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  1. #1
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    LA - Raylene Susan Helsley, 12, Ruston, 5 Jan 1983

    http://www.doenetwork.org/cases/209dfla.html

    Raylene Susan Helsley

    Missing since January 5, 1983 from Marion, Union Parish, Louisiana.
    Classification: Nonfamily Abduction




    Vital Statistics
    • Date Of Birth: October 19, 1970
    • Age at Time of Disappearance: 12 years old
    • Height and Weight at Time of Disappearance: 4'11; 90 pounds
    • Distinguishing Characteristics: White female. Blonde / auburn curly hair; blue eyes.
    • Birthmarks, Scars: She has a pale, strawberry birthmark on the back of her neck near the hairline and a blue pencil mark scar on the top of her nose and upper lip.
    • Clothing: Raylene was last seen wearing Levi jeans; a long-sleeved button-down shirt with purple flowers; and boots.


    Circumstances of Disappearance
    Helsley and her sister were living with their father. Helsley's sister told authorities that their father had severely abused Helsley during the morning hours of January 5, 1983. When her sister returned from school, Raylene was nowhere to be found.
    Helsley's father maintains that he never beat her and only left Helsley alone in their residence for approximately one hour during the day; when he came home, she had vanished.

    Last edited by SheWhoMustNotBeNamed; 05-05-2010 at 11:50 PM. Reason: updated doe network link

  2. #2
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    Why weren't child abuse charges brought against the father if the sister was claiming he beat Raylene?

  3. #3
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    It was a matter of he said/she said from what I can tell. Other people in the family may have refuted the girls' claims, and since there was no physical evidence maybe the police did not think they could pursue it. This has always hit close to home because Raylene disappeared just up the road from where I live. I wonder if her father had an alibi for the day Raylene disappeared.

  4. #4
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    Has anyone spoken to her sister since? I wonder if she would still claim he hit Raylene. Surely a woman now, the police might pay attention to her and take another look at this so called father.

  5. #5
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    Even if they do believe her, they'll still have to prove the father abused Raylene, AND that he was involved in her disappearance. Cops really can't assume anything -- like if a person goes missing and there's blood all over their living room, they still have to test to see who the blood belongs to.

  6. #6
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    My first post. I know the father of Raylene.

    HI! I live in Louisiana and had the misfortune of knowing the father, Raymond Helsley, and testifying against him in a court case just a few years ago in Donaldsonville, Louisiana. It wasn't until after he was arrested for pulling a gun on a tenant of an apartment complex that we both worked for that I discovered the story about Raylene Helsley and contacted the Marion Parish Sheriff to see if the Raymond Helsley I knew was the same Raymond Helsley that was suspected of murdering his daughter. I was, and still am, mortified that I had any dealings with him at all. I had a number of phone calls with Detectives after I called them and they're sure that Raymond murdered her, too, but without a body, they have no concrete evidence to go on.

    I spent many hours talking to Raymond about his life before I knew him and not once did he ever mention that he had a daughter missing. I can vividly recall asking him how many children/grandchildren he had, and where they were all living. Again, not once did he mention having a daughter named Raylene, or that she was missing. He told me all about his ex wives, his other children and all the jobs that he has held in his lifetime. I'm a name freak, and I would have remembered hearing him mention the name Raylene since it's so close to his own name. I would have felt it was strange to have a girl in this day and age named after her father. I worked with him and dealt with him on a daily basis for about two years and feel that I know a lot about this man. In my heart, I'm positive that he killed Raylene. He always told me that he had two daughters that he raised by himself. He made it seem as if Raylene and her sister both grew up and moved on with their lives. As a mother of two grown children and a teenager, if one of my children had been missing since 1983, I'd never waste an opportunity to talk about my child in the hope that someone would be able to help find him/her.


    I asked him why his children never called him or visited him and he told me that they didn't get along too well with each other. He told me that they'd never come to visit him because they couldn't abide by his rules. I said something to him about them being grown up by now, and he said that it didn't matter, he was still the boss and they were going to do as he said. He would always brag about how they were so afraid of him that they'd do anything he said. I would not put it past him to have sexually abused them, too.

