Lake County History Chapter 133: The Helbush Murder, Part One

In May 1981, drifter William Cox and Swedish native Annika Deasy, lifelong criminals and drug addicts, murdered two men. The first was a Stockton man. The second was a Lake County Law Enforcement Officer.

After their crime spree, the two attempted to flee the country. Annika Deasy, a sentimental mom, before she said goodbye to Lake County, wished to visit her ten-year-old son, who was living with his father in Clearlake. As they headed toward Lakeport around midnight, Cox stopped his car and pulled over to the side of the road on Highway 29. In all probability, Cox and, or, Deasy wanted to rest or relieve themselves without chance of discovery from anyone that heard about them or their crime. Cox parked somewhere between Lower Lake and Kit’s Corner (Manning Flat).

At that same hour, Sgt. Helbush was just about finished with his shift when he came upon Cox and Deasy. He stopped to assist them, thinking they were stranded motorists.

We do not know what went on in Cox’s mind. Helbush’s arrival caused him to immediately change his plan to take Deasy to Clearlake to see her son for one last time before leaving Lake County. Perhaps he believed his automobile had been identified, and his best chance of escape was to exchange his ‘hot’ car for the officer’s vehicle and flee… until he could find another automobile in which to get out of Lake County. Whatever went on in Cox’s mind, his next act was to commit a second murder.

When Officer Helbush approached their vehicle, without warning, Cox shot and killed Sgt. Helbush. Having committed the ultimate crime, and with nothing more to lose, Cox stole Helbush’s patrol vehicle and drove on their way.

Eventually, other officers came on the scene and found the murdered officer. They immediately called in to report that Officer Helbush was down and his vehicle was gone. Law Officers sprang into action, and the hunt began to find Helbush’ killers.

By that time Cox and his partner were on Highway 29 and heading toward Lower Lake. Hoping to elude pursuers, the two perpetrators turned off on Seigler Canyon Road. Deputy Don Anderson, waiting at the Harbin Springs Resort, got the report of Helbush’s murder and was sent to Middletown to watch for the stolen Police Car. He was directed to go up Highway 175 toward Cobb.

As Officer Anderson passed Anderson Springs, Cox and Deasy, in the stolen Patrol Car, passed Anderson going in the opposite direction. He spotted the duo and turned to give chase. A high-speed pursuit ensued. Cox lost control of the patrol car, slid off the road at the fork with Dry creek road and stopped. Anderson, close behind, saw them and pulled up sixty feet away.

With his weapon at the ready, he called out to the pair, “Come out of your vehicle with your arms up.”

“No way,” Cox replied and began shooting.

More backup arrived. Officer Bloomquist, in a second patrol car, was out and returning Cox’s fire. His bullet struck Cox in the stomach. That did not stop Cox. He was just warming up.

Next Week: The Helbush Murders, Conclusion

To enjoy and learn more about Author Gene Paleno’s books visit Gene’s website; http://genepaleno.com/

Gene Paleno

Gene runs his life at a full sprint. In his ninety-three years he's dug ditches, painted signs, played semi-pro football, worked as a taxicab driver, an insurance agent, and a school teacher. He's been a technical artist, a marketing director, and a business owner. He served in World War II, raised four children, and was married to the love of his life for fifty years. He's an accomplished oil painter and skilled in ceramics. He's written fifteen books, including the definitive Lake County History, and doesn't show any signs of slowing down.


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