Missing Cortland woman found safe, but 'badly beaten', in Nevada

BEATTY, N.V. - A search effort for a missing woman that began in late August concluded Thursday after authorities in a small Nevada town located and arrested her alleged kidnapper.

Jon Wesley Turner, 23, of Elmira, was arrested by the Nye County Sheriff's Office Thursday night in connection with the disappearance of 25-year-old Mary Helms Bartholomew, of Cortland, on Aug. 25.

At around 8:20 p.m. Thursday, an anonymous caller reported that a woman had sustained several injuries after being involved in a physical altercation at a local motel in the town of Beatty. Deputies and medical responders arrived to find Bartholomew suffering from multiple injuries.

She told police that her boyfriend, Jon Turner, beat her, choked her, and left her unconscious on a nearby street. When she regained consciousness, Turner took her to a local motel room where they had been staying and handcuffed her to some furniture, she said. At this point, Turner reportedly continued beating and choking her, even injuring her with a hatchet.

Jon Wesley Turner (Nye County Sheriff's Office)

Bartholomew was able to free herself and flee the motel to call for help. Turner left the motel room but was located nearby and detained for questioning, authorities said.

A subsequent investigation revealed that Turner met Bartholomew online several weeks prior to her disappearance on Aug. 25. Turner was also reported missing on that date by the Broome County Sheriff's Office.

The two formed a relationship, but Turner allegedly forced her to leave New York State with him and threatened to kill her if she did not cooperate.

They drove cross-country in her Hyundai Sonata, eventually abandoning the vehicle in the Big Bear area in southern California. They spent some time in Las Vegas before arriving at the motel in Beatty, and detectives later served a search warrant on the motel room where they were staying to collect evidence.

Bartholomew was treated for her injuries at Las Vegas Hospital, and Turner was arrested and placed in the Nye County Detention Center on $275,000 cash or bond, the sheriff's office said. His charges include first-degree kidnapping, false imprisonment, and battery with a deadly weapon.

Bartholomew's mother, Angela Helms, expressed relief in a Facebook post on the Find Mary Helms Bartholomew Facebook page.

"The most important thing for me as her mother is that she has been found alive and we can bring her back home. To everyone who supported us during this time, thank you. I appreciated the efforts that all of you made to help find her. To Cal Advocates for the Missing - I will never be able to thank you enough for all of your hard work, effort and support. The world is better because people like you are in it," she wrote.

The Nye County Sheriff's Office says its investigating remains ongoing. Anyone with additional information should contact Detective Fancher at 775-751-7004 or by email at NCSO_Detectives@co.nye.nv.us