Christi Jo met Mark Nichols when she was 19-years-old, they got married and had two children. Rumors began swirling that the couple was having marital problems and Mark was allegedly abusing Christi. Mark discovered that Christi was meeting up with an abuse counselor and divorce attorney, which made him very angry. On December 10th, 1987, Mark and Christi took the kids out for pizza and to see Santa. Later that night, they got a babysitter and the couple went out to the bar. Christi went missing and Mark's behavior was very sketchy. This case is unsolved and is classified as a homicide.
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Christi Jo Nichols: This is an unsolved case from Nebraska
Christi Jo Nichols was born on September 6th, 1965 in Overton, Nebraska. Her parents divorced when she was young and her mom ended up remarrying. Christi already had two siblings and now she gained three stepbrothers. Christi was described as very shy, quiet and smart when she was growing up. She prioritized family and dreamed of having a family of her own and becoming a mother.
After graduating high school, Christi attended a semester of college and realized it just wasn't for her. She dropped out of school and decided to move to Gothenburg, Nebraska so she could live with her grandmother, Violet Williams. This arrangement seemed best for her as she no longer wanted to follow the rules that her mother and stepfather set in place for her. Gothenburg is located in the heart of Nebraska's farm belt and had a strong sense of community. Christi was only 19 when she met Mark Nichols and they got married. The couple had two children, Lindsey, born in December 1984 and Preston, born in April 1986.
People that were close to Christi said that she was a dedicated mother and her life revolved around Mark and her children. Rumors were eventually swirling around this small town and Mark's uncle, who owned the bar where Christi was employed, began sensing stress between the couple.
They had marital problems and Mark was allegedly physically abusing Christi and monitoring her phone calls. Christi had to go to the hospital emergency room on one occasion for injuries that she said Mark caused. She went to see an abuse counselor and Mark was extremely angry when he found out and made her promise to never go again, but she did anyway.
On December 9th, 1987, Christi met with a divorce attorney. She was scared that Mark would find out so she went to an attorney that was out of town. The attorney stated that Christi was extremely stressed and appeared to have been beaten. Christi told the attorney that she wanted a divorce and custody of her children. The attorney advised her not to return home, but she refused. They decided to set up another meeting and they planned to contact the authorities to press charges against Mark for the abuse. The attorney contacted the Gothenburg Police Department to report the abuse. It's believed that the police chief tipped off Mark as the two were good friends.
Christi went to Mark's parents' house because they were babysitting the children. The parents ended up refusing to let Christi take the kids and the police were called. The police chief told her Mark was in his right to withhold the children and she was going to be arrested if she didn't leave the property. Christi made a visit to the abuse counselor later this day.
On of December 10th, 1987 Mark and Christi took the kids to see Santa, had dinner at Pizza Hut and went home. That evening, Mark and Christi left their two kids with a babysitter and went to the bar in Gothenburg, Nebraska that Christi worked at. According to Mark, they played pool, laughed and had a good time. This was a relief for Mark because he stated that they day before they went to the bar, things were uncomfortable because they weren't getting along.
After midnight, they left the bar and stopped by an all-night convenience store. Mark arrived home between 12:30 to 1:00 AM and the babysitter was in front of the TV doing homework and he paid the babysitter in cash. Typically, Christi was the one that paid the sitter and she always used a check. Mark said that Christi was home, but the babysitter never saw her.
Mark reported Christi missing later in the day on December 11th. He said he went to bed around 2:00 AM and the kids got him up at 7:00 AM. This is when Mark realized that Christi was missing. He searched the house and noticed that a suitcase was gone. At 9:30 AM, Christi's mother called and Mark lied, saying that Christi was still asleep because he didn't want to worry her.
Later in the morning, Mark took the children to Christi's grandmother's home and asked if she could babysit while he searched for Christi. He says he spent two hours driving around the area, but was unable to locate Christi. One thing to keep in mind is that Gothenburg is a very small town in Nebraska and nobody in town noticed Mark driving around.
Mark moved out of the house the day after his wife's disappearance. A few days later, he packed up their belongings and sold both of their vehicles. Mark says that Christi took a suitcase and her purse with her and was able to describe the contents exactly: the suitcase contained jeans, a sweatshirt, a bra and a jacket. The purse had a hairbrush, a pen, a lighter, a matchbook, lipstick, Neutrogena cream, a nail file, a mirror and one piece of gum.
The suitcase and purse were both located with everything still inside, at an Interstate 80 rest stop near Maxwell, Nebraska in March 1988. Authorities believe that whoever placed the items there, wanted them to be found. All of Christi's belongings were left behind such as her diamond jewelry and driver's license. She also never picked up her last paycheck from the bar where she worked part time.
During the investigation, trace amounts of Christi's blood was discovered on the floor of her bedroom and in the trunk of Mark's 1977 Mercury Cougar. Mark told investigators that the blood in the room was from her periods, but the analysis proved this to be untrue.
In 1989, Mark was interviewed about Christi's disappearance by reporters for the Unsolved Mysteries TV show. Mark said the only time one of their arguments escalated into violence was when Christi hit and kicked him and burned his neck with a cigarette after he asked her to stay home one night. He said he tossed her on a waterbed in self-defense and she accidentally got injured in the process.
In 1990, Mark filed for divorce from Christi and said she deserted him. He claimed she left on her own accord, abandoning him and the children. Authorities believe she was seeing another man at the time of her disappearance. A note was discovered from Christi after the disappearance and it was addressed to the other man. Christi wrote that she would be leaving after Christmas, but promised to contact this man within a few months. Investigators interviewed this person and he was ruled out as a suspect in the case.
Mark did end up doing a polygraph test in 1987, but the results were inconclusive. He is living in Arkansas with his third wife and Christi's disappearance is classified as homicide. Mark is the only suspect in this case. Christi's case remains unsolved.
Both family cars were parked in the driveway when Christ supposedly packed a bag and vanished in the middle of the night. This was December in Nebraska which means, it's cold and very snowy. I looked it up and the high on this day was about 36 degrees Fahrenheit, but it would have been much colder in the middle of the night.
Mark never contacted family members to see if they had heard from Christi or seen her. He just took the kids to Christi's grandmother's home and claimed he did his own search before finally reporting her missing. Mark was able to tell the investigators every item that was missing from the home and that's exactly what ends up being discovered in the suitcase and purse. Who on earth could identify every item that is missing from their home?
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