Police tried to warn husband earlier that a car fire may have been an attempt on his life
Alan Helmick, the 62-year-old Whitewater man Mesa County Sheriff’s Department who investigators suspect was murdered by his wife, Miriam Helmick, refused to believe his wife might want to kill him in an interview more than a month before his death.
According to an affidavit unsealed Monday, Delta police suspected Miriam of trying to set the couple’s 1994 Buick Roadmaster on fire April 30 using a wooden “wick” jammed into the gas tank.
The car caught fire after Alan and his wife traveled to Delta to sell his share in a company, the affidavit said.
When officers confronted Alan with their suspicions, he said he would be “shocked” if she tried something like that, according to the affidavit.
“I can’t imagine her being malicious,” he said, according to the affidavit. “What I could imagine is her being very sick. But I don’t think she’s sick.”
The affidavit said Alan cited the couple’s prenuptial agreement, which allowed her to inherit only wealth he came into after their 2006 marriage.
Investigators at the time, however, reported smelling lighter fluid in the bathroom of the business where the couple stopped for Miriam to use the bathroom, the affidavit said.
Miriam told investigators that she took the wick into the bathroom at her husband’s behest to prevent an explosion; however, Alan told police he did not remember ever telling her that.
The case remained under investigation until last week when Mesa County prosecutors charged Miriam with attempted murder, calling the fire and Alan’s shooting death connected incidents.
Bolstering their case, according to the affidavit, is testimony from Jeri Yarbrough, a horse trainer who knew Miriam. The pair allegedly discussed the car fire in a conversation two days after Alan’s death.
“According to Jeri Yarbrough, when Miriam Helmick spoke of the car fire in Delta, she also reported, ‘I did not know the full tank would not blow,’” the affidavit said.