After suffering for years in an abusive marriage, Helle Crafts filed for divorce in the summer of 1986. Soon afterward, she disappeared. Her friends filed a missing person’s report, but her husband, Richard Crafts, gave various stories that Helle was off visiting relatives or that she just needed some time alone.
Police suspected foul play, but with no body, it was impossible to prove that a homicide had even occurred. Police did learn, however, that Richard Crafts had purchased several items, including new carpeting, bedding, and a large freezer, around the time of Helle’s disappearance. He had also rented a woodchipper.
A witness came forward, claiming that he had seen a man using a woodchipper on a bridge over a lake near the Crafts’ home. That is when the search for Helle took a very disturbing turn.
Join us at the quiet end today as we discuss a horrific crime often referred to as the “wood chipper case.” Investigators, along with Dr. Henry Lee, the Director of Connecticut’s Forensic Science Laboratory at the time, worked together to solve what Richard Crafts had considered his perfect crime. I chose this case because it serves to broaden awareness of domestic violence and because it is chock a block full of interesting forensics from a pre-DNA era.