Helen Van Beek, age 46, went missing sometime between March and May of 1998.
She was last seen in Daytona Beach Florida, where she lived with her boyfriend. Her daughter had come to visit from Houston, TX, during Daytona Beach’s Bike Week. Helen was a regular at Bike Week and Biketoberfest events, and frequented biker bars in Daytona Beach.
She worked as a day laborer in construction at the time, and she had reportedly stated that she was upset with her boyfriend and planned to leave him and move to North Carolina.
During the time that her daughter was there visiting, they went shopping and went to biker bars. Her daughter stated that she had a strange feeling that she would never see her mother again, although I’m not sure if that was just a strange, unexplained feeling, or if it was due to her behavior or something that she said.
Bike Week, and her daughter’s visit, occurred in mid-March of 1998, and that is when she was last confirmed to be in Daytona Beach.
In May of 1998, Helen’s boyfriend called her daughter and told her that Helen had packed up all her belongings, and left with someone in a white truck. Her daughter never heard from her again.
Helen had filed for an order of protection against her boyfriend in 1997, but the request was denied because Helen did not appear at the hearing
On March 9, 1998, her boyfriend was charged with battery it is not known whether this charge had any connection to Helen or to her disappearance The charges appear to have been dropped
Obviously, something is not adding up here, but for the moment, let’s just assume she actually did leave voluntarily with an individual in a white truck.
Firstly, based on the fact that Helen’s boyfriend is the one who said she left in a white truck, it would seem to suggest that he was at home when this occurred. It sounds like a rushed, five minute thing, but if you stop to think for a minute, imagine packing up all your belongings and loading them all into a truck – it would take at least a full day, not to mention you would need to get boxes, tape, etc. It’s hard to picture her just packing up everything and leaving, with no mention of where she was going or who she was going with.
Secondly, the white truck didn’t just appear. If she was leaving with someone in a white truck, she would have needed to contact someone with a white truck to arrange for them to pick her up. Has anyone checked the phone records for the day or two preceding when she supposedly left, to see if she had called anyone? I realize it would be a couple of phone bills to go through, because it isn’t confirmed exactly when she left, but still, she would have had to be in contact with this person.
Thirdly, if she did leave of her own volition, which she had apparently stated in the past that she planned to do, why would her boyfriend feel the need to call Helen’s daughter to tell her Helen had left with someone else? Wouldn’t he have assumed that Helen would let her daughter know herself?
Lastly, remember, in 1998 cell phones were just gaining popularity, and were not as advanced as they are today. We didn’t automatically store phone numbers in our phones so we wouldn’t have to write them down or remember them. We had address books, or we memorized the numbers of our family members. If she took everything with her when she went, did she not take her address book, or did he also know her daughter’s number because he called her frequently? It’s possible that he got the number from a phone bill too, but it just seems unusual that she would not take important numbers with her.
There is some confusion as to when she went missing, exactly. It has been stated that she worked as a day laborer in construction – there are actually agencies for that. I wonder if she worked for one of those agencies, and if they could confirm when she last worked, and with whom. That would likely narrow down the date of her disappearance, and possibly give a clue of her state of mind on the last day she worked. I’d also be curious to know if there was a white truck involved with her job in the days leading up to her going missing.
I hope Helen will be found soon, and I hope law enforcement will be able to get access to her phone records and work records to maybe fill in some of the blanks of her disappearance.