Blog Archives

Shining a Light on Mississippi’s Dark Secret


Lead investigator Thomas Pustay who later was convicted of sexual abuse of a child

Nichole Lynne LaDue was born February 27, 1972 in Hornell, New York. She died July 29, 2002 in Pass Christian, Mississippi. She was 30. Those dates bookend the life of the woman everyone knows as Nikki. Much of what happened between those dates remains a mystery. We know she died of a gunshot wound to her head. We know both the lead investigator Thomas Pustay and the county coroner Gary Hargrove immediately ruled her death a suicide. What else do we know? At the time of Nikki’s death, Detective Pustay admitted he was severely depressed. He was also engaging in child molestation for which he is now serving what amounts to the rest of his life in prison. As  for Gary Hargrove, the person who ruled Nikki’s death a suicide, he too has a questionable history. In July 2007, CNN investigated Hargrove and the Harrison County jail about a series of inmate deaths. Guards beat at least 4 to death. CNN talked to the family of Lee Smith, one of the murdered inmates. You can read the entire transcript here, but there are some key points made that I want to bring your attention to…namely that Gary Hargrove is either incompetent, corrupt or both and should not now nor ever be in a position to affect the outcome of so many lives. He belongs in a cell alongside Pustay. It’s what CNN calls Mississippi’s “little dark secret.” Folks, it’s that dark secret that will be delaying a bit my final thoughts on who killed Nikki LaDue January. Because what happened in tiny Pass Christian, Mississippi is not new. So much gets swept under the rug in that state it’s hard to believe it’s a part of this country. Here is a portion of that CNN investigation. Read the rest of this entry

You’ve Read the Interviews, Saw the Pictures-Who do You Think Killed Nikki LaDue January?


Who killed Nikki LaDue January? Was it suicide like the botched investigation showed? Was it someone she knew? I will sum up all my thoughts on this next week. In the meantime, who do you think?

Phil January Interview with PI (Part 9 and final)


Nikki and her son Zack

Now to the final part of the interview Phil January gave to a Private Investigator back in April 2003. His wife Nikki had been dead for 10 months, ruled a suicide by the Pass Christian, Mississippi police and Harrison County coroner.  For more details, refer to this posting  which chronicles everything from Nikki’s early life to her death. Nikki’s mom hired a private investigator to look into Nikki’s case. As part of that investigation, he interviewed Phil. Phil found Nikki dead on the couple’s balcony after traveling home from Louisiana. He admits they had several phone calls in the early morning up until about 1:30 a.m. and that the phone calls were filled with anger at times. It’s the police and coroner’s assumption that those phone calls caused Nikki to kill herself, disregarding her little boy in the room next to her. Now back to Phil’s interview with the PI. In front of Nikki’s body was a table. We resume the interview there. Read the rest of this entry

Phil January Interview with PI (Part 8 of many)


Nikki and Zack

Now to Part 8 of the interview Phil January gave to a Private Investigator back in April 2003. His wife Nikki had been dead for 10 months, ruled a suicide by the Pass Christian, Mississippi police and Harrison County coroner.  For more details, refer to this posting  that chronicles everything from Nikki’s early life to her death. Nikki’s mom hired a private investigator to look into Nikki’s case. As part of that investigation, he interviewed Phil. Today, Phil talks about finding Nikki’s body on the couple’s balcony. After he and Nancy Burges, Nikki’s closest friend, searched the condo looking for her, Phil said he noticed the balcony door was ajar. Read the rest of this entry

Phil January Interview with PI (Part 5 of many)


Onto Part 5 of the interview Phil January gave to a Private Investigator back in April 2003. His wife Nikki had been dead for 10 months, ruled a suicide by the Pass Christian, Mississippi police and Harrison County coroner.  For more details, refer to this posting that chronicles everything from Nikki’s early life to her death. Nikki’s mom hired a private investigator to look into Nikki’s case. As part of that investigation, he interviewed Phil. In Part 4, Phil said one person he suspects is their condo co-owner Paul Morrell. Here is part 5 of that interview transcribed by a friend of Nikki’s mother Bonnie. Phil has another person of interest. Read the rest of this entry

Phil January Interview with PI (Part 4 of many)


Back to the interview Phil January gave to a Private Investigator back in April 2003. His wife Nikki had been dead for 10 months, ruled a suicide by the Pass Christian, Mississippi police and Harrison County coroner. Keep in mind there was no investigation, no autopsy and all the circumstances surrounding her death, a single gunshot wound to the head, were suspect at best. In the minds of everyone except the authorities this was a murder. Her husband was in the process of driving back from Louisiana where he had just started a new job. Nikki was supposed to have been packing up in preparation for their move. However, several people have said Nikki had no intention of moving. Her plan was to let Phil think she was moving, take a planned trip to visit her family in Florida with her 5-year old son Zack and the person she thought was her best friend Nancy Burge. When Phil arrived to their condo on July 29, 2002 he found Nancy in the there telling him she couldn’t find Nikki. Phil found her dead on the couple’s balcony. For more details, refer to this posting that chronicles everything from Nikki’s early life to her death. Nikki’s mom hired a private investigator to look into Nikki’s case. As part of that investigation, he interviewed Phil. Here is part 4 of that interview transcribed by a friend of Nikki’s mother Bonnie. Read the rest of this entry

A Catch-Up Post For the Nikki LaDue January Case


A couple of readers who have joined recently are looking for a way to catch up on Nikki LaDue January’s story so when new posts come up, they understand a bit more about the case. So here, in one post is a “primer” if you will on Nikki’s case including links to some of the posts. Read the rest of this entry

Phil January Interview with PI (Part 3 of many)


When we left off, Nikki LaDue January’s husband Phil explained to a Private Investigator the drug addiction he said Nikki had. In this installment, he goes further into the night of April 28, 2002 and the incident that made her come clean to him about her addiction. These are actual transcriptions of the taped interview. Read the rest of this entry

Phil January Interview with PI (Part 2 of many)


Sorry it’s been awhile. Been going through my hate mail. Continuing now with the interview Nikki LaDue January’s husband Phil gave to a private investigator back in April 2003.

Nikki and Phil January

PI: Let’s talk about Nikki. Nikki was uh, uh, a vivacious woman by all accounts. Very social. But also had a uh by all accounts, uh had a drug problem. Can you tell me – uh – about her – about what you know about what she was using, who she was using with, and the extent of her drug problem?

Phil: Uh – I didn’t know about her drug problem until she came clean three months earlier.

PI: And that was the note that was left?

Phil: That was on April 28th. I had no idea. She tells me in the note which you have probably read that it started out as recreational, she was doing (indistinguishable) and she said that she had gotten up to about 7 or 8 a day and that she also did some cocaine. Um Read the rest of this entry

Mathematical Reasons Nikki’s Death Was Murder


I’ll be honest here. This promoted comment to a post by Logical Minded Engineer is WAY above my head! If you’ve ever wondered why paying attention in math class was important, read on. He makes some great points. As always, thanks LME for your insightful comments.

Math = Murder! Read the rest of this entry

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,213 other followers