Joseph David Helt

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5 6 AP
Top Row and Bottom Left and Center: Joseph, circa 1987;
Bottom Right: Age-progression to age 43 (circa 2012)


Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance

  • Missing Since: January 16, 1987 from Ellenville, New York
  • Classification: Lost/Injured Missing
  • Date of Birth: July 18, 1969
  • Age: 17 years old
  • Height and Weight: 5'9, 150 pounds
  • Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian male. Blond hair, brown eyes. Joseph's nickname is Joe.
  • Clothing/Jewelry Description: A camouflage-print jacket, a t-shirt, a long-sleeved thermal shirt, a gray hooded sweatshirt and white high-top sneakers.
  • Bar

    Details of Disappearance

    Joseph was last seen near Sam's Point ice caves in Ellenville, New York on January 16, 1987. He and three friends, John LaForge, Wade Marks and Kelly Diaz, were staying at the Mount Cathalia Lodge when they decided to go for a late-night drive in LaForge's Subaru. Joseph was driving when their car got stuck in the snow at approximately 3:30 a.m. The four young men were unable to push the car out and Joseph left the car and went to get help at the village five miles downhill. Diaz and Marks also abandoned the car a short time later, then LaForge left as well, separately from the others.

    The three other boys made it to safety, but Joseph has never been seen from again. The others assumed he had gone home and didn't realize he was missing until the next day, when LaForge went back to retrieve his car. An extensive search turned up no sign of Joseph. The inclement weather seriously hampered the search efforts; there was a great deal of snow and high winds, and most of the roads on the mountain were impassible.

    At the time of his disappearance, Joseph worked alongside his mother at the Auction Barn in Napanoch, New York. He was interested in rock music, particularly the band KISS. Both of his parents have died in the years since his disappearance, but his aunt and his friends hope he may yet be located.


    Investigating Agency
    If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
    New York State Police
    Ellenville Office


    Source Information
    The National Center For Missing and Exploited Children
    The Albany Times Union
    The Shawangunk Journal
    Unsolved in the News
    The Cold Case Squad


    Updated 5 times since October 12, 2004.

    Last updated October 8, 2015; picture added.

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