Author Topic: Helga Beer - London, ON - Murdered - 1968  (Read 14106 times)

Angela Ellis

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Helga Beer - London, ON - Murdered - 1968
« on: August 28, 2007, 09:16:58 AM »
* 1968 ? Helga Beer, 31, of London, was found in the rear seat of her car in
a parking lot off Carling Street near Dundas Street. She had been beaten,
strangled and sexually assaulted. She was last seen alive leaving a friend's
downtown apartment Aug. 6 with an unknown man.

rkay

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Re: Helga Beer - London, ON - Murdered - 1968
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2011, 11:21:09 AM »
OK, time to do right by poor Helga Beer.

Here's what I've found so far, from the London Free Press August 6th 1968, Evening Edition. The morning paper did not carry this story, as it was only just breaking over the day. The embarrassing part is that the initial picture of the victim is NOT of Helga Beer, as you'll see in the correction from the following day's article.

(The photo of the car in the paper does in fact show the license plate number, but it wasn't until I got home that I realized unfortunately it's not visible in the printout, and I couldn't bring it out in Photoshop. I'll try to get back to the microfiche and record it here for posterity.)



« Last Edit: April 14, 2011, 12:52:54 PM by rkay »

rkay

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Re: Helga Beer - London, ON - Murdered - 1968
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2011, 11:25:28 AM »
Here is the following day's article (August 7, 1968), including the correct photo of Helga and the apology for the mistake.

(Note: in the close-up, I Photoshopped out the microfiche scratches where I could for clarity).

« Last Edit: April 14, 2011, 11:29:32 AM by rkay »

rkay

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Re: Helga Beer - London, ON - Murdered - 1968
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2011, 11:55:09 AM »
Having read more, it's hard not to see some similarities with Jacqueline Dunleavy, and by extension, Frankie Jensen: All three had their bottom items of clothing removed but not their tops. While no mention of tissue in the throat for Helga, as in the other two cases, both Jacqueline and Helga were strangled (as well as beaten about the head and face; Frankie was killed by a blow to the skull), and left to be found in public places, with the rest of their clothing left close at hand. Clearly a car was involved with the abduction of all three, and possibly each assault occurred within a vehicle, though these initial articles don't reveal whether the police concluded that Helga was murdered before the car was parked in the Carling lot or not. The dates for all three are early in the month they occurred (Jan 9, Feb 9, and Aug 6). All three also had darker blonde hair.

Without further information, it's hard to say, but given that the first two only happened 6-7 months prior, it does seem to be worth considering.

London homicide detectives sure had their hands full in 1968.

Thoughts?
« Last Edit: April 14, 2011, 11:59:44 AM by rkay »

sherlockholmes

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Re: Helga Beer - London, ON - Murdered - 1968
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2011, 12:54:09 PM »
While there were some similarities in the details, the three victims could not have been more different. A 31-year-old woman, a 16-year-old girl and a 9-year-old boy. I believe that they would appeal to different types of perpetrators, especially the boy. From that perspective, I can see the first two victims linked, but all three? Also, Helga Beer had her own car. The other two cases were abductions where the perpetrator used his own vehicle. I believe that hers is a case very different from the others.

rkay

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Re: Helga Beer - London, ON - Murdered - 1968
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2011, 02:16:52 PM »
True, they're different in those details, but it depends what type of motives you're looking at here. All three could have been crimes of opportunity, i.e., who was available to the perpetrator at the time. If he decided this was the time that he wanted to assault and kill someone, it may not have been a matter of finding the perfect demographic but who he could get easy access to while the desire to control and  kill was there. For instance, in Frankie's case, the killer may have 'preferred' to have taken a female victim that morning, but the circumstances might not have been right for that, so he abducted the person he could get-- a young boy alone and far behind the rest of the children walking to school on that path that particular time. And the first two murders could have made the killer brazen enough to attack an adult woman. I mean, one could easily also say that both Jacqueline and Helga are more alike-- young blonde women who were assaulted and strangled, and Frankie's case is the one that doesn't fit, except that the evidence suggests that his does.

The BTK killer, for instance, couldn't have been more methodical and structured in the way that he planned, stalked and killed, but his victims on paper couldn't have been more varied. There was everyone from a 9-year-old boy to a 62-year-old woman, as well as others in-between. Some of the murders were different enough that the police had no idea they were his until he confessed.