    Raymond had a tendency to brag about what a badass he was, and how he was always pulling guns on people when he managed a trailer park/apartment complex in Baton Rouge. He loved to brag about how people were afraid of him and how smart he was. He also told me once that if you ever wanted to dispose of a body, all you need is a 50 gallon drum, acid and lime. At the time, I chalked it up to him being a braggart, but now looking back on it, it's highly likely that he disposed of Raylene in that fashion. Raymond had an interest in guns and even sold one to my husband. We later turned it over to the Ascension Parish Sheriffs Department in Gonzales, LA. He was a convicted felon at the time and was charged and convicted on that as well as a few other charges.


    When I met Raymond Helsley, he had been burned on his stomach, chest, arms and lower extremities and walked with a limp. I asked him how it happened and he told me a sob story about how he was eating a sandwich in his truck on the levee in Baton Rouge on Christmas Eve and some black man came up to rob him, threw gasoline on him and set him on fire. I had never heard that story on the news, and was quite sure it would have been a big story around her since I live just outside of Baton Rouge, so I became suspicious at that time. When I finally called Marion Parish, I asked the detective about that when I called him and he told me that Raymond got those burns while trying to make a bomb!

    Anyway, moving up to a couple of years ago..Raymond was a handyman at a place where my husband and I were live in managers so I was in contact with him many times each day. He came in and out of my home and even had a key to get into our house since it was also the office for the business. As I was able to observe him, I can tell you that he has the personality of someone that could kill without a conscience. He was always trying to skirt around the rules and felt accomplished when he 'got away' with something. He had a temper but he was fairly able to keep it under control. I did see him explode on occasion though. He yelled at me once or twice and we had words about it, but overall, things were good until I found out about Raylene.

    After he pulled the gun on our tenant, he was arrested for a felon being in possession of a firearm, being in possession of bomb making materials, and assault with a deadly weapon. He was found guilty and sentenced to prison. Last I heard, he had been released and was living in Baton Rouge. He had made threats to me and my family, so I've tried to keep abreast of where he's located. I know he's somewhere near, but unsure about his exact location. I also heard that he is now in a wheelchair, but I also know that he was using his 'bad health' as a reason to be released from prison early, so it's highly possible that he's no longer in a chair.

    I just hope that whatever happened to Raylene and whereever she is, that she's at peace. I hope Raymond suffers every single day of his life. I know he's not though. He never cared about her or any of his other children.

    Last edited by Rainbo; 11-29-2006 at 03:05 AM. Reason: My fonts are too small on half of the message.

  7. #7
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    Wow Rainbo, thanks for the info. What happened to the girls mother? Did you tell the detectives Raymond's boasting about how to dispose of a body?

  8. #8
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    I have no idea what happened to their mother. I remember asking Raymond why he raised the girls alone, but I can't recall what his answer was. I've often thought about that, and tried to remember, but I just can't recall.

    I told the detectives every thing that I could remember at the time. They were very concerned and were as frustrated as I was about her disappearance. They told me on more than one occasion that they are sure that he was responsible for her death, but they don't have enough to arrest him on it. Apparently this happened in a very small town, and it's still something that people remember and talk about quite often.

    I also meant to add earlier that his name is Raymond Helsley Jr.

  9. #9
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    Another thing I just remembered..when I spoke with the detectives, I'm almost certain that they told me that Raymond was prosecuted for and convicted of cruelty of a juvenile in relation to this case. He actually served time for it, but that's all they were able to charge him with at that time.

  10. #10
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    Apparently he was convicted of child abuse for beating Raylene and served (or was sentenced to, at least) 10 years. They have information on where they think her body was buried, but it's never been found.

