Was Nikki LaDue January Murdered? Mississippi Police Don’t Seem to Care

Disclaimer: These posts are meant to be interactive. You can read and surf away if you want. Or you can participate. Read carefully about what is said or is claimed to be known. And then weigh in. Your words could have the power to solve these mysteries that continue to torment the families and friends of the victims.

Nikki LaDue January and her son Zack

Nikki LaDue January died on July 29, 2002 in Pass Christian, Mississippi. She was just 30 years old. Her husband Phil January said he wasn’t home that night and had tried calling her several times. A friend of Nikki’s went to check on her. Nikki’s five-year old son Zachary answered the door and said his mommy was sleeping in the bedroom. The friend checked. Nikki wasn’t there. Minutes later Phil arrived home and found Nikki on their balcony with a single gunshot wound to the head. Investigators say she had been dead several hours and quickly determined it was a suicide. But was it? In the coming days you’ll read more about this case and how potentially sloppy investigative work may have let a murder remain free. Equally as important, you will learn who Nikki was, what her dreams were and why suicide seems very unlikely.


Posted on November 5, 2011, in Cold Cases, Crime, Murder, Nikki LaDue January and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. I had looked at her photos at an earlier day and was told by a policeman that your hands don’t fall and land in the middle of your lap, one on top of each other, after you kill yourself.

  2. Thank you for featuring Nikki’s case. It’s been way too long of a search for justice for her family, especially her son. It’s a story ripe with info and has long needed someone to take it to another level. Her FB page has 5000 friends and she has a FanPage too and a website with a blog. So many people know about this case, how come so many stay silent?
    Again so glad you’re looking at this. We look forward to your new endeavor!

  3. I agree with you. I am a criminal investigator and have been working with the family on this cold case. Questions I have are many, but I’ll state a few right now as the magnitude of the problems involved in what I can only say as the most sloppy investigation I’ve seen in my 2 decades of investigation work.
    1) police report states they found Nikki on the balcony with her head tilted back, leaning to the right.
    2) the entry point Of the bullet was in her right temple, with the exit wound coming out of her left temple.
    3) how could she shoot herself with her right hand, through her right temple, and her head be laying pointing upward to the right?

    If she shot herself in the right temple, wouldn’t you think her head would be
    Slumping to the left?
    4) how did the pistol land in her chair in between her legs, with the pistol grip pointing to her left thigh? After she allegedly shot herself in the right temple!!!

    Than take a loom at where the blood splatter is and where it is not!

    • Everything you said went through my mind as well. The placement of the gun particularly stands out as a red flag. Perhaps I can lean on you as I progress through this for your insight. I haven’t written about this yet as I’m just getting started but from what I understand her husband gave conflicting statements about where the gun was. One was “in her lap” the other was to the side on a piece of furniture I think. Given the perversion later discovered with the chief investigator (oh yeah people, this case will blow you away) could he have placed the gun in that position for his own “enjoyment”?

  4. I have recently had a client of mine commit suicide according to the autopsy and police. I had some concerns and still do but I checked out with a trusted colleague who specialized in death investigations and I learned that suicide is one of those things that crosses so many options, from no warning to years of warning for the family and loved ones. Also I learned that women generally do not choose the gun shot method but if they do most of the time they do not shoot themselves in the head because of the way their face will look after ward. My client allegedly shot herself in the chest and the bullet went through her heart and she used a pillow.

    What I am wondering is being that this case is in Pass Christian, how does that affect the chain of evidence post Katrina if at all?

    She was a beautiful lady, and anything I can do to assist or add another brain to the mix let me know.

