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Man confesses to 2 unsolved murders in Virginia and Maryland

<i>Prince George's County Police Departmen</i><br/>Charles Helem confessed to two murders that took place in 1987 and 2002.
Prince George's County Police Departmen
Charles Helem confessed to two murders that took place in 1987 and 2002.

By Amir Vera, Raja Razek and Paradise Afshar, CNN

Two cold case murders in Maryland and Virginia that took place about 15 years apart have been solved after an already incarcerated man confessed to both, according to police in Maryland.

Charles Helem, 52, confessed last year to the 1987 murder of Eige Sober-Adler in Fairfax County, Virginia, and the 2002 murder of Jennifer Landry in Mount Rainier, Maryland, a news release from the Prince George’s County Police Department said.

Helem is currently serving a life sentence in Red Onion State Prison in Virginia for the unrelated 2002 death of Patricia Bentley, 37. He was arrested in Fairfax County in 2002 and convicted in 2003 for that case, police said. CNN has not been able to identify an attorney for Helem at this time.

“Patricia was a single mother who was killed inside her town home in Chantilly,” said Fairfax County Police Department Chief Kevin Davis during a news conference Wednesday.

The investigation of the two cold case murders was reignited in 2010, when Helem sent a letter to the Mount Rainier Police Department claiming to have knowledge about Landry’s murder. Landry, 19, was from Randolph, Massachusetts.

“Detectives attempted to speak to him in prison at the time, but he refused an interview. In 2017, Helem sent another letter, but he again refused an interview,” the news release read. “PGPD Cold Case Unit detectives attempted to interview him again in September of 2021 and this time he agreed.”

At the time of the September interview, Helem was being held in a Massachusetts prison, police said. Helem verbally confessed to Landry’s murder during an interview with detectives and provided information “only the suspect would know,” according to the release.

“He advised investigators he picked up Landry in Washington, DC, while he was soliciting sex for money. They drove to Oak Lane in Mount Rainier where he murdered her. He then left her body in a nearby wooded area,” the release read.

Landry’s body was found in August 2002, though she wouldn’t be identified for another three years. Her body had trauma to her neck area, the release said. An autopsy determined she died of asphyxia and cutting wounds to the neck. Helem is now charged in connection with the murder of Landry, according to PGPD.

“While communicating with Helem about Landry’s murder, he provided information regarding another unsolved murder in Fairfax County. PGPD then contacted Fairfax County Police. On Tuesday, Helem was indicted in Fairfax County for a 1987 murder,” the release read.

Eige Sober-Adler, 37, of Kensington, Maryland, was found dead in a parking lot near the Dulles Toll Road on September 9, 1987, according to Fairfax Police Chief Kevin Davis.

“Detectives from the Fairfax County Police Department spoke with Helem in October of 2021. He confessed to the brutal and cold-hearted murder of Eige Adler,” Davis said during a news conference. “Sadly, both of Eige’s parents died never knowing what happened to their daughter. We hope this indictment brings some sense of closure to her surviving family members and friends.”

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