GBI investigating drowning death of an Alabama man found in the river in Helen


Helen Police Chief Brian Stephens

HELEN, Ga. – The body of an Alabama man was found submerged in the Chattahoochee River in Helen Friday. Helen Police Chief Brian Stephens has requested the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s help with the death investigation.

The body was found in the area of Brucken Strasse. A GBI press release identified the man as 42-year-old Gary Phillip Freeman of Troy, Alabama.

The body was spotted in the water by a tourist who called White County 911 Friday morning and emergency services workers pulled the deceased from the water.

An autopsy was performed by the GBI Medical Examiner’s Office in Decatur. The investigation is ongoing.



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Helen Police Plan Two Events to Protect Citizens


BRIAN STEPHENSHELEN, Ga. — The Helen Police Department will hold two events aimed at protecting its citizens.

During Tuesday’s City Commission meeting, Helen Police Chief Brian Stephens announced his department will hold a class aimed at preventing identity theft on Monday May 8 at 6 p.m. inside City Hall. The class will last about 90 minutes.

Stephens said a lot of information will be provided along with handouts followed by a question and answer session for those who attend.

Issues covered will include how to protect yourself, knowing what to do and what not to do. Stephens said it will also cover the latest scams being used to gain your identity. The class is free and open to all Helen and White County residents. To reserve a seat, call the Helen Police Department at 706-878-2722.

On June 26 and 27 at 10 a.m. in the Helen Library Stephens said his department will conduct an event aimed at helping to identify missing children.

Stephens said parents can bring their child to the library to be finger printed and submit a DNA sample, “In case, God forbid, something did happen to the child. It’s aimed at protecting the children.”

Stephens said the DNA sample can be provided by the parent taking a clipping of the child’s hair. The clipping would then be put together with the fingerprints and kept in a safe place.


Helen Planning Dept. Approves Signs, Events


HELEN, Ga. — The City of Helen Planning, Design and Review Board approved a series of events to take place in the city between May and October at Tuesday’s meeting.

The Board approved the Juried Arts Show to be held at Pete’s Park, but did not approve the date requested Sept 1 and 2. The show attracts 20-25 vendors and the Board felt the city was too busy on that weekend. Chairwoman Catherine Cleiman recommended the City try to schedule the event Sept. 16, 17.

The Board did approve the Grand Fondo Bicycle Ride for May 7, which is expected to attract between 300-400 riders to the city.. Police Chief Brian Stephens raised concerns about whether his department would provide traffic control or if event coordinators would do so.

“Anyone working traffic control will have to be DOT certified since it will be on a state highway,” he said. While the Board approved the event, Cleiman suggested the event coordinator meet with Stephens to work out the details.


Helen Police Arrest Man in Stabbing Incident


HELEN, Ga. — Charles Casey Roper, 25, has been charged with aggravated assault and burglary after he allegedly entered a relative’s apartment on Brucken Strasse late Saturday evening.

According to Helen Police Chief Brian Stephens, an argument ensued and 47-year-old Scott Cecil Ramey was stabbed. Ramey was transported to Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville where he was treated for what are believed to be non-life threatening injuries.

Roper, who has a criminal record, fled the scene following the stabbing. Helen Police found him nd hiding in a nearby utility room and arrested him at about 10:45 p.m. He was taken to the White County Detention Center where no bond has been set.

The incident is still under investigation.

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