Update: Informant Responds To Helman Shootout Reports

According to our friends at the Goshen News and Kosciusko County Sheriff Department reports, journalist Stacey Staley, editor of the online news site Stacey Page Online, allegedly admitted Thursday that she cooperated with bounty hunters from Barnett’s Bail Bonds to help confirm the location of a troubled Kosciusko man they were attempting to serve a felony warrant to. She did so by scheduling an interview with the man that became part of a tragic timeline of events that concluded with a deadly shootout on Aug. 25 just east of Lake Wawasee.

Following the interview, the bounty hunters — Tadd Martin, 33, of Osceola; Daniel Foster, 43, of LaPorte; and Michael Thomas, 36, of Osceola — attempted to serve an active felony warrant to Gary Helman, 56, at his home at 9174 E. Doswell Blvd., Cromwell, for “failure to appear” issued from Kosciusko County. During the altercation Helman was shot and killed while his twin brother, Larry, and Martin were both seriously injured during a hail of gunfire around 6:50 p.m.

That incident, according to a Kosciusko County Sheriff’s report released Thursday, was set up by Staley’s interview with Helman at his home between 3:30 and 5 p.m. and communication she had afterward with Martin confirming Gary Helman’s whereabouts and identity.

According to Thursday’s investigation report, Martin contacted Staley and directed her to set up an interview with Helman at his home. After Staley left the residence she texted Martin to let him know that Helman, his twin brother and mother, Atta Belle Helman, were inside the residence and indicated what they were wearing, the report said.

Foster, told police that Martin had Staley call the Helman home again after she had left to talk to Gary Helman to establish he was still inside. Foster said Martin radioed him and Thomas and said Staley had called the home and Gary Helman answered, indicating he was still home.

“The bounty hunters contacted me two months ago, at least,” Staley told The News Thursday. “They also spoke with the (Kosciusko County) Sheriff’s Department, who in turn wanted to work with me on it. I said I was not comfortable doing that. I didn’t want to be in the middle of it. But I did eventually agree to do the interview, and confirmed that he was living in there, and that is it.”

Staley denied she knew an altercation might take place that day. A confirmation of Staley’s interaction with Barnett’s Bail Bonds was also posted on the Stacey Page Online Facebook page early Thursday afternoon.

Staley wrote a series of articles regarding her interview with Helman that were published on staceypageonline.com, which is operated by The Papers Inc. based in Milford, Ind. Staley did not disclose in the articles that she was working as an informant for the bail bond company.

A receptionist who answered the phone for the Barnett’s Bail Bonds said the company declined comment.

Original Story:

Our Partners in News, The Times Union have provided us with more information on the Aug. 25 Gary Helman shooting with details from the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Department investigation report released today.

It details how a local reporter was involved in the attempted arrest of Gary Helman, 56, of 9174 E. Doswell Blvd., Cromwell. The attempted arrest ended with Helman dead and both his brother and a licensed recovery agent wounded.

Bond recovery agents Tadd Martin, 33, Osceola, Michael Thomas, 36, Osceola, and Daniel Foster, 43, LaPorte, were involved in the incident.

In a police report prepared by Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Department detective J.D. Ayres, Thomas and Foster were interviewed. They told Ayres that Stacey Staley, a Warsaw reporter who writes for staceypageonline.com, provided them information about Helman prior to the attempted arrest.

According to the reporting officer narrative, on Aug. 25 at approximately 6:50 p.m., Kosciusko County dispatch received a 911 call on a shooting that had occurred at the Helman residence. Dispatch then received multiple 911 calls reporting shots fired in the same area.

When the first officers arrived on the scene, they located Tadd Martin, 33, Osceola, lying between two vehicles in the driveway. He had been shot multiple times and had a belt tightened around his left leg to try to stop the bleeding. Martin also had visible wounds to his right forearm and shoulder

Michael Thomas, 36, Osceola, was giving first aid to Martin. For safety reasons, the report states, Thomas was ordered to the ground and placed in handcuffs.

Officers then located Daniel Foster, 43, LaPorte, who was not injured and who identified himself as a bounty agent working with Thomas and Martin. Foster also was placed in handcuffs for safety reasons and placed into a squad car.A second victim, later identified as Larry Helman, 56, Syracuse, was found lying on the back porch with a gunshot wound to his back. He was pulled from the immediate possible danger of the residence and given medical attention.

After deputies secured the outside of the residence, KCSD deputies made entry into the residence. A third victim, identified as Gary Helman, was found lying in the back bedroom of the residence. He was later pronounced dead at the scene from an apparent gunshot wound.

Martin and Larry Helman were both transported to Fort Wayne hospitals. Thomas and Foster were transported to the sheriff’s department for interviews.