Assuming we agree that, at the very least, Jacqueline and Frankie shared the same perpetrator, one can see how those two might logically appear to be two different kinds of targets-- but not if the desire is simply to dominate and murder a vulnerable person, which may also be the case with Helga. Obviously, I don't have access to whatever evidence the police have, but I certainly think a connection is worth discussing, even just based on the time period between them alone.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2011, 02:44:13 PM by rkay »

jeb

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Re: Helga Beer - London, ON - Murdered - 1968
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2011, 05:47:08 PM »
Hi rKay:  May I suggest the next case you research be Jacqueline English's.  Most of the cases in London from the 60's and 70's go something like this.  Child missing, body found.  And that's pretty much it.  As far as suspects go, it's just about anyone on the planet.  I have researched Jackie's case extensively and it is far, far more complex.  Because of this complexity the number of suspects is greatly diminished; at least in my opinion.  Like most relatives of victim's, I don't want to be 85% sure or 98% sure, I want to know "who" did it.  If you research Jackie's case thoroughly (through the newspaper) you should be able to come up with a handful of suspects or less.  And then if you can connect Jackie's case to other cases, what a bonus.  Jackie's case is a great starting place.             

Have faith

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Re: Helga Beer - London, ON - Murdered - 1968
« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2011, 08:14:44 PM »
Hi rkay: Thank you for all the new postings on the London threads.

I've never considered Helga's case to be connected to the others you mention, mainly due to the killer escorting her to her girlfriend's apartment and then leaving with her.  There was no abduction, no stranger's car, no out of town body disposal, no effort to avoid detection or witnesses and no mention by LE that tissue etc. was used to gag her.  I'm not even prepared to agree 100% that  F. Jensen and J. Dunleavy are connected. Apparantly LE consider F. Jensen, J. Dunleavy and D. Awcott as being connected to the same killer, based on the use of a gag shoved down their throats. There must be more info being withheld, because I've read that this kind of gagging to muffle screams is a common tactic.

jeb: I wonder if "redbeard" would be willing to do a profile on Jackie's killer. Unfortunately there is such little info on her thread.  What do you think about LE naming the "Porn Man" as the likely killer of Jacqueline English, Soraya O'Connell and Priscilla Merle? (see P. Merle thread, reply #9)  I note that you are a family member of Jackie: my condolences to you and your family.

Have faith


rkay

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Re: Helga Beer - London, ON - Murdered - 1968
« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2011, 12:20:18 AM »
Hey, Have faith, thanks for the thoughts. No harm in questioning the hypothesis.

You've hit upon the problem, really, which is that we only have the facts as they've been presented by the police to the London Free Press reporters, so we can't evaluate the specifics of the crime scenes or forensic details and such. All we can really do is conjecture.

I agree that the details we are aware of don't necessarily line up completely as the same M.O. for any of the cases mentioned, though I think even what we do know shows close correlation in some of the specifics. I don't see why the exact same pattern has to be followed all the time for the same perpetrator to be responsible for two or more of the cases mentioned.

For instance, the place where Frankie disappeared from is only about a mile from where Jacqueline's body was left, exactly one month earlier. Two school-age children from about the same area (Frankie's home was just over the river from Byron where Jacqueline lived; I'd even consider it walking distance) are abducted, assaulted and murdered within that short a time-span, both found with wads of tissue in their throats, and I'd say it's more reasonable to believe there is one perpetrator responsible rather than two unrelated ones. In both cases they were still wearing their upper body clothing, which indicates to me that both were assaulted and disposed of relatively quickly (borne out by Jacqueline's body discovered only 90 minutes after she was last seen, and the autopsy info about Frankie that he'd likely been in the river the entire time since his disappearance).

The difference being that when Frankie was killed, rather than leaving the body on the front lawn of a school near the city's most prestigious private club, as Jacqueline was, his body was taken out of town and put into the river. If it's the same killer, I don't think it's unreasonable to assume that he learned that might be a better way to hide or eradicate evidence, since he couldn't be sure he might not have left something at the first crime scene a month prior that would get him caught. So yeah, I can see it not being a 100% certainty that Frankie and Jacqueline were taken by the same person, but it seems very likely, even not knowing everything the police do.

