Court records reveal criminal history of suspects shot during hostage incident near Dayton airport

VANDALIA — New documents are providing more information into the two suspects shot and killed by Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers during a hostage incident Wednesday.

News Center 7 spent all day looking into the backgrounds of 54-year-old Rodney Helman and 51-year-old Elaine Helman, the two people shot and killed by troopers in Vandalia.

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The names the Helman’s gave to London Police during a traffic stop that started the hours-long chase-turned-hostage situation were fake.

“My name’s Ronald,” Rodney told a London officer early Wednesday morning, as seen in body camera video obtained through a public records request.

He and Elaine presented themselves as Ronald and Barbara Taylor, but they couldn’t provide any identification and claimed to not remember their social security numbers.

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Dash and body camera video showed them take off in their minivan from the initial traffic stop when the officer went to check things out. They drove about five minutes to a truck stop where they got into the unlocked cabin of a semi and forced the driver to help them run again. Police said one of them had a gun.

The chase lasted 40 miles and ended on Dayton International Airport Access Road around 3:30 a.m. After an hours-long standoff, the pair got caught in a shootout with troopers. Both Elaine and Rodney died from their injuries later that morning.

The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigations told News Center 7 Thursday afternoon that the Helman’s last known address was in Vandalia. Newly uncovered court documents showed that they were evicted from a Butler Twp. home in 2018.

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More court documents indicated Rodney was arrested on drug charges in at a home in Vandalia in 2020. We also learned Elaine served brief prison time in 2020 for a receiving stolen property conviction.

Late Thursday afternoon, News Center 7 obtained police video showing a December 2022 incident where Rodney was pulled over by Moraine police. The video showed him driving away from police, stopping to let his mom out, and then driving away at a high speed. Moraine police told our team that they then found four active warrants for his arrest.

Wednesday’s incident that led to the deadly officer-involved shooting and the shooting itself are still under investigation.

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