top of page
  • Writer's pictureMountain State Mysteries

THE MURDER OF NICOLE DAWN MARKLEY

NICOLE WAS LAST SEEN BY HER FAMILY ON JANUARY 17,2003, WHEN SHE LEFT HER HOME IN THE FOUR STATES AREA OF WEST VIRGINIA. SHE WAS WALKING OVER TO HER GRANDMOTHER'S HOUSE SOMETHING THAT SHE DID OFEN.

BUT THIS TIME IT WAS DIFFERENT..

SHE DIDN’T MAKE IT TO HER GRANDMOTHER'S HOUSE. NICHOLE NEVER RETURNED HOME THAT EVENING. WHEN HER MOTHER SHERRY REALIZED SHE NEVER GOT A CALL FROM NICOLE DURING THE DAY SHE STARTED TO GET CONCERNED. 


SHERRY SAID IN AN INTERVIEW THAT “SHE WAS A GOOD KID AND WOULD ALWAYS CHECK IN WITH ME, I THOUGHT MAYBE SHE WAS WITH THE  NEW GUY SHE WAS DATING. BUT SHE WASN’T”


SHERRY TOLD DATELINE SHE HAD A BAD FEELING AND WASN’T TAKING ANY CHANCES, SO CALLED THE MARION COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT AND REPORTED HER MISSING. 

FAMILY AND FRIENDS IMMEDIATELY STARTED SEARCHING THE HILLS IN THE FOUR STATES AREA OF FAIRMONT WV. LOOKING IN SHEDS, BACKYARDS, DITCHES, AND WALKING THRU THE WOODS TRYING TO FIND NICOLE BUT SADLY THERE WAS NO TRACE OF HER. 


TERRI HARRIS NICOLE’S COUSIN SAID “I REMEMBER JUST ALL OF US BEING IN THE BACK OF TRUCKS LOOKING FOR HER IN DITCHES, UP ALONG STREETS, ANYWHERE WE COULD GO, WALKING THE HILLS”.


NICOLE’S 17TH  BIRTHDAY CAME AND GONE. HER FAMILY WERE STILL SEARCHING FOR THE ANSWER OF WHERE NICOLE WAS. 


NICHOLE’S MOTHER SHERRY TOLD DATELINE SHE’LL ALWAYS REMEMBER THE DAY NICOLE WAS BORN BECAUSE IT WAS THE AFTERMATH OF THE FATAL SPACE SHUTTLE CHALLENGER DISASTER ON JANUARY 28TH 1986. 


THE SEARCH FOR NICOLE NEVER STOPPED. ABOUT TWO WEEKS LATER, ON FEBRUARY 1ST, 2003, A HUNTER FOUND HER BODY LAYING FACE DOWN IN THE TEVERBAUGH CREEK IN THE FOUR STATES AREA OF MARION COUNTY.


THE DAY NICOLE’S BODY WAS FOUND, WAS ALSO MARKED BY ANOTHER DISASTER. IT WAS THE DAY OF THE SPACE SHUTTLE COLUMBIA EXPLOSION THAT KILLED ALL SEVEN CREW MEMBERS. 


SHERRY SAID “IT’S JUST SOMETHING I’LL NEVER FORGET” SHERRY SAID.


SHERIFF JIMMY RIFFLE WAS A ROADWAY DEPUTY AT THE TIME, BUT REMEMBERS THE IMPACT THE CASE HAD ON THE COMMUNITY. WHAT THEY INITIALLY THOUGHT WAS THAT NICOLE WAS ANOTHER RUNWAY JUVENILE QUICKLY TURNED INTO A HOMICIDE INVESTIGATION. HE TOLD DATELINE THAT THE MEDICAL EXAMINER CONCLUDED THAT NICOLE’S DEATH WAS A HOMICIDE, WHICH JUMP-STARTED THE INVESTIGATION.


12 NEWS REPORTED THAT THE AUTOPSY RESULTS REVEALED HER CAUSE OF DEATH WAS DROWNING. DEPUTIES WERE CONFIDENT THAT THEY KNEW WHO HER MURDERER WAS. 


TWO YEARS LATER IN JULY OF 2003 20 YEAR-OLD WILLIAM HAMMOND OF FOUR STATES, WAS CHARGED WITH FIRST-DEGREE MURDER IN CONNECTION WITH NICHOLE’S DEATH. 

SHERIFF RIFLE DID NOT GET INTO SPECIFICS ON WHAT LED INVESTIGATORS TO HAMMOND OR WHETHER OR NOT THE TWO KNEW EACH OTHER. 

FIVE MONTHS LATER PROSECUTORS DROPPED THE CHARGES AGAINST HAMMOND. 


