All American Girl Lived Life to its Fullest–Nikki LaDue January

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. Feel free to pass this blog along.

I think it’s very important, especially for those who did not know her personally, to have a complete picture of who exactly Nikki LaDue January was. There’s been a lot written about her focusing on her death and what can only be described as a Keystone Kop investigation. We will get to that. I believe Nikki was a victim. But I’d like you to meet Nikki as a person.

Nicole Lynne LaDue

Windswept snow swirled in the tiny town of Angelica, New York on February 27, 1972. The winds howled and the temperatures dropped to just 10 degrees. It was the kind of day where you just wanted to stay home. Nikki had other plans. Bonnie LaDue was in labor. Just past her 19th birthday, this day of all days she would have hers and husband Terry’s first child. Facing the snow and ice, Bonnie and Terry made their way to Hornell where their hospital was. And the waiting began. Nikki wouldn’t come easy. After 12 hours of hemming and hawing, Nichole Lynne LaDue entered the world–a world she would leave a lasting impression on.

“From the day she was born, Nikki drew people to her,” Bonnie said. “Everyone loved her. As a toddler walking downtown with her parents, kids from across the street would shout her name. She was the type of child who loved everyone and would go up to strangers with her arms raised to be picked up.” Bonnie said she was able to teach Nikki about the whole stranger danger thing.

Growing up, she had a laid back personality and very much lived in the moment. She was in this world for a good time. After 5 years as the LaDue’s only child, Nikki’s sister Meredith was born.  Oh this didn’t sit very well with Princess Nikki! No sir. Her kingdom was being invaded by this tiny little thing who was getting a lot of attention. Once she realized this creature wasn’t going away, she grew to love her little sister. And when the time came, she happily accepted another sister into her little world, Amanda. Living in the moment. That was Nikki.

Cheerleading for Angelica Central

Soon, Nikki became a teenager. Couple that with it being the 80’s things got a little tougher for mom and dad. Her mother said she became a bit more “willful.” She was a social butterfly more interested in being with friends and having a good, no great time than sitting in a class room learning about things like trig and chemistry. She had the “big hair” going and knew how to work a can of hair spray.  Still she worked in the family store and showed her school spirit by cheerleading for the Red Raiders. Family friend Bette Hayes remembers her as the All American Girl. “She was funny, very intelligent, humble, a talented pianist, warm, popular, strikingly beautiful,  and genuine.  We loved her like our own child. She warmed my heart.”

One of Nikki’s dearest friends summed her up well in a tribute she wrote in 2007. “Our fun usually consisted of tanning, cruising around, talking, doing nails, getting dressed in general, coloring hair, jamming to music, prank calling, skinny dipping, cooking, fishing, re-arranging, trading clothes, looking at the Victoria’s Secret Catalogs and contemplating boob-jobs, smoking, drinking wine, and going out for the occasional gala,” Amy Russell Waring said. “Sometimes we would get dressed with no place to go. We loved products and loved to test them. I remember she came home one day with a bag full of products that her stylist gave her that clients had returned over time. He did not return them to the vendors in time so he gave them to her – he loved her, of course. She dumped the bag out onto the bathroom vanity as if it was mine and hers – and it was.  This was how she was.”

After high school, Nikki went to college in Buffalo. She wanted to study criminal justice. Instead she lasted about 10 weeks and joined the social scene. The freedom of being on her own was just too great. After withdrawing from school she found a job and stayed in the Buffalo area. Eventually she moved to Olean, New York where she met Mike Williams, one of her downstairs neighbors. It wasn’t long before the casino craze in southern Mississippi came calling. The Grand Casino had just opened in Gulfport, Mississippi and with a promise of good money in a great area, Nikki and Mike made the move south. It turned out, she would be very successful in the casino starting out as a dealer. In 1994 they got married and less than 3 years later, Nikki gave birth to their son Zack. Nikki was made for a lot of things. Mothering was top of the list. She adored Zack even while he kicked and tumbled in her womb. When he was born, there was nothing more important than her little boy. She only wished Mike could be the same. The casino lifestyle was ingrained in Mike and he just wasn’t ready to be a father.  Nikki thought a move to Southern Florida away from the casino life and people would be a better environment for her young family. They packed up and left Mississippi for a fresh start. It didn’t help. “Nikki told me several times that she didn’t think her marriage would work out,” Bonnie said. “Mike was just too irresponsible at the time.” Eventually, they returned to where the work was–Mississippi. They divorced in 1999. Nikki was devastated. She did not like to fail and her break-up with Mike was tough. But they remained close. They had to. Both still worked in the same casino. The same place she would soon find her dream man…someone who could be a father figure to Zack. Someone who she could grow old with. She met Phil January. The century was about to turn to 2000 and things were looking good. Nikki LaDue had just over 2 years left to live.

