CONCORD, N.C. - A North Carolina man wanted for rape and kidnapping gave deputies a surprise lead Wednesday when he commented on his own mug shot on Facebook.
You’ve probably seen it before; local police departments often post mug shots or surveillance photos on social media looking for the public’s help in tracking down a suspect.
“That's what social media is designed to do, is to quickly spread the word,” Cabarrus County Sheriff Brad Riley said.
But it’s not every day that the actual suspect drops by to comment.
That’s what appears to have happened in the case of Derek Helms, wanted by the sheriff’s office for kidnapping and rape. Deputies say he had a personal relationship with the alleged victim.
“The case has been substantiated to the extent that warrants have been put out there for him,” Sheriff Riley said. “Since that time he has become somewhat elusive in the sense that he's denied coming in.”
A profile that appears to belong to 28-year-old Helms has made several public posts about the case. Most of them, maintaining his innocence.
“When he made some remarks back on social media that he was not going to turn himself back in, we decided to put it on our Facebook page to get the story out there,” Sheriff Riley said.
After the sheriff’s office posted Helms’ information on their page, someone commented to defend him.
That’s when what appears to be Helms himself commented back, saying ‘thanks,’ and blaming ‘crooked (sic) cops.’
“That's obstruction of justice which is a violation in itself,” Sheriff Riley said. “If he is aware of those [warrants] and he continues to elude them, that's another criminal act that's possibly been committed.”
The sheriff’s office quickly shot back with their own comment, tagging him saying simply, “you need to turn yourself in.”
That sparked a firestorm of comments and more than 1,000 shares. Several people were shocked someone could be so bold.
“I can’t say that we've ever had anyone respond back on their own case,” Sheriff Riley said.
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