ACCORDING TO NBC AFFILIATE WBOY, FORMER MARION COUNTY PROSECUTING ATTORNEY, SUSAN RIFFLE. SAID IN DECEMBER 2003, “WE FELT THE CASE NEEDED MORE INVESTIGATION. WE FELT THE BEST THING FOR THE VICTIM AND FOR JUSTICE WAS TO DISMISS THE INDICTMENT WITHOUT PREJUDICE.”


CHRISTINE HALL, NICOLE’S AUNT SAID “I FLIPPED OUT. I COULDN’T BELIEVE IT.”

NO FURTHER CHARGES HAVE BEEN FILED IN THE CASE. 


 

SHERRY TOLD DATELINE “IT’S NOT FAIR AND IT’S NOT RIGHT. THE ONE WHO TOOK MY CHILD’S LIFE IS OUT THERE RUNNING AROUND FREE. IT’S NOT FAIR FOR HER, NOT FAIR FOR HER FAMILY. NOT FAIR FOR HER SON.”


DETECTIVE KEVIN AIKRE SAID PEOPLE IN THE COMMUNITY OF FOUR STATES ARE STAYING TIGHT-LIPPED. 


“I WOULD SAY PROBABLY SOMEONE IN FOUR STATES, OR MORE THAN ONE INDIVIDUAL, PROBABLY HAS INFORMATION ABOUT THIS CASE AND WE CAN JUST ONE ONE DAY THEY’LL COME FORWARD.”


NICOLE’S SON, JEREMIAH, WAS JUST ONE MONTH AWAY FROM TURNING TWO YEARS OLD WHEN HIS MOTHER WAS KILLED, HE WAS RAISED BY SHERRY AND HER HUSBAND, JEFF. WHEN HE GRADUATED HIGHSCHOOL IN 2020, HE SAID IT WAS IN HONOR OF HIS MOTHER, WHO WASN’T ABLE TO GRADUATE BEFORE SHE WAS KILLED. 


SHERRY SAID “SHE’D BE SO PROUD OF HIM.” SHE ALSO SAID THAT HE’S THE SPITTING IMAGE IF NICHOLE, FROM HER BRIGHT SMILE TO HER SPUNKY ATTITUDE.


SHERRY SAID “WE KEEP HER MEMORY ALIVE FOR HIM, AND FOR US, EVERY HOLIDAY, EVERY BIRTHDAY, EVERY DAY OF OUR LIVES, WE TALK ABOUT HER. 


NICOLE’S FAMILY HOPES THAT KEEPING HER MEMORY ALIVE WILL FUEL THEIR NEVER-ENDING FIGHT FOR JUSTICE. SHE BELIEVES THE PERSON WHO KILLED HER DAUGHTER WAS INFATUATED WITH HER, AND THAT THE CHARGES SHOULD HAVE NEVER BEEN DROPPED. 


SHERRY SAID “HE CONTINUES TO BE FREE, WHILE OUR FAMILY MOURNS, IT’S LIKE A NIGHTMARE THAT NEVER ENDS.”



SHERIFF RIFFLE TOLD DATELINE THAT HE UNDERSTANDS THAT THE FAMILY IS FRUSTRATED OVER THE LACK OF CLOSURE AND STRESSED THAT THEY HAVEN’T GIVEN UP ON HER CASE. 

“THROUGHOUT THE YEARS, THE INVESTIGATION SLOWED DOWN AS WE EXHAUSTED ALL OF OUR LEADS AND TIPS STOPPED COMING IN.”

SHERIFF RIFFLE ADDED THAT THE CASE IS COLD, BUT AS DETECTIVES HAVE TIME, THEY WORK ON IT. 


FOR NOW, NICOLE’S FAMILY VISIT HER MEMORIAL. 

SHERRY SAID THAT HER DAUGHTER’S DEATH WITH ALWAYS HAUNT HER. 


FAMILY MEMBERS HAVE MIXED EMOTIONS ABOUT WHETHER THE CASE WILL EVER BE CLOSED. 


FOR NOW THEY KEEP HER MEMORY ALIVE BY SHARING HER STORY WITH THE COMMUNITY AND ONLINE WITH THE FACEBOOK GROUP (IN MEMORY OF NICOLE DAWN MARKLEY)

MUSIC PAUSE 


ANYONE WITH ANY INFORMATION REGARDING NICOLE’S CASE IS ASKED TO CONTACT THE MARION COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT AT (304)367-5300 




7 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

WHO KILLED LEAH HICKMAN?

LEAH HICKMAN WAS BORN ON NOVEMBER 22ND 1986, IN POINT PLEASANT, WEST VIRGINIA, TO RONALD L. HICKMAN AND SHERRY J (COLE) RUSSELL. LEAH GREW UP IN LEON WEST VIRGINIA. WHEN LEAH WAS IN HIGH SCHOOL SHE PL

bottom of page