The search for the Helms began on Sept. 28, when their son contacted the authorities because he was concerned that his father had not shown up for work that morning. The police checked their home and found the door had been forced open, the house was in disarray and the couple were gone, the filing says.
Using cellphone geolocation data, the authorities traced Mr. Helm’s route on Sept. 27 and 28 through northern New York State and the Akwesasne and Mohawk tribal area, which straddles the Canadian border, and into Quebec, the complaint said.
On Sept. 28, the couple’s son was allowed to speak briefly with one of his parents by phone, the complaint said. A captor demanded that he put them in touch with another person, identified in the court document as Individual 1.
In a second call, a captor demanded the return of the cocaine, or the $3.5 million payment, from that person, who the captor said “has our stuff,” the complaint said. Other calls followed in which the captors demanded that the son “hand over” the person who they believed had the cocaine, according to the complaint.
At about 8:43 p.m. on Sept. 28, the son received a text message from the captors that said: “Parents are sleeping. 12PM tomorrow trade for (individual 1).”
Investigators also obtained the “proof of life” photograph that had been sent to the son. Through cellphone geolocation, they were able to find the couple at a house in Quebec’s Eastern Townships, the complaint said.
Investigators found that Mr. Brown had made a call from his cellphone near the Helms’ residence the night they were kidnapped, and a license plate reader captured his pickup truck near the home around the same time, the criminal complaint says.