Helen Dymond, age 48 disappeared from Tilden Township, Michigan on June 28, 1981.
Helen and her husband Roy had spent the afternoon at a picnic and ballgame with other family members. Once the picnic ended, they headed to the Tilden Club, a private social gathering place for local residents. Their daughter and son-in-law joined them at the club for awhile, but left after awhile to go out for pizza and then head home. Helen and Roy remained at the club.
There came a time when Roy was ready to leave, and he approached Helen, saying it was time to go. As they were leaving, an acquaintance offered them a ride home, as both Roy and Helen were intoxicated, but they declined. They exited the club together and headed across the parking lot to their car.
According to Roy, an argument had occurred between himself and Helen as they walked to the car, and as a result, he told Helen that she could walk home and drove off without her.
Helen went back into the club angry, using profanities while announcing that her husband had just left without her.
According to fellow club attendees, Helen later left alone and said she was going to walk to her son, Roy Jr’s house, less than a mile away. It should have been an approximately 13 minute walk.
It was not unusual for Helen to go to her son’s house during arguments, although it’s been stated that most of their arguments occurred while one or both of them was intoxicated, and by the following morning, she was always anxious to get home.
She has never been seen again.
There were potential sightings of Helen that night, but none of them were followed up on at the time. This was partly due to the fact that law enforcement assumed she had left voluntarily. Also hindering things, however, was a trivial matter which I believe made a big difference in how this case played out.
In the days immediately following Helen’s disappearance, witnesses reported that Helen left the club just after 2:00am. Others said they had seen Helen walking down the road toward her son’s house, but the timeline was not making sense.
It later turned out that she had left the club much later than 2:00am, but club members had said it was 2:00am, fearing that the club could get into trouble for serving alcohol after 2:00. These witnesses later corrected their statements, but while one person now said it was around 3:00am, another said it was five minutes to four, as the club was locking its doors.
Two witnesses may have seen Helen walking down the road. One claimed he was sure it was her, another said she saw someone but wasn’t able to identify them. Both witnesses were on their way home from the club where Helen had been.
Another man, who was not affiliated with the club, had told people that Helen had been in their living room that night for a short time, and had told him ‘they’ were going to a camp. It is not clear who might be the second person referred to when he used the term ‘they’. It’s possible that this witness said she had stopped there to use the telephone. There was a party going on in the house at the time, and the house would have been on her way to her son’s house.
Very little is known about this potential sighting, it was not taken seriously when relayed to law enforcement. They did not interview him, for they said he was ‘mentally retarded’. They did, however, interview the owner of the house, who claimed to have no knowledge of Helen ever having been there. It would later be learned that the owner was upstairs partying with friends and had the music blasting. He would not have heard a visitor in the living room. The man who reported seeing her was apparently the only one who was downstairs.
The next lead involved a male civilian who dove into a mine pit, following up on a rumor that Helen had been hit by a car and her body dumped there. He contacted law enforcement as well, but instead of following up on the lead, they noted that he was an alcoholic, presumably finding the tip not to be credible.
Yet another witness, an avid outdoorsman very familiar with the area, reported having seen wide tire tracks in a clearing not far from the Tilden Club. He found it odd, as cars never drove in there and he contacted police. The police searched the area, finding a women’s loafer shoe, a hole containing a rolled up mattress, and some deer bones.
Helen’s family did not know about the shoe until years later, by which time the evidence had been discarded, with no opportunity for the shoe to be identified or ruled out as belonging to Helen.
Helen’s purple jacket, a windbreaker, was found and identified as hers by multiple relatives, however, police did not take that seriously either. The jacket was reportedly found off of a roadway in a remote area, and did not appear to have been out in the elements as long as Helen had been missing – therefore, law enforcement did not believe it was hers. It’s worth noting that her family members had recognized the unusual buttons and the fact that the drawstring had been removed, both characteristic of Helen’s jacket. It’s also worth noting that original newspaper reports of Helen’s disappearance had gotten the jacket color wrong. It was initially reported to be maroon. It was just after that error had been corrected and described as a purple jacket, that the jacket itself was found.
It’s been speculated that whomever had the jacket worried that it could be linked to Helen’s disappearance, once the newspaper was reporting a purple jacket, and quickly disposed of it at that point.
There were some other crimes against women in the area during that time. Two weeks after Helen’s disappearance, a woman was assaulted as she entered her home. She was able to fight him off. Four months after Helen’s disappearance, a woman named Barbara Okesson was murdered in her mobile home. (The suspect in this case died in an accident a few months later). It is unknown if either of these cases are connected to Helen’s, or to each other.
Approximately six years after Helen’s disappearance, her daughter received a call from an acquaintance who believed his mother’s boyfriend was responsible for harming Helen, and suggested a location where her body may be found. He said he had signed a sworn affidavit. This lead, as far as I can tell, was not followed up either, again, presumably because the individual who had supplied this information was intoxicated at the time.
The case has long gone cold, and all evidence was discarded years ago, preventing any testing on the jacket or the mysterious shoe. Many people who might have been able to provide information are now deceased. All of Helen’s family members were cleared of any involvement.
It’s worth noting, too, that Helen’s family is not alone in their frustration at trying to navigate the red tape in Michigan.
While it’s unbelievable to me that they would consider a lead non-credible due to alcoholism, mental illness, or simply being under the influence, I admit I’m not surprised.
Michigan also holds the honor of sentencing 15 year old Rose Cole to a violent California cult after she ran away from home. Rose Cole has been missing since 1973, and Michigan officials have not cooperated with her family, in spite of the fact that she was in their custody and therefore they were responsible for her safety.
It would also be Michigan who ordered Ida Dean Richardson-Anderson to a state mental hospital in 1958 to determine if she was fit to have custody of her children. She wrote a letter to family members from the hospital and has never been heard from again. If there are any records that Ida ever left the hospital, Michigan would not reveal this fact to Ida’s son. Ida had no history of mental illness, although she had recently been hospitalized for rheumatic fever and was a single mother.
Helen’s family is doing a great deal to try to find information on her fate, and I do hope that something useful will surface soon. She has to be somewhere.