A mom from Cortland, New York, fought to find her missing 25-year-old daughter, even after police closed the case. Her instinct told her that her daughter’s life was in danger.
In August, Angela Helms went to see her daughter, Mary Bartholomew, to give her an outfit she bought her. Syracuse.com reported that Bartholomew expressed excitement over the new clothes.
According to Helms, she said:
“Oh great, now I’ll have something to wear tonight.”
Bartholomew explained to her mom that she was going out on a date that night with 23-year-old Jon Turner, a man she met on Facebook through a mutual friend. They had met in person at a party the week prior and hit it off.
But Helms never got to hear how her daughter’s date went because she never returned from the date. Helms filed a missing persons report with the Cortland police, and after some investigating, they found surveillance footage of Bartholomew and Turner leaving a Walmart in California.
They decided to close the case.
But Helms felt that something was off about the situation.
Bartholomew was a mother to four children, ages 6, 4, 3, and 1, and she knew that her daughter would not abandon her kids.
So Helms took up the search efforts herself, printing flyers and handing them out in parking lots, and getting in touch with advocates for missing women who helped start the group “Let’s Find Mary Bartholomew” (now called “Justice for Mary Bartholomew“).
Two months into the search, Helms began to lose hope that she would get her daughter back. There were few leads, and she had multiple conversations with other mothers of missing women, whose stories sadly ended in tragedy.
Helms told WJLA:
“I really believed that she was dead; she would never leave her kids.”
But in November, she got a message from a grandparent of one of Bartholomew’s children: Bartholomew was alive and on the phone.
Helms spoke to her daughter that night, who told her that Turner held her at gunpoint and ordered her to drive across the country in her car. If she did not comply with what Turner asked of her, he would come after her kids.
Helms told WJLA:
“She would cry that she missed her kids and she missed her family, and he’s like, ‘If you miss them so much, I’ll make sure that you all get buried together, don’t worry.'”
Turner did take Bartholomew to California, but they abandoned her car in Big Bear, California, and he forced her to walk 200 miles with him to Nevada. He hardly ever let her out of his sight, so she did not have an opportunity to escape, although she did make a few attempts when they were in Las Vegas.
According to the Nye County Sheriff’s Office, during a fight, Turner assaulted Bartholomew, hitting her and choking her until she became unconscious, and he left her on the street. A concerned citizen saw what happened and called the police to report it. After regaining consciousness, Turner took her to the motel where they were staying in Beatty, Nevada, located north of Las Vegas. There, he handcuffed her to a chair and continued to beat her and choke her, even hitting her with a hatchet.
According to the Nye County Sheriff’s Office, Bartholomew found a way to escape the motel room and ask for help. Turner was not in the room with her but was found by police not far from the motel. Bartholomew had bruises on her face and injuries from when he hit her with the hatchet.
After her rescue, Helms told her mother over the phone:
“She just started crying and she was like, ‘Mom, it’s not good.’ Her face is all black and blue, she’s covered in bruises and then you can see the strangulation marks around her neck.”
Her mother is grateful to have her daughter back. According to Newyorkupstate.com, Helms wrote on Facebook:
The most important thing for me as her mother is that she has been found alive and we can bring her back home.
According to WJLA, Turner is being held in Nevada with a $275,000 bond. He was charged with kidnapping, sexual assault, false imprisonment, strangulation, and battery with a deadly weapon.