    Period newspaper articles:
    Jury selection was to begin June 5 in the trial of Raymond Helsley, accused of beating his thirteen year old daughter so hard that he broke a wrench and a piece of plastic pipe. Helsley, 37, has pleaded innocent by reason of insanity to a charge of child abuse against his daughter, Raylene, missing since January.
    Helsley told deputies January 6 that the girl had run away from home. He was arrested the next day, after his 8-year old daughter, Candy, told Marion police she had seen him hit her sister with the pipe and wrench, breaking both. Prosecutors are expected to call the child as a witness. --June 6, 1983

    Raymond Helsley, convicted of beating his 12-year old daughter [sic], was sentenced Tuesday to the maximum sentence-- 10 years at hard labor-- and ordered immediately to jail. Judge Joe Bleich of Ruston said polygraph tests indicated that Helsley had actually killed the girl, whom he reported missing on January 6, and had buried her body about 1.5 miles from the trailer where he lived in Marion.
    "The results of at least four trained operators indicated the defendant knows where Raylene Helsey [sic] is located, that the defendant took her life, and that the body was disposed of on the Wednesday night prior to the date the defendant reported Raylene missing, and that the body is approximately 1 1/2 miles from the trailer," Bleich said in a sentencing report filed with the court. --August 3, 1983


  11. #11
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    Wow SadieJane!!!! Thank you so much for that article. It settles a couple of things in my mind. I always wondered what Raylene's sister was named and whether she ever testified or not. I wonder where she is today? For the record, Raymond Helsley never mentioned Raylene or Candy by name. He only bragged that he raised his two daughters by himself.

    It's also comforting to know that Raymond was given a polygraph and failed it. Knowing him like I do, I'm positive he was convinced he could fool the examiners and the test. He's such an arrogant man.

    If you can find any more articles or stories about this case, please pass them along to me. My thoughts are consumed with this poor child that I never met. I wish they could find her body and move her to a proper resting place.

  12. #12
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    No problem, Rainbo. This case has bothered me for a long time and it is a small bit of comfort to know that what Raymond did to Raylene was recognized and he was (inadequately) punished. I don't know the extent of their search, but if they knew the general area where she was buried, I'm surprised they never found her. If they offered him some kind of deal, maybe he would have led them to her. I hope his younger daughter has not been too tortured by what she experienced and witnessed as a child. She did a heroic thing by testifying against him.

    The only other article I could find on Raylene-- not much new info though.

    Authorities scanned the banks of the Ouachita River Thursday, following a tip that the body of 12-year old Raylene Helsley had been thrown off a bridge near Sterlington. The girl has been missing since January.
    Her father, Raymond Helsley of Marion, is under a 10-year sentence for cruelty to a juvenile, convicted at least in part by the testimony of a younger daughter. The younger daughter testified that she saw her father beat Raylene, once breaking a piece of pipe he was hammering her with. --August 12, 1983

  13. #13
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    I doubt he'd have come clean with any type of deal. He's the type of person to never admit guilt about anything. He always has to be right no matter what. I'm sure you've seen someone like him before. He would argue over the smallest things until you just gave up and let him win. It was always his way, or no way. He always knew best. He always had a better plan.

    Not that it matters, but you have to wonder what it was that caused him to become so angered that he'd beat her like he did. There was nothing she could have done to cause or prevent it, but I've often wondered what it was that set him off that day. I wonder if this was a normal occurance or something that just happened that day. With him beating her to death, you have to assume that it was a normal occurance for those poor girls.

    I really wish I knew what became of his other daughter. Who ended up raising her and how she fared. She was very brave to have testified against him and I hope she was able to move on past those horrible memories.

    I really hope there is a conclusion to this story one day.

  14. #14
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    Welcome to websleuths, Rainbo.

  15. #15
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    Thank you for the welcome, Laini.

    Another thing I've been wondering about is where is their mother? If he abused his daughters, it's highly likely that he abused their mother, too. Did she leave him or did she just disappear one day? These types of questions go through my mind over and over again, especially at night when I try to go to sleep. It really bothers me. I suppose it's because of his extreme arrogance and because I KNOW he murdered her and he has gotten away with it all these years. She was senselessly murdered and to him, her life meant nothing. It's just heartbreaking.

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