Thomas told officers during the initial interview he had been working for Awald Bailbond Co. for approximately two weeks. Thomas said Martin had been contacted by Barnett Bailbonds to try to get Gary Helman in custody for them. Thomas said Martin had done a couple other jobs for Barnett Bailbonds. Thomas said Martin and Foster had been doing some surveillance before he started helping.Thomas said Martin called him about 10 a.m. Aug. 25 and said things were “set up” to try and apprehend Gary Helman. When asked what he meant by “set up,” Thomas said Martin had an informant, a reporter “maybe named Stacey,” who was giving information to Martin to help them get Gary Helman in custody. Martin had picked Thomas up that morning, and along with Foster went to Helman’s location and started their surveillance.

Thomas said they watched the house for several hours and saw Larry Helman and the mother come out of the house repeatedly. Thomas said he and Martin saw Gary Helman come out on the porch for just a few seconds and then return into the house. Thomas said he and Martin made their way toward the back door and Larry Helman came out and turned away from them. Thomas said that is when Martin made entry into the Helman residence to try and apprehend Gary Helman. Thomas said Larry Helman turned around and he and Larry got into a pushing match. Thomas said Martin wasn’t in the residence long when he started hearing gunshots. Thomas said he heard a round whiz by his head and that is when he jumped off the deck and told the neighbor to the east of the Helman residence to call 911.


Thomas said he then made his way around the front of the residence and saw that Foster was attending to Martin. Thomas said Foster yelled for him to come help and Thomas said he made his way to them. Thomas said he then held the belt around Martin’s leg and Foster went to the roadway to help direct the emergency personnel to the scene.

Thomas was asked if he saw any of the shooting and Thomas said that he didn’t see how the shooting transpired but only heard it, according to the report. Thomas said he knew the shooting started in the house, but after he went around the house he still heard shooting and didn’t know if it was inside or outside. Thomas said his weapon, a Sig .45, was not discharged during the events.

Foster was then interviewed. He said he had been working as a bounty hunter for over two years.

He explained that Martin had been doing some jobs for Barnett Bailbonds and he had contacted Martin about trying to apprehend Gary Helman. Foster said they started working on the Helman case approximately two months before the incident

Foster said they went to the Helman residence  acting as if they were interested in buying it, but the mother would not let them in to look inside the residence so they left. Foster and Martin then went back and explained who they were and that they wanted Gary Helman to come out, but the mother told them to leave the property and they did

Foster said he and Martin then started doing some surveillance and Martin started getting information from a reporter named Stacey, identified in the report as Stacey Staley, Warsaw. Foster said that Martin was the only person who had direct contact with Staley by phone. Foster said the plan was for her to do an interview with Gary, verifying that he was in the residence.


Foster said after they had established, through Staley, that they would apprehend Gary Helman, they started watching the residence around 3 p.m. Aug. 25. Staley was in the residence from approximately 3:30 to 5 p.m. before leaving the scene, and texted Martin information verifying that Gary Helman was in the residence and identified what all three – Gary, Larry and the mother – were wearing.


Foster said they moved closer to the residence. Foster said he was near the southeast corner and Martin and Thomas were on the north side. Foster said Martin had Staley call the Helman home phone and talk to Gary again to establish he was inside the residence, which Martin relayed to the others. Foster said Martin radioed him to go to the front door, start beating on it and yell “warrant” over and over. Foster said they did this in hopes that Gary Helman would run out the back door.

Foster said he went to the front door and starting banging on the door and yelling. Foster said he was at the door for 10 to 15 seconds before the gun shots started going off. Foster said he didn’t know how many shots he heard, but  he gave consent to KCSD to review footage from a body camera he had mounted on his head.

After the shots started going off, Foster said he made his way to the west side of the residence near two vehicles. Foster said he could see Larry Helman doubled up in a ball by the railing of the deck. He saw the mother pacing on the deck and also could see Martin was down on the deck, just outside the door.

Foster said he heard the mom yelling at Martin. While he couldn’t hear everything she said, he did hear her call Martin “Satan” and tell him she hoped he died. Foster said the mom went back in the residence. Foster ran up to the deck and dragged Martin back between the two vehicles. Foster said Martin put his belt around his leg to try to control the bleeding. Foster yelled for Thomas to help, and said Thomas held the belt while he ran out to the road to direct police to the scene.

Asked if he discharged his weapon, a Glock, during the event, Foster said he had not. The investigation report states that “a preliminary viewing of Daniel Foster’s body camera showed the events as Daniel Foster had stated they happened.”

Early Aug. 26, an officer went to the Fort Wayne hospital to interview Martin, but Martin was still in surgery and was not able to be interviewed.

The investigation continues with no charges yet filed.