A local community has new hope 25 years after a local teen vanished. Family members say a woman has come forward claiming that there may be more to this missing persons case. YNN’s Alexandra Weishaupt has more on the new claims.
ELLENVILLE, N.Y. --A new claim from an old friend is shedding light on the missing person’s case of Joseph Helt, a teen who disappeared on a mountain near Ellenville on a cold January night in 1987.
“She was a classmate of Joe’s and she has stated that there was a conversation between her and one of the other people that were with Joe that night,” said Beth Churchill, Joe’s aunt.
According to the woman, two of those people confessed to her shortly after Joe’s disappearance that he was murdered in a fight over marijuana. It’s a shocking claim to Joe’s aunt.
“I never heard it. She said that she reported it to a school official back then and being that she was a kid herself, she thought that she did the right thing and you know, she’s standing by what she said,” said Churchill.
And for friends of Joe’s, it’s a lead long overdue.
“It took long enough. How can these people live with themselves all these years, if that is the case? What kind of heart do they have,” asked Armando Rodriguez, Arod’s Barber Shop owner.
And as many questions remain unanswered, there’s one thing that Joe’s aunt says she does know
“I know he’s not coming home. Whether it was an accident or something else I don’t know, but he’s not here,” said Churchill.
She says not placing blame on anyone, but isn’t ruling out the claim.
“I’m not doubting her words,” said Churchill.
Police aren’t ruling out the claim either, although they aren’t commenting on any leads as it remains an open, active investigation.
“Any information that comes either to the state police or this agency, that information, or any leads that may develop as a result of that are investigated to its fullest, they are exhausted until we can find no more avenues to explore,” said Chief Phil Mattraciom of the Ellenville Police Department.
And together the community remains hopeful that the case can be resolved and they'll get closure they’ve been waiting for for 25 years.
“If there is anybody else with information maybe they’ll come forward also now that they’ve heard that she has,” said Churchill.
“Hopefully we can finally put this to rest so that everything can be at rest,” said Rodriguez.
Officials urge anyone with information regarding this case to contact New York State Police.