Details of Disappearance
Raylene and her sister were living with their father in a trailer in Ruston, Louisiana in 1983. Raylene's eight-year-old sister, Candace, told authorities that their father, Raymond Helsley Jr., had severely abused Raylene during the morning hours of January 5, 1983.
Candace said she saw her father strike Raylene repeatedly with a piece of PVC pipe and a silver 14-inch pipe wrench. He beat Raylene so hard with the wrench that it broke, and Candace heard her sister screaming.
When Candace left for school, Raylene was laying immobile on the couch. Candace said when returned home in the afternoon, Raylene had disappeared.
Raymond maintains that he only left Raylene alone in their residence for approximately one hour during the day; when he came home, she had vanished. He stated he believed she had run away. Raylene has never been seen again.
Raymond was later charged with cruelty to a juvenile in connection with the beating Raylene received on the day of her disappearance. Authorities found a broken silver pipe wrench and a pillow in the house that had both traces of human blood, but the blood could not be positively identified as Raylene's.
Candace testified against her father at the trial. Raymond was convicted in August 1983 and sentenced to the maximum, ten years in prison. He was also convicted of an unrelated charge of unlawful transportation of explosives.
He had a prior record for traffic offenses, breaking and entering, assault and child abuse; the victim in the child abuse case was also Raylene and she had been severely injured in that instance as well.
Raymond failed two polygraph tests about Raylene's disappearance; the results indicated he had killed her and disposed of her body within one and a half miles of of his home. There was never sufficient evidence to charge him in her disappearance, however.
Due to the conflicting reports from family members and the lack of evidence, Raylene's case is still classified as a non-family abduction.