Updated at 1:47 Wednesday with Helfrich's funeral information.
Matt Helfrich, an imposing-looking but good-natured volunteer and occasional fill-in DJ for 90.1 KPFT FM, has been identified as the man stabbed to death at the Skylane Apartments on West Alabama around 9 p.m. this past Saturday night, station manager Duane Bradley told Rocks Off this morning.
Bradley said he confirmed Helfrich's identity with the Harris County Medical Examiner's office, and announced it on the air earlier this morning. Helfrich, 42, lived at the Skylane Apartments, a notoriously crime-ridden complex near the 527/U.S. 59 spur into downtown.
"It was a pretty rough little apartment complex," Bradley said, "not just from what Matt told me, but from another volunteer." This unnamed volunteer, Bradley added, initially told him of Helfrich's death.
Helfrich first came to KPFT through Ray Hill's The Prison Show, Bradley said, and "found some interesting musical characters" at the station. Although he never actually had a regular DJ time slot, he would sometimes fill in late at night and recorded the "Unknown Music Show" podcast at the station.
Helfrich was also friends with the DJs for the overnight Thursday program Ejacula, Bradley said.
Bradley said that he did not know very much about Helfrich's background, but that his parents live in Angleton and another volunteer had told him the two grew up together near Columbus.
Helfrich often wore dark sunglasses indoors, Bradley said, and had a "ZZ Top-ish beard." His interests included "pagan Earth things," body art, wrestling and "metallic sounds."
"People who didn't know him were usually initially frightened of him, but he was really pretty much of a sweetheart," Bradley said.
According to HPD's report, Helfrich was seen arguing with several unknown males, who fled on foot after he was stabbed. The department is treating Helfrich's death as a homicide, and anyone with any information should call the Homicide Division at 713-308-3600 or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS (8477).
Memorial plans are pending. Bradley sent out the following statement at around 1:15 Tuesday afternoon:
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It is with a profound sense of loss that we share news of the tragic death of KPFT volunteer staff member Matt Helfrich.
Matt was a frequent presence at the station, having come to KPFT in the late '90's.
Matt helped out at most community events, especially music shows like the annual Watermelon Dance, as one of the attached photos illustrates (above.
He was a regular on Fridays, volunteering as he could for the Prison Show and doing whatever to help out.
He was a constant during our fund drives and assisted the membership department with gift fulfillment, mailings and more.
Matt had his demons and challenges to deal with in life, as we all do, but his heart was in a place of service and good intention.
Matt was killed by an unknown assailant who he confronted in the courtyard of his apartment complex at 219 W. Alabama.
He was stabbed once in the right chest and died at Ben Taub Hospital Saturday evening at 9:23 P.M.
Bradley emailed Helfrich's funeral arrangements Wednesday afternoon:
The funeral will be held this Saturday, October 23 at 11 a.m. at St. Roch Catholic Church, Mentz, TX (just northeast of Columbus; exit 704 or 699 from I-10, then north to Mentz).
Prayer service and rosary: Friday, 7 p.m. at Henneke Funeral Home in Columbus. Visitation at same location Friday from noon-8 p.m. and prior to funeral at church Saturday from 10-11 a.m.
Burial will be at St. Roch Cemetary next to the church immediately following the funeral.
There will be an altar set up in pledge central at the station as well.