Names of victims in Brunswick County stabbings released; suspect makes first appearance

Names of stabbing victims released

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WECT) - Officials with the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office released the names of the victims in a double fatal stabbing in the Shallotte area.

Dennis Edmund Rowell, 66, and Theresa Lee Rowell, 55, were killed in the incident. Irene Elizabeth Rowell, 19, was injured in the attack early Wednesday morning.

Helms made his first appearance in court Thursday morning and the judge ordered that he continue to be jailed without bond.

Deputies were called to respond to the home on Iveystone Court around 4:40 a.m. in reference to a stabbing. During a frantic 911 call to dispatchers, Irene Rowell said Helms, who she identified as a family friend, stabbed her and her parents.

On the way to the home, law enforcement spotted the Kia Optima driven by the man they believed was involved.

Torrence O'Neal Helms Jr. (Source: BCSO)
Torrence O'Neal Helms Jr. (Source: BCSO)

Deputies pursued the car, reaching speeds of approximately 105 mph, before performing a pursuit intervention technique (PIT) maneuver, which caused the vehicle to crash into a wooded area off Ocean Isle Beach Road near US 17, about five miles away from Iveystone Court.

Helms, 30 of Calabash, was apprehended after a brief foot chase and taken to the hospital to be treated for injuries.

He was later booked into the Brunswick County Detention Center under no bond and charged with two counts of murder, one count of attempted murder, robbery with a dangerous weapon, flee/elude arrest with a motor vehicle, and resisting a public officer.

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