As far as Helga goes, perhaps you have more info than I currently do-- and I'm willing to look for more-- but isn't that an assumption when you refer to 'the killer escorting her to her girlfriend's apartment and then leaving with her', because all I found in the article was that she and "a companion visited with friends" at said friends' apartment on King St. If it was that simple, wouldn't the companion as seen by the friends have either been arrested, questioned or cleared, since one would think the friends could provide any sort of description, if not identification, for this person in their home the night before? There's got to be more to it than that, otherwise this case wouldn't be still unsolved (and maybe I just haven't found it yet). Also, like I theorized earlier, in some ways I think there's more to link Helga with Jackie than Frankie's case on the surface. Besides the obvious (being young blonde women who were both sexually assaulted and strangled), in both cases the killer left their bodies in public places to be discovered easily, unlike Frankie.

Still, just an idea to connect Helga to the other two, and worth talking about some more. I'd love to know how much work has been done with any DNA left at any of these crime scenes. That would certainly answer some of these questions quickly... certainly, looking at these cases in isolation hasn't yielded much for the police.

Jeb, I've pulled a couple of articles about Jackie, so far,  though I haven't really gone into depth at all on her case yet. I'll post what (little) I currently have, then see what else I can find.

« Last Edit: April 15, 2011, 12:26:03 AM by rkay »

rkay

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Re: Helga Beer - London, ON - Murdered - 1968
« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2011, 01:25:19 PM »
I thought about that as a possibility, too! My adolescent stepson has long blond hair and has been mistaken as a girl several times (he takes it in stride, and two Hallowe'ens ago, actually went out trick-or-treating as a girl for a laugh). Certainly with full winter clothing it might be difficult to tell. And it also may be, if that was the case, perhaps it could go towards explaining why the killer disposed of him differently.

sherlockholmes

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Re: Helga Beer - London, ON - Murdered - 1968
« Reply #10 on: April 15, 2011, 01:51:19 PM »
From what I read here, Frankie was sexually assaulted. If he was taken by mistake, because the perpetrator expected to rape a girl, I doubt that he would have followed through with the assault after finding a "surprise". Bisexually oriented sexual predators are fairly rare. However, there is another, even more disturbing possibility, in that a person would abduct victims for the benefit of somebody else and later kill and dispose the body of the victim after the other person is done with his deed.

Have faith

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Re: Helga Beer - London, ON - Murdered - 1968
« Reply #11 on: April 15, 2011, 03:55:37 PM »
Just to get back to Helga Beer for a moment, I found the only info available, until these recent articles, on this forum.  Desespere had posted a few times that Helga had last been seen alive leaving a friend's downtown apartment with an "unknown man".

I suspect that Helga and her girlfriend were at a bar where they met this man and he accompanied them (and others?) back to the girl friend's apt., where he eventually left with Helga.  It is possible LE were able to find him and clear him, (pre-DNA testing) and that would account for the lack of a composite picture being posted in the local newspaper.  But I would imagine that the odds are this unknown man who was with her mere hours before, is the killer, and was never identified. Wouldn't LE advise the public that he had been found and cleared?

Also, the fact that the girlfriend left her apt. the next day with a suitcase, and Helga's co-worker at Simpson's wig boutique was provided with an undercover escort  (re my post on Project Angel thread) could suggest that LE was concerned about their safety.  Normally, wouldn't LE put a tail on the suspect if they knew who/where he was?

You may be interested in a little background.  Helga and her co-worker (I forget her name) were the only two employees of the wig boutique, and worked side by side. It was like a kiost right out in the middle of the floor at Simpson's. They both dressed in almost semi-formal dresses and wore fancy high heels and dramatic makeup. They always wore the hair pieces they sold, woven into their own hair in formal styles.  I would assume this rather over-the-top look was requested by their supervisor. They were both nice ladies and I served them while working at the Simpson snack counter while in high school.

Isn't it time for LE to release some info on these decades-old cold cases?  Which cases are definitely linked by DNA, which cases are considered solved (perp died, or was incarcerated) etc.?  Surely, they could help fine-tune the info on some cases that are destined to remain "cold" due to withheld info. Just my opinion.

sherlockholmes

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Re: Helga Beer - London, ON - Murdered - 1968
« Reply #12 on: April 15, 2011, 04:33:07 PM »
You are absolutely right, Have Faith, after more than 40 years it is time to release more details if this case, and so many others, are to be solved!

chickapey

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Have faith

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« Last Edit: May 22, 2013, 09:41:41 AM by Have faith »