Flora Vesta Smith Helmick

Flora, circa 1973

  • Missing Since 08/03/1973
  • Missing From Bridgewater, Virginia
  • Classification Lost/Injured Missing
  • Sex Female
  • Race White
  • Age 52 years old
  • Height and Weight 5'0, 190 - 200 pounds
  • Medical Conditions Flora is mentally disabled and has difficulty speaking. In addition, she injured her back in a car accident a year prior to her disappearance.
  • Associated Vehicle(s) Light green 1967 Ford Fairlane (accounted for)
  • Distinguishing Characteristics Caucasian female. Gray hair, brown eyes. Flora has no teeth. Her nickname is Flory.

Details of Disappearance

Flora was last seen in Bridgewater, Virginia at approximately 12:00 p.m. on August 3, 1973. She was accompanied by her sister, Martha, and her employer, John Keyton, at the time. They were driving Keyton's light green 1967 Ford Fairlane to a family reunion at the home of Keyton's brother in Dabolt, Kentucky; the event was scheduled for the following day.

Keyton and the Helmick sisters never arrived. Keyton was not a good driver in 1973. He had been in at least one accident and received many traffic citations. His driver's license had been taken from him, but he continued to drive.

In 2016, the remains of the trio's car was found inside the Kentucky River, near the Kentucky River Valley Ferry. Martha's body was found inside it and was identified in 2021. There was no indication of the whereabouts of Flora, or of Keyton, but investigators believe all three were killed after accidentally driving into the river.

Investigating Agency

  • Bridgewater Police Department 540-828-2611

Updated 4 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated December 28, 2021; details of disappearance updated.