  5. logical minded engineer

    From a friendly observer:

    (1) The Model 400 MKII .380 is a double action semi-auto pistol. A double action design is inherently safer than a single action design. In the double action pistol, the hammer returns to its full de-cocked position after each shot. A subsequent shot requires full travel of the trigger. Also the trigger pull on a double action is heavier than a single action pistol — and if I believe what I read on the web, the Model 400 MKII 0.380 had a notoriously heavy trigger pull (i.e. the amount of resistance the trigger offers to being pulled back to fire the weapon . . . usually measured in ounces). What I am getting to here is that this gun would NOT have had a “hair trigger” that could have accidently caused the gun to fire by simply handling it (i.e. accidently bumping the trigger). To fire this gun, the action taken would have been deliberate — a long heavy pull of the trigger.

    (2) When a gun fires, physics states that for “every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” The gun naturally recoils in the opposite direction from the direction it is aimed. From a report on the internet, I learned that the victim was right-handed and was shot in the right temple (bullet exiting left side of head close to the ear). I didn’t see a picture of the victim’s hand in the crime scene photo, but I would suspect the the gun would be at or outside the location of the hand if death was immediate (and it would have been with this shot) — NOT at the victim’s crotch as the photo shows. Also, had the victim committed suicide, the victims hand and head would have shown evidence of gun powder residue — which wasn’t even tested for (pathetic). At close range, the victims head would also have shown powder burns from the scalding hot gas exiting the muzzle (no mention of this). In ballistic ratings, a 0.380 is a fairly small bullet without lower percentages of 1-shot stopping power over higher calibers (i.e. 38 special, 40 caliber, 45 caliber, etc). However, at close range with the bullet entering the victim’s temple, death would have been instantaneous. When a bullet, even a relatively small caliber like this, enters the body, it transmits a tremendous amount of energy to the body. The hard skull would have caused a FMJ or lead bullet to pancake a bit (increases bullet effective diameter). Damage would have extended well beyond the wound channel, as the pressure wave would have turned the soft brain tissue to mush well outside of the wound channel. No doubt about it in my mind, this was an immediate death.

    (3) The resting position of the firearm in the crime scene photo seems odd to me. The victim is right handed, and would have held the gun in her right hand when pulling the trigger (as evidenced by being shot in the right temple). To place the gun in the position as shown (which is delicately balanced on the edge of the stool and under the thigh), the action would have had to be deliberate and an indication that the victim was not killed instantly. In effect, as the victim placed the gun down, her hand would have been under the gun. This implies she simply didn’t drop it in that position. The most plausible scenario was that she moved her right hand to her this, put the grip under her thigh (to anchor it), and then moved her hand from beneath the fire-arm (delicately balancing the gun at the edge of the stool), after which she fell backwards dead . . . her weight shifting in the process . . . without the gun dropping to the floor. This whole chain of events is absurd to me. I’d have to still believe in Santa Claus to think this is what really happened.

    (4) The final observation that troubles me is the blood spatter all over the floor (to the left and right of the victim’s foot), with none seen on the top of her foot. This makes no physical sense and a complete improbability in my mind. What’s equally strange is what appears to blood residue on the bottom of her foot. It appears to me that she was standing in her own blood. I can’t resolve this in my head. If I was standing on the floor when I shot myself in the head, there would be no blood on the bottom of my foot, and the contact my foot made with the floor would prevent it from becoming bloodied. After shooting myself in the head, I would collapse . . . . which from the photo suggests the victim fell backwards, with her right foot now dangling in the air above the floor. The only way that I can surmise the victim bloodied the bottom of her foot was to shoot herself, wait for blood loss from the head to soak the carpet, and then step in it (while in the process cleaning the top of my foot with a napkin to remove the spatter located there). All of this just seems absurd to me.

    The fact that this case was ruled a suicide is a travesty of justice. I see nothing to support such claims, and any evidence that would have easily proved otherwise either wasn’t collected or documented. This case wreaks of incompetence or a cover-up. Well, at least that’s my viewpoint from what I’ve reviewed — recognizing that I’m not a criminologist, just a logical minded engineer.

  1. Pingback: A Catch-Up Post For the Nikki LaDue January Case « Cold No More

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