The North Carolina rape suspect who made headlines last week for taunting his pursuers on Facebook has been caught.
Derek Lee Helms, 28, was arrested late Sunday evening, according to a Facebook post by the Cabarrus County Sheriff’s Office. Details were not released, including whether Helms turned himself in or was apprehended.
Helms’ case earned national media coverage after he responded to his own warrant announcement on the Facebook page of the sheriff’s department. His post accused local law enforcement of being “croked.” In further Facebook posts, Helms maintained his innocence and taunted investigators by noting places he had been visiting in the community.
Investigators say Helms, who lives in Stanly County, is part of a “complex case” of alleged domestic violence, according to the Observer’s news partner WBTV. He had outstanding warrants charging him with first-degree kidnapping and second-degree rape.
The social media dust-up started Tuesday when the Cabarrus County Sheriff’s Office posted Helms’ photo and warrant information on its Facebook page. Six hours after that initial post, Helms left a response to the sheriff’s office on its Facebook page: “Truth coming out bfor long vindictive and spitfullness and some croked cops.”
The department came back on Facebook within two minutes with a warning: “Derek Helms you need to turn yourself in.”
Helms’ decision to publicly challenge the department on social media won both criticism and support and resulted in the creation of a Facebook group called “Justice for Derek Helms.” The group had more than 100 members signed up, according to the Independent Tribune of Cabarrus County.
The Facebook group said it was “not going to stand by and let an innocent man’s life get destroyed by evil.”