Corridor woman remembers 2002 mailbox bomb terror that changed her life

Doris Zimmerman, one of the 2002 Midwestern mailbox bombings survivors, recalls the day the bomb in her mailbox went off and threw her across the street with Kayla James.

For many people in Eastern Iowa, the terror in Austin, Texas caused by the packaged bombs is a familiar feeling. It is something that one Jones County Woman can relate to.

"I still got some stuff in my hands and my arms from the bomb,” said Doris Zimmerman, one of the few people injured by the 2002 Midwestern bombings.

Sixteen years ago, 61- year old Doris Zimmerman was opening her mailbox when everything instantly changed.

"It exploded and blew me across the highway and I ended up stuffed in the field about 150 feet away,” said Zimmerman.

Doris is one of six survivors who were injured by several bombs left by then college student Lucas Helder.

Now 76-years-old, she lives with her husband in the same home, and is still dealing with the aftermath.

"It bothered my hearing. I have trouble hearing,” said Zimmerman.

Lucas Helder traveled across several Midwestern states, planting bombs in mailboxes that left members of local law enforcement confused.

"At that time, we really weren't sure were we just dealing with kind of a prank that was taken too far with a large device or was this larger than that,” said Greg Graver, Sheriff at the Jones County Sheriff’s Office.

Graver was part of the county's investigative unit then. He remembers being one of the first people on the scene and one of the last ones to leave.

"We also didn't know could they have been targeted and so I spent the night as kind of security for them,” explained Sheriff Graver.

Helder was caught a few evenings later and the Zimmerman family were notified the next day, but for Doris the situation is something that will stay with her forever.

"You just never know when it's going to happen. I don't know why that boy happened to choose our mailbox out here. It was hard,” said Zimmerman.

At one point Lucas Helder did face federal charges but was deemed incompetent to stand trial. He is currently being held at a federal medical center in Minnesota.

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