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Helle Crafts was a Danish-American woman whose husband was convicted of her murder. A fraction of Crafts' remains were located and her case is considered a bodyless murder conviction. Her case was the first to be profiled by the show.

Case

Helle Crafts was last seen alive by her friend who dropped her at her house. It was not until she was reported to disappear that investigators searched her house and found evidence that could prove her death.

The evidence included blood stains discovered in the bedroom using luminol, a testimony by a passer-by that someone were using an industry-grade wood-chipper by the river around the time of her disappearance, suspicious purchase receipts by her husband Richard and fragments of her remains.

Historical meaning

This is the first case that forensic evidence was used to convict a murderer despite the absence of a body. Prosecutors were able to prove that a murder actually happened by measuring the amount of blood loss given the stain on the bedroom carpet and identifying the identity of the remains through a recovered tooth.

Trivia

  • The Helle Craft case had served as a inspiration for the 1996 Coen Brothers black comedy crime film, Fargo, starring Frances McDormand (the wife of the film's director, Joel Coen), William H Macy, Steve Buscemi, Harve Presnell, and Peter Stormare.
    • Like in the Helle Craft case, at the end of the film, one of film's characters named Carl (portrayed by Steve Buscemi) is murdered and is disposed through a woodchipper machine.
  • The case also served as a inspiration for Law and Order: Criminal Intent Series One episode, entitled, "The Good Doctor" in which a successful plastic surgeon is convicted for the murder of his wife with the absence of a body.
    • Unlike the real case, it was depicted in the episode, that the plastic surgeon had dissolved his wife's body in a bathtub of sulfuric acid, before dropping her bones from his small plane into the ocean.
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