Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Lost wife's skeleton found at home

American police have found the remains of a missing wife walled up in the family home

The skeleton of a wife reported missing by her husband 27 years ago has been found hidden in a wall of the basement of their house.

Teacher JoAnn Nichols was said to have vanished in December 1985 by her husband, James in Poughkeepsie, New York.

Mr Nichols died of natural causes last year aged 82. A contractor cleaning hoarded items and debris out of the Nichols' home found the bones in a sealed container behind a false basement wall.

The local medical examiner's office identified the remains as those of JoAnn Nichols, based on dental records and said she died from a blow to the head. Police say the investigation into her death continues.

Mr Nichols told detectives he last saw his wife when he left for work that morning, and that he found a typed note when he got home. There was speculation that JoAnn Nichols was despondent over their only child's drowning death three years earlier, when he was 25.

Jeannie Foster, 71, a friend of the couple, said after the find that she never suspected James Nichols in his wife's disappearance. She described JoAnne as down-to-earth and a delight to be with. But she said James was odd and once showed guests the frozen carcass of a pet cat he kept in a basement freezer.

Police Chief Thomas Mauro said "Police will continue the investigation by further examination of the case and new forensic evidence."

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Latest News

Latest Sport

Latest Showbiz