Zack and Nikki

Next up…Phil January enters Nikki’s and Zack’s lives.

If you have a Nikki story, please post them in the comments. The world needs to know her better.


Posted on November 12, 2011, in Cold Cases, Crime, Murder, Nikki LaDue January and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. logical minded engineer

    I’m sickened by what I’ve reviewed in this case — it sure looks like a sham (staged event). I truly believe that Nikki was murdered, and it makes me mad as hell that law enforcement is not treating this case as an unsolved murder. I have a daughter, and if someone took her life, I’d hunt the SOB down till I found him — irrespective of law enforcement’s willingness to pursue it. I can’t pretend to imagine the pain her family has gone through, and continues to go through each day.

    In terms of requests for assistance, have formal letters been written to: (1) MS Governor, (2) MS Attorney General, (3) MS Senators, (4) MS House of Reps, or (5) FBI? I am inclined to start contacting officials at a high level to bring needed attention to this case, particularly since the local police force is either inept or corrupt?

    First, I would want suicide to be removed from the cause of death. “Suicide” implies that Nikki broke the law, and acted criminally. It bothers me immensely that a victim of a heinous crime has, herself, been labeled a criminal for expediency.

    Second, I want the case re-opened as a murder investigation. This will be harder to achieve. However, I don’t think it’s impossible. In a perfect world, I would love to see the UNSUBs and the investigating police officers subjected to a lie detector test by the FBI.

    It has been stated that one of the police investigators acted very peculiar when questioned — given this, I bet he’d fail a lie detector test.

    It would be great if we could get a TV show to air the details of this case — providing national attention and putting additional pressure on MS authorities to seek answers to many of the unanswered questions. At this point, any exposure is good exposure.

    There is a murderer still enjoying freedom that needs to be brought to justice.

    The Death of Nikki LaDue January: Part XIII
    Posted by Slamdunk on Monday, November 14, 2011

  2. My fondest memories of Nik are of when she was young. I was 14 when she was born and she was my first niece. I spent loads of time with her babysitting,and just spending time. She was such a happy and contented girl. Everyone and I mean everyone loved her.We lived in a very small town where everyone knew each other and if Nikki was in the area town folks would just have to stop and say hello and oogle over her. There WAS something about her and I’m not just saying this because I loved her. Everyone loved her! As a normal,adventurous young adult,regardless of her problems, she always made you feel as though you were the most important person in the whole world. And when Zach entered the world her life became complete. She absolutely worshipped the ground her son walk on. She called him “Baby Angel”. I
    As you can see the real crime here is that a beautiful life was snatched out of our hands without so much as a whit of an investigation. It left a little boy motherless, and a void in all of her family and friends.The grieving continues and the questions remain. What happened to our beautiful Pookie? Thank you for caring and bringing light to her story.

  3. Timothy Donald Fisher

    My name is Timothy Donald Fisher. I have for the last 11 years gone by Don my middle name. 20+ years ago Nikki knew me in high school as Tim. We met at Lamoka Baptist camp. (It is a summer sleep over church camp and I have so many great memories of camp.) We fell quickly in what we thought back then was love and even now I feel was true love :). We continued to date for about a year. The distance between us of over 2 hours was the main thing that split us up. Then years went by and it wasn’t until 2005 that I even gave it/her us any thought. I was married to the wrong woman and got divorced in 2004. I happened to be going by Angelica in the summer of 2005 and for what ever reason that weekend I thought of her. When I happened to inquire about her at the gas station/ general store there was an instant buzz about, so first someone asked who I was and then after I told them they told me she had taken her life. I was immediately greif stricken. I expected to find her happily married with children and living a perfect life. I was in instant denial that this could have happened to her! In the back of my mind was the hope that she was single and we could reunite. At that time I was a very accomplished and successful businessman. My work of electronic chip distribution has taken me all over the world. I have seen a lot of things and been enlighted by a lot of different points of veiw on things. From what I have read and seen and from what I remember of Nikki there is NO WAY she killed herself! I am thoroughly convinced she was murdered! Besides the fact she loved life she was a mom and as a mom the natural maturnal instinct kicks in. Then with her belief system I simply do not see it!
    I could totally see someone having something on that crooked convicted dirty cop and getting him to help cover it up. If you read between the lines it really looks like there is a serious cover up here! I have already said several prayers that justice be done here for her and for her family. My heart goes out to her whole family. From what I remember they were really great people! She also knew my family a little bit and they are also saddened to hear that this has happened. I think what you are doing with this blog is SO AWESOME! If this doesn’t post all over the place please make sure it gets posted to here!
    Warmest Regards,
    TD Fisher

    PS I did remarry in 2009 to a wonderful woman and am very happy with my life has turned out.

  1. Pingback: Bonnie LaDue Remembers the Months Leading to Nikki’s Death « Cold No More

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

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