Zenith Helton

Zenith Helton

Real Name: Zenith Helton
Nicknames: Zena Helton
Location: Tempe, Arizona
Date: October 17, 1995


Occupation: None
Date of Birth: Unrevealed
Height: Unrevealed
Weight: Unrevealed
Marital Status: Single
Characteristics: Caucasian female


Details: Zenith Helton is the daughter of Kelly Helton and the grandaughter of Connie Jean Helton, who is wanted for kidnapping Zenith. In 1977, Connie Jean was divorced from Kelly's father and living with Kelly in Tempe, Arizona. One day, Kelly, then fourteen, arrived home from school and her mother told her that she had found a new job 200 miles away. Connie Jean told Kelly that she was moving there the next day and that Kelly was to stay in Tempe by herself. Kelly dropped out of school, lied about her age, and was able to find a job. Three years later, Connie Jean returned and moved in with her daughter. Kelly was twenty-six and living in Arizona when she gave birth to her first daughter, Tabitha. Around the same time, Connie Jean married her sixth husband, Donald Haines, a paroled felon. According to Kelly, Connie Jean was longing for another child, so when Zenith was born, she was more than willing to help Kelly out. Connie Jean and Donald invited Kelly, Tabitha, and Zenith to their home in Provo, Utah.

Kelly Helton

Soon after Kelly and her daughters moved in, Connie Jean told Kelly that she could put Zenith on her and Donald's insurance plans. She said that all Kelly had to do was sign a paper. The paper, however, was actually a legal document that allowed Connie Jean and Donald to adopt Zenith. Connie Jean explained it as a temporary arrangement, so that Kelly would have time to "get back on her feet". After Kelly signed the paper, Connie Jean acted as if she was Zenith's mother, not Kelly.
In February 1993, Kelly took her daughters and returned to Arizona. In July 1993, Kelly allowed Connie Jean to see her and the girls at a layover at Salt Lake City Airport. As the group walked through the airport, Connie Jean held Zenith. When they arrived at the check-in desk, Kelly realized that Connie Jean and Zenith were gone. Kelly soon located Connie Jean and Zenith and demanded that she return her baby. Connie Jean, however, claimed that the child belonged to her. Airport security intervened and Kelly soon returned to Arizona with her daughters. Two days later, however, Connie Jean filed legal papers in Utah to enforce the adoption agreement. Arizona police seized Zenith and delivered her to Connie Jean.

Donald and Connie Helton

Donald Haines and Connie Jean Helton

A two-year legal battle began between Connie Jean and Kelly over custody of Zenith. The court appointed impartial experts to determine if Connie Jean or Kelly should have custody of Zenith. The experts felt that Kelly would be a more suitable mother and the courts agreed; Zenith was returned to Kelly. Connie Jean, however, was given nine-hour unsupervised visits once a week. She soon moved to Arizona to be closer to Zenith.
On October 17, 1995, Connie Jean, Donald, and Connie Jean's son Michael came to pick up Zenith for their nine-hour visit. However, they never returned and Kelly has not seen them since.
Suspects: Connie Jean and Donald Helton
Extra Notes: The case was featured as a part of the January 3, 1997 episode.

Zenith Kelly tabitha reunited

Tabitha, Kelly and Zenith reunited

Results: Solved. A viewer who had recently been in Iceland recognized Connie Jean, Donald, and Zenith from the broadcast. All three were found in a town near Reykjavik, Iceland; Zenith was taken into protective custody while Donald and Connie Jean were arrested.
Zenith was immediately brought back to the United States and was reunited with her mother Kelly and sister Tabitha. Although, at first, Zenith barely remembered her mother, the two were quickly able to restore their mother-daughter bond.

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