A man sentenced to life in prison after strangling a single mother has been linked to two cold-case killings, including of a Massachusetts woman, according to police.
Charles Helem, 52, is serving life in prison at a supermax state prison for the 2002 murder of Patricia Bentley, a 37-year-old single mother from Chantilly, Virginia. He strangled Bentley with a phone cord and his hands, according to officials.
This week, Helem was indicted for murder by a Fairfax County grand jury in the 1987 murder of another woman and is also suspected of killing a third woman in Prince George's County in 2002.
Authorities in Prince George's obtained an arrest warrant for Helem in connection with the unsolved 2002 murder of 19-year-old Jennifer Landry, of Randolph, Massachusetts, whom he killed in Mount Rainier, PGP police said.
PGPD detectives traveled to a Massachusetts prison where Helem had been transferred, and he verbally confessed to Landry’s murder during that interview and provided information only the suspect would know, police said.
He told investigators he picked up Landry in Washington, DC, while he was soliciting sex for money and they drove together to Oak Lane in Mount Rainier, Maryland, where he murdered her. Helem then left her body in a wooded area on the 3600 block of Oak Lane in the city of Mount Rainier on Aug. 15, 2002, suffering trauma to her neck.
An autopsy found she died of asphyxia and cutting wounds to the neck. At the time, detectives sought the community’s assistance in identifying the victim. She remained unidentified until July 2005 when she was positively identified through a fingerprint match.
In 2010, Helem sent a letter to Mount Rainier police claiming to have knowledge about Landry’s unsolved murder. PGPD detectives attempted to speak to him in prison at the time, but he refused an interview.
In 2017, Helem sent another letter, but he again refused an interview. PGPD Cold Case Unit detectives attempted to interview him again in September 2021. He agreed and, while giving detectives information about Landry's murder, divulged details in an unsolved Fairfax County, VA case.
PGPD contacted Fairfax County Police and, on Tuesday, Helem was indicted in Fairfax County for a 1987 murder of Eige Sober-Adler in Herndon, Virginia, police said.
If anyone has information about Helem, they are asked to please call detectives at 301-516-2512. Callers wishing to remain anonymous may call Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477), or go online at www.pgcrimesolvers.com, or use the “P3 Tips” mobile app (search “P3 Tips” in the Apple Store or Google Play to download the app onto your mobile device.) Please reference case number 21-0059659.
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