Mills Murder Still Unsolved

By: Stephen McLamb, Bureau Chief
By: Stephen McLamb, Bureau Chief

Maryville, Blount County (WVLT) - Just over four years after someone murdered her in her Maryville store, the search for Helen Mills killer continues.

Volunteer TV's Blount County Bureau Chief Stephen McLamb has been examining this cold case and taking a look at new leads from investigators.

Maryville Police hired a special investigator to handle the case which ended a year ago this month and the case has been quiet for a full year now.

But police believe the case can be solved and are looking for your help.

"That's the last person in the world that I would have suspected anything like that to happen to," says Erik Lewis, owner of Auto Pro Tires and Service Center.

Four years after Helen Mills was found strangled in her herbal store in August 2002, authorities are still left wondering who did it.

"She was found by her son and her husband. They said they were planning on going on a trip that weekend to North Carolina," says Maryville Police Chief Tony Crisp.

Erik Lewis owns a tire and service shop nearby. He says the day started out normal and even had Helen and her husband in his store to have her tires serviced.

"Her and her husband sat in there and like I said she just when it was time to open the shop she walked around the corner and he took the car on home," says Lewis.

Authorities worked a year and a half, then a special investigator was brought in.

"It's been my experience sometimes if you bring in a set of fresh eyes you'll come up with maybe some different ideas and different theories," says Chief Crisp.

But that didn't happen after a year and the case went cold.

"It's certainly frustrating when every angle that you've looked at you've come up with the same end result. And that's no person being held accountable for that crime," admits Crisp.

But the chief hasn't given up hope. "We know there's probably someone out there with information that would help lead us to the person or persons responsible."

Meanwhile, the building has a new tenant, but for some around here, Helen Mills is not forgotten.

"I always think of Helen when I see that lady because she took over the building you know," says Lewis.

Family members say there is still more than $17,000 in reward money still available on the case.

If anyone has any information you are asked to contact Maryville Police on their crime line at 388-1388.


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