Robert Wortman

Robert Eugene Wortman was identified on January 24, 2022, as the lead suspect in the July, 1985 homicide of 63-year-old Helen Margaret Brooks in Apple Valley, California. The case has been cleared by exception due to the death of Wortman.

Brooks’ body was discovered in her home in the Apple Valley Garden Apartments on July 5 during a wellness check after friends and co-workers had not been able to contact her for several days. She is thought to have been killed sometime between July 3 and July 5. She is thought to have died by strangulation with a nylon stocking. Authorities stated that there were no signs of a sexual assault.

A DNA profile of the suspect was developed in 2009. There is no information on who performed the FGG investigation. It has been reported that the case was investigated by the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Office, and the FBI’s Riverside Office.

Wortman was interviewed at the time but denied knowing Brooks or going to her apartment and authorities had no evidence against him.

Wortman died in prison in 1995. He was serving a 22-year sentence for an unrelated sexual assault that took place in 1991 in San Bernardino County. He also had a rape conviction from 1978 in Sonoma County, and a conviction for false imprisonment in San Bernardino County.


Associated Press. “Convicted Rapist Who Died in Prison ID’d as Suspect in Cold Case Killing of Apple Valley Woman.” KTLA 5 News, January 24, 2022. Accessed January 29, 2022.

De La Cruz, Rene Ray. “DNA Helps Identify Violent Rapist as Suspect in Decades-Old Murder of Apple Valley Woman.” Victoriaville Daily Press, January 25, 2022. Accessed January 29, 2022.

Victor Valley News Group. “Man Dies in Prison Before Being Named Suspect in Apple Valley Cold Case Murder.” Victor Valley News Group, January 24, 2022. Accessed January 29, 2022.



First Name Robert
Last Name Wortman
Other Names
Victims 1 (Details)
IGG Started 2021-00-00
Case Cleared 2022-01-24
IGG Org nd


Case ID Name Age Case Opened Location Investigating Org Most Serious Charge Disposition Court
1631 Helen Brooks 63 1985-07-05 Apple Valley, CA San Bernardino CSO; FBI Riverside Second degree murder Case was cleared by exception due to death of perpetrator n/a

Last updated: February 9, 2024

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Case data and narrative licensed under CC BY 4.0: Dowdeswell, Tracey (2023), “Forensic Genetic Genealogy Project v. 2022”, Mendeley Data, V1, doi: 10.17632/jcycgvhm96.1. All other content, including photos, have been added.