On a dark and cold January day the partially nude body of Barry Alan Helling of Snellville, Georgia was found lying face-up in a ditch approximately 200 yards from I-20 exit 162 in Riverside, Alabama. Helling’s was barefoot and without a shirt, yet he still was wearing expensive jewelry. He had been murdered execution style with a 32-caliber bullet to the back of his head. The victim was last scene leaving his residence the morning of December 9, 2006. St Clair County sheriff’s detectives were later to learn that after leaving his home Helling had received a call on his cell phone from his believed assassin, a nameless man who would become known as the Traveler.

The Traveler received his nickname because of the hundreds of miles he would travel using Helling’s credit cards. Detectives Billy Murray and Randy Hurst would log over 7000 miles in search of Helling’s killer.

Mr. Helling lived in a small bedroom community within the Atlanta metro area, Snellville has a population of around 15 thousand, a tiny town known for the slogan on its city limit signs: “Everybody’s Somebody In Snellville.” Yet very few people actually knew Helling. By all accounts he live a quiet life with his long-time companion Larry Little. The couple had been living together for almost three decades at the time of Helling’s disappearance. Helling was a prosperous retired executive from a large firm in metro Atlanta. He had just recently returned to work doing consulting for his old firm. However, according to Helling’s companion Larry Little their life was lived quietly like many other “homebodies.” Little has said that Helling’s real passion was watching railroad trains. He was a railroad train enthusiasts and a member of a group known as “railfans.”

The morning of his disappearance Helling had told Little that he was going “training” (which meant he was going to a train crossing and observe trains) and that he would be home around noon. Helling was reportedly so well known around the railroads that even the conductors knew him, and they too call him Santa Claus.

Little would never hear from Helling again even though he placed repeated calls to his cell phone. However, Helling did answer a phone call that morning made from a payphone inside a Wal-Mart in Suwannee, Georgia. The call, investigators believe, was from the Traveler and that unknowing to Helling he had accepted a deadly meeting.

Surveillance tape from the Wal-Mart shows a man believed to be the Traveler around the area of the pay phones at the approximate time Helling received the call.

The suspect was a white male, 45-65 years of age, height: 5’7” to 5’10”, weight: 200 lbs to 230 lbs.

Why would Helling take a call from this man and not his long-time partner? Why was Helling meeting the Traveler and how did the Traveler get Helling’s cell phone number?

According to Larry Little, he and Helling lived a quiet and private life. Little said that they had a stable committed relationship and that they did not partake in the gay life-style of Atlanta. Detectives were to discover that Helling was perhaps leading a double life as credit card records would later show that he had visited a number of hotels that attracted sorted liaisons. They also would later learn that Helling was visiting hardcore pornographic websites that depicted the homosexual life-style. How did these things figure into Helling’s disappearance and death? The investigators have never found a clear connection and these actions have caused more question than answers. It is reported and believed that Helling’s partner was truly shocked and fully unaware of these activities.

Investigators believe that Helling met the Traveler in the area of the Walmart in Suwannee, Georgia. Helling’s car was discovered in the parking lot at Wal-Mart three weeks after his disappearance. While no one knew if Helling was dead or alive the activity on his many credit cards were lighting up everywhere.

Helling carried in his wallet some 23 credit cards with limits reaching as high as $30,000 on one card. Surveillance tape clearly shows the man called the Traveler using one of Helling’s cards just hours after the faithful phone call.

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