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Latest Missing Person Video for helen-marie-voorhees-brach

Latest Missing Person Photos for Missing Helen Marie Voorhees Brach

Helen, circa 1977; Jack Matlick; Richard Bailey; Ring, possibly Helen Brach's

Missing Since 02/17/1977

Missing From Rochester, Minnesota

Classification Endangered Missing

Sex Female

Race White

Date of Birth Used 11/10/1911 (109)

Age 65 years old

Height and Weight 5'10, 200 pounds

Clothing/Jewelry Description A full-length fur coat.

Distinguishing Characteristics Caucasian female. Red hair, brown eyes. Helen's former married name is Littlecock, and her last name is pronounced "Brack." Her ears are pierced.

Details of Disappearance
Helen kept a checkup appointment at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota on February 17, 1977. The doctors there found nothing wrong with her save that she was overweight. After paying her bill, Helen began walking back to her hotel. She stopped at a gift shop and purchased $41 worth of cosmetics and bath towels, telling the clerk she was in a hurry because her "houseman" was waiting. Investigators are not sure what Helen meant; she was traveling alone and no one was seen with her.

Helen did have a houseman named Jack Matlick. A photograph of Matlick is posted with this case summary. He helped run Helen's house after her husband, Frank, died. Frank had been the owner of E. J. Brach and Sons and was one of the world's wealthiest candy producers. He met Helen, a native of Ohio, when she was working as a coat-check girl at the Palm Beach Country Club in Florida.

Matlick claims he met Helen at O'Hare International Airport when she flew from Rochester back to Chicago, but the plane crew, could not remember anyone matching her description on the flight that day. They were not interviewed until a significant period of time had passed, however.

Matlick says he picked up Helen at O'Hare and drove her back to her home in Glenview, Illinois. That weekend, Matlick called his wife and said he would be staying in Glenview because he had work to do. This is uncharacteristic of him; he normally lived apart from Helen in a house she owned in Schaumburg, Illinois.

Matlick said he drove Helen to O'Hare at 7:00 a.m. on Monday without much luggage or a flight reservation; Helen normally traveled with lots of luggage and a carefully planned itinerary. She is also a late riser who would not normally fly out so early in the morning. There is no record of Helen flying out of O'Hare that day.

Matlick said Helen signed several checks totaling $15,000 before she left; many of the checks were to his benefit. When investigators determined the checks had not, in fact, been signed by Helen, Matlick changed his story and said he had signed the checks for her because she had injured her hand. Handwriting analysis experts do not believe he actually signed the checks, however, and the signatures were never tested against anyone else's writing.

Matlick's wife said he gave her a different story about Helen's disappearance; he said she did not return from the Mayo Clinic and he was waiting for her in Glenview. That weekend in Glenview, Matlick arranged to have carpeting replaced in one of the rooms of Helen's house, and had two rooms re-painted also. The workers who did the job did not notice anything out of the ordinary about the room. Matlick had the pink Cadillac he'd been driving cleaned and waxed, and the interior shampooed.

After flying to Illinois and reporting Helen missing, Voorhees and Matlick searched her Glenview home for clues. Matlick destroyed her diaries, which she had written in every day for years. Voorhees says Helen left explicit instructions that they should be burned if anything happened to her, so he allowed Matlick to burn the papers outside of his presence.

Authorities' initial suspect in Helen's disappearance was Matlick. No ransom demand had been made for Helen and investigators did not think Matlick's story was credible. He took a series of lie detector tests but the results were inconclusive.

John Cadwallader Menk, an attorney, was appointed to look after Brach's estate in her absence. He was not permitted to see her will but Matlick told him she had willed all her money to various charities and to Voorhees. Menk tried to question Richard Bailey, whom Brach had been dating at the time of her disappearance and was supposed to meet her when she flew to Florida, but Bailey hired an attorney and refused to cooperate with Menk. He would not even admit he knew Brach.

A photograph of Bailey is posted with this case summary. He was active in the city's horse market; he was the owner of Bailey Stables and Country Club Stables. Bailey had a reputation as a con artist around Chicago; he would romance recently divorced or widowed middle-aged wealthy women, then fleece them out of their money through bad investments in horses.

Bailey had introduced Helen to the horse business; her accountant estimated that she had spent $250,000 on horses. Bailey and his brother had sold Helen some horses for much more than they were worth.

After hearing the evidence against him in Helen's case, a federal judge decided Bailey had conspired to kill her and sentenced him to life in prison. The sentence was later reduced to 30 years. Bailey is not believed to have acted alone in Helen's case, but no one else was ever charged in connection with her disappearance. If it were not for the Brach allegations, he would have been sentenced to only about 11 years in prison.

Plemmons admitted to being the shooter after signing an agreement granting him immunity from prosecution. He said Helen was murdered to keep her from going to the police about being swindled in bad horse deals. He also stated that Bailey had nothing to do with the murder.

He named nine of the conspirators; the tenth, a woman, he did not identify because he says he never knew her name. Plemmons stated that the female conspirator impersonated Helen and used her plane ticket home from the Mayo Clinic, and that Helen herself was actually driven home.

One piece of evidence which may support Plemmons's testimony is a ruby ring, which he says fell off of Brach's finger while he was disposing of her body. He kept the ring and later turned it over to the authorities. Brach's friends and family identified it as hers, but authorities haven't been able to prove this through DNA testing. A photo of the ring is posted with this case summary.

Matlick died in a Pennsylvania nursing home in February 2011, at the age of 79. Plemmons lives in Florida. Bailey was released from prison in 2019, at the age of 90.

Helen's remains have never been found, but foul play is suspected in her disappearance due to the circumstances involved.
Investigating Agency / Department

Glenview Police Department 847-729-5000

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