beer that he discarded. When they tested the DNA, they had a perfect hit on the sample collected in 2001.

On November 2nd, 2018, police arrested Holmes Jr. and charged him with the murder of Franke.

When Eleanor heard of her son’s arrest, she immediately remembered giving her DNA to detectives, realizing what her sample was really used for:

“When they arrested him, I knew they were lying. They lied to us.”

 

Despite the outrage of the accused murderer’s mother, there is another mother in Florida who can start closing a painful chapter from her past.

Tina Franke, the mother of the then-25-year-old who was viciously murdered stated the following of how police creatively built their case:

“If they can imagine their own daughter being murdered and 17 years have gone by and they still don’t know who did it and they have DNA and no one to attach it to. I think they’d want them to do what it took to find out who did it.”

 

 

 

The fact of the matter is, outraged mother or not, police are allowed to use deception, within limits, as to how they collect evidence. That includes lying to people, whether suspects or not, to obtain evidence in an ongoing investigation.

If honesty were required all the time, there’d be no such thing as undercover police work. 

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