Joe Helt and Joey Martin

Before I state my case, I would like to acknowledge those who work tirelessly to help find the missing. Unfortunately, the “missing” are too many times actually “unsolved homicides” needing Heroes to end the suffering of those left behind. The heroes in these cases are as follows:

Beth Churchill – Joe Helt’s Aunt. Joe’s parents have passed and Beth has taken up the fight to know where her nephew is and give him justice.

Gina, Jackie and Anthony – Joe Helt’s former high school classmates who support and fight with Beth to find the truth. They have organized events and fundraising to keep Joe’s case alive.

Cathleen Lance, Patrica Atkins and Emily Martin (Mother, Aunt, and Sister of Joey Martin) – their never-ending love and determination kept Joey’s case alive.

NYSP Investigators Bien and Cirigliano – for their fortitude and ability to keep moving thereby keeping Joey Martin’s case alive.

Susan Murphy Milano – if you are reading this blog, there is so much to know about this particular hero. Susan has dedicated her life to the victims of Intimate Partner Abuse and Homicide.

Here is a link to Susan’s blog about Joe.

Most Importantly: To the person who is not yet known – you may be unknown today, however you are wanting to do what is right and help stop the suffering for all those who love and care about Joe Helt.

As someone close to the investigation, I firmly believe the Joe Helt’s case is solvable. What needs to happen, what is essential to successfully solving this case is to start over. However this time with the help of all the analytical tools, skilled analysts and investigators used in today’s modern investigations.

How is this done? First, examining every piece of information that dates back to when Joe disappeared. By that I mean at the time the investigation began. All original documents, notes phone records, time lines, any data from the drug pipeline to and from NYC. Any and all information from that time needs to be brought forth and systematically analyzed.

For now, I’ll focus on original “pure version statements” taken by law enforcement from the last known persons who saw Joe Helt alive. As with any investigation, those who last see the missing person alive and who they were supposed to meet are crucial. Utilizing a process called Statement Analysis is a great first step to detect deception. The beauty of it is they already made the statements back when it happened, and can now be re-interviewed years later. For a detective or investigator this can prove to be a treasure trove.

In comparison to Joe Helt’s case, one only needs to look in Ellenville’s backyard, the 1996 Joey Martin case in Kerhonkson. In an almost too similar sense, Joey Martin left his house to meet up with his two friends Daniel Malak and Alex Barksky to watch the Hale Bop comet at an isolated makeshift fort in the woods. He asked his older brother Billy if he wanted to join them, his brother declined (thus giving us a last known time Joey was alive via a reliable source). Joey never returned home and his two friends told police he never showed up to the fort.

There is no blame to dole out as to NYSP’s efforts and willingness to solve this case. After chasing down numerous leads all over the country and using all resources available for over 11 years, this New York State Police investigation went cold. Until rookie, New York State Police Investigator Peter Cirigliano took up the investigation sometime in November 2007.  Investigator Cirigliano went back to the beginning. In addition to his traditional investigative tasks, using a fresh set of eyes he simply looked at the original statements made by Daniel and Alex. He reread the statements over and over and then two sentences stood out:  “I went home and I immediately went to bed”. The word “immediately” was the tell tale sign of deception. When people recall a series of events, they say “I came home and went to bed.” The second sentence included “…we were all on foot.” Here the word “all” indicates deception. A truthful statement would have been “we were on foot” or “me and Alex” were on foot. The word “all” meaning more then two people.

Investigator Cirigliano was able to infer that deception was present and called Alex in for an interview. Note: Daniel was incarcerated at the time for murdering a 62year old man because he tried to stop him from stealing his car. During the interview it was suggested that Alex take a polygraph test to clear himself. When the polygraph came back deceptive, Inv. Cirigliano went into interrogation mode, and 13 hours later had a confession. Upon persuasion that he be the one to step up and take the best deal he could, Alex was willing to guide Inv. Cirigliano to where the remains were stashed. This case become even crueler for the family as the remains had been taken by Alex, brought down to Brooklyn, NY and spread throughout the borough. However, after recovering tiny bone and teeth fragments, DNA was able to be obtained and came back a match to Joey Martin.

If not for Investigator Cirigliano’s ability to use his analytical skills and think outside the “preverbal” box, this case may have never been solved.

Today, in many parts of the country statement analysis, along with several types of analysis, is done by crime and investigative analysts who assist investigators and detectives.

Perhaps if statement analysis as well as other analytical tools were to be employed in Joe Helt’s case, his family and friends may one day understand what happened to him and put him to rest.

It would behoove me to not acknowledge the “cover up” concerns. As of this writing, the family’s FOIL requests for the NYSP records remain DENIED. The innuendos and speculation are piling up and grow out of a lack of transparency. This case is over 24 years old and according to the NYSP is an “active” case. When a theory proves true it can not then still be called a conspiracy.

So what was the motive in Joey Martin’s murder? Revenge…Joey allegedly stole a stash of marijuana from Alex. In turn, Alex and Daniel planned for two days how they were going to lure Joey to the fort and beat him to death.

Sound familiar? One of the many theories surrounding Joe Helt’s disappearance is simply a drug deal gone bad. Whether Diaz, LaForge, or Marks actually killed Joe Helt remains to be seen. However, one must ask “If they are not involved, why would they not talk willingly and openly to anyone who is trying to help?” If they didn’t kill Joe are they in fear of those who actually did?” Have they themselves been living in the same town with the killer(s), constantly seeing them as a reminder not to talk?  If they are in fear, then why not negotiate protection and/or relocation? I suppose one would counter they do not know their legal options. However, if one or all are God fearing people, they had better hurry up because this case is heating up. If for nothing else do the right thing and help bring Joe home. Maybe they are afraid if the killer(s) are still living in the area, they themselves could find their fate similar to Joe’s.

Written by:  Kim Anklin  V.P. Management Resources Ltd of NY


President/CEO and Director of Investigations for Management Resources Ltd of New York

Posted in Cold Cases
One comment on “Joe Helt and Joey Martin
  1. nancy says:

    We have come to know that the night Joey disappeared he was murdered at their “fort” in the woods. I have to question is the Ellenville BCI truly went to the site. For if they had and would have called in forensics I think there would have been a plethora of evidence. I think the Ellenville NYSP at times “jumps to conclusions”, i.e. he ran away, his stepfather had something to do with it, in actuality that site must have been filled with evidence and was simply overlooked by the NYSP who had their mind made up that it was anything but a murder. I give thanks to Inv. Cirigliano who had the fortitue to think outside the box and read between the lines.

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Members of the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
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investigating innocence, management resources, bill clutter, bob rahn, kim anklin
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