Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Children of Thunder: The Helzer Brothers

"It's Kool-aid"

The next day, August 4, the Stinemans' daughter reported her parents missing after her persistent phone calls to their home went unanswered. Neighbors had noticed newspapers piling up on their doorstep.

Marin County Sheriff's Office logo
Marin County Sheriff's Office logo
A few hours later, when Bishop failed to show up for her shift at the Two Bird Café, her friends contacted the Marin County Sheriff's Department to issue a missing person's report for her, as well.

That same day, neighbor Kaye Shaman testified in court, she returned home and saw her mysterious neighbors in a truck that was towing a trailer with Jet-skis. There were duffel bags in the truck bed and another on the lap of the man sitting in the passenger seat, she said, as the courtroom gasped.

Shaman avoided looking at the Helzer boys until the prosecutor told her to point at her neighbors if they were in the courtroom. She then glanced in their direction and raised an accusatory finger.

A surveillance camera filmed a vehicle similar to Justin Helzer's truck crossing a bridge over the San Joaquin River. The truck was towing a trailer with Jet-skis. Prosecutors maintained that the camera caught the brothers on their way to dump the duffel bags in the river.

On Sunday, August 6, the Stinemans' Chevrolet Lumina minivan was found in an industrial neighborhood in Oakland. A chainsaw and a sawhorse were found inside, and police lifted the fingerprints of Justin Helzer and Godman from the vehicle.

Later that day, a professional carpet cleaner was summoned to the Helzer house to clean a stain in the living room, according to court testimony.

As the man labored to get the large red blotch out of the carpet, Justin and Godman sat in the kitchen, calmly eating a snack and watching him work.

"Maybe it's Kool-Aid," Hazem Belal said as he examined the stain, according to the Chronicle.

"Yeah, it's Kool-Aid," Justin replied. "We spilled some drinks."

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