Apr 8, 2021
Occasionally when doing an interview, I'm treated
to a bit of ancillary history. Once, when I was listening to the
tape of an interview with a D-Day, I was annoyed by a radio playing
in an adjacent room. Then I realized the veteran's wife was
listening to a basketball game, and that it was a Knicks playoff
game. That was kind of cool, I thought, as it brought back memories
of my years working in the sports department of the New York Post,
where I began a five decade career, as a newspaper copy editor.
Charles Vorhees was a tank driver who was involved in two important episodes in lmy father's tank battalion's history. He was there when Quentin "Pine Valley" Bynum was killed at Bras, Luxembourg, during the Battle of the Bulge, and he was wounded in the explosion that killed Lieutenant Ed Forrest. As the interview was winding down, he was talking about his family, and I asked if he had any siblings. He had a sister, he said. And then he said she disappeared.
Yes, he said.
Sandwiched between the kidnaping of the Lindbergh baby and the trial of O.J. Simpson, a strong candidate for the Crime of the Century was the 1977 murder of the Brach candy heiress: Helen Vorhees Brach.
Charles' sister was a coat check girl who married the founder of the Brach candy company, makers of candy corn for Halloween, jelly beans for Easter, chocolate covered raisins and a slew of other treats.
Her disappearance has never been solved, although a man she took up with following her husband's death was convicted of conspiracy to commit murder, sentenced to life in prison, and was released in 2019 at age 87. There have been several books and TV specials, as well as a number of true crime podcasts about the case.
But now, back to World War II and my interview with Charles Vorhees who talks about his sister near the end of the tape. I'm Aaron Elson. Thank you for listening, and please, consider supporting War As My Father's Tank Battalion Knew It by checking out my books at amazon and the interview CDs in my eBay store.
The usual suspects: