Real Name: Christi Jo Nichols
Nicknames: No known nicknames
Location: Gothenburg, Nebraska
Date: December 11, 1987
Date Of Birth: September 6, 1965
Weight: 120 lbs
Marital Status: Married
Characteristics: Brown hair and green eyes
Details: Christi Nichols is the wife of Mark Nichols of Gothenburg, Nebraska and the mother of two children, who vanished on December 11, 1987. Mark and Christi married when he was nineteen; according to who her family and friends, her life centered around Mark and their children. However, prior to her disappearance, their marriage seemed to be falling apart. Christi reportedly began seeing another man. Ten days before she vanished, she went to the hospital for treatment of an injury that occurred during an argument with Mark. According to rumors, they had a rough marriage with her at the brunt of several strange injuries, however Mark has denied all accusations of doing physical harm unto Christi. He claimed that she was the one that attacked him, and that he had only hurt her in self-defense. The doctor who treated her, however, felt that she was being abused by Mark. She did not make much eye contact with the doctor and seemed scared of Mark, who was waiting just outside the door. According to Christi's cousin, Debbie, she had said that she was being abused by Mark. She even showed Debbie a bruise on her side, which she claimed was from him hitting her. Once again, he claimed that this argument never occurred.
Two days before she vanished, Christi talked to lawyer Claude Berreckman about getting a divorce. She was afraid that Mark would find out, so she went to Claude because he worked in a different town. He noted that she seemed very frightened of Mark. She told him about how he had abused her multiple times. Claude and Christi planned on contacting the police to file charges against Mark for abuse. However, she vanished before this could occur. Claude did not believe that she would've fled, since they were planning on filing the charges against Mark at a later date.
The day after she met with Claude, Christi went shopping with Mark and their children. That evening, they decided to go out, so they hired teenager Diane Janssen to babysit their children, as they had done so several times before. She was surprised that they were going out together because she knew that they were not getting along. That night, they went to the bar where Christi worked. According to Mark, they were getting along well that night.
At around midnight, Mark and Christi left the bar and stopped at a convenience store. At 12:30am, they headed home. According to Diane, Mark arrived home sometime between 12:30 and 1am. She was doing her homework in front of the TV; she claimed that she did not see Christi enter the house. However, according to Mark, Christi did come home with him and went straight upstairs. Diane thought it was strange that Mark paid her in cash that night, because Christi normally paid her with a check. She believes that she would have heard Christi if she had come inside. According to Mark, Christi went to bed immediately after they got home. He says that he last saw her around 2am when he did so.
The next morning on December 11, 1987, Christi was nowhere to be found, allegedly having left Mark and their children and taking a suitcase of belongings while leaving her car behind. Although she was missing, at 9:30am, Mark told her mother on the phone that she was sleeping at the time. He claims that he did not want to worry her mother. At 11:30am, Mark took their children to Christi's grandmother's house and asked if she could watch them. All he told her was that Christi was missing; he did not ask if she had seen her. He allegedly drove around for several hours, looking for her, although no witnesses could confirm this.
After driving around looking for her, Mark notified the police. Surprising, he moved out of the house the same day, boxing up all of her clothes and selling both of their cars. Three months later, in March 1988, Christi's suitcase was found dumped at a roadside rest area thirty miles away. Mark was somehow able to give an exact list of everything that Christi had apparently taken in it. It appeared to have deliberately been placed there. Despite a thorough search of the area around Gothenburg, no other trace of her has ever been found. The case has now stalled. Mark continues to claim that Christi abandoned him and their children and left voluntarily. However, her family does not believe that she would leave voluntarily; they believe that Mark is responsible for her disappearance.
Suspects: The police consider Mark the prime suspect in Christi's disappearance. He was the last person seen with her before she vanished. There are multiple witnesses who confirmed that he was abusing Christi in the weeks prior to her disappearance. She had met with a divorce lawyer just a few days before she vanished. Within days of her disappearance, Mark had moved out of their home, sold their cars, and boxed up her clothing. When her suitcase was found three months later, he was "somehow" able to list everything that was missing from the house that ended up in the suitcase. Despite this evidence, he has never been charged.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the November 16, 1988 episode.
Results: Unsolved. The police no longer believe that Christi might have vanished voluntarily; they are now investigating the case as a probable homicide. Traces of blood were found in the couple's bedroom and in the trunk of Mark's car. DNA testing has confirmed that the blood belonged to Christi. Mark claimed that the blood was menstrual blood, but an analysis determined that this was not true.
It has also since been discovered that Christi met with an abuse counselor before she vanished. When Mark found out, he was "furious" and told her that she would not get to see her children again unless she stopped visiting the counselor. Also, she never picked up her last paycheck. She told her mother that Mark was monitoring her phone calls. She also told her mother that she planned to leave Mark the day after she vanished; her mother believes that he killed her before she had the chance. Despite this evidence, Mark has never been charged in his wife's disappearance, presumably due to the lack of a body. He now lives in Arkansas and is married for the third time. Sadly, due to Mark's influence, Christi's mother has not seen her grandchildren since the early 1990s.
Christi's lawyer, Claude Berreckman, died in 2013 at the age of 80.
- Christi Nichols on Unsolved.com
- Christi Nichols on the Charley Project
- Christi Nichols on the Doe Network
- Unsolved murders in the old west
- State patrol tries again to find missing woman
- Gothenburg woman’s disappearance a mystery
- Did This Husband Really Get Away Murder or Could This Case Still be Solved?
- SitcomsOnline Discussion of Christi Nichols
- Christi Nichols on Find a Grave