Name: Chris Helmlinger
Died: September 27, 2009
Age at death: 24
Cause of death: Murder (Shooting)
Location: Berryville, Arkansas, USA
A friend described him as "introspective, with a wry, surprising sense of humor." He was a devoted Christian who took his faith very seriously. Chris worked at a Tyson Foods plant. He often spent time with the co-worker who eventually killed him.
When Chris left for Sunday school but didn't show up at church, his family reported him missing, but police didn't take the missing-persons case very seriously at first–but three weeks later, a neighbor found Chris’s body.
Chris's co-worker had killed him with a single gunshot to the back of the head and buried his body in a shallow grave. Apparently, he intended to steal Chris's identity and possibly the contents of his bank account. When the grave was found, the killer and his wife (wanted as an accessory to the murder) tried to flee, but they were eventually apprehended. Chris’s killer has been sentenced to life in prison; the killer’s wife was given ten years of probation for helping him hide the crime.
Editor’s Note: Some time after posting this memorial, I was contacted by Chris’s uncle and aunt, both of whom informed me that Chris was not autistic and had never been diagnosed with either autism or Asperger’s. Chris was reported to be autistic by the media because a reporter had interviewed a friend of his, who said Chris had Asperger syndrome. Consequently I have added Chris to the “NT/Undiagnosed” group–those who, though they did not have an autism diagnosis, were either labeled autistic somehow or had strong autistic traits. Hate, and even murder, do not limit themselves to targeting only those with autistic traits and diagnostic paperwork.
Murder suspect held without bond following his extradition
Husband And Wife Arrested In Helmlinger Murder
Police say Berryville man killed for identity
Guilty plea to reduced murder charge