Remains of Missing Wife & a Horrifying Secret Found Behind False Basement Wall

basementHere's something super depressing to dampen your day. After neighbors noticed that they hadn't seen 82-year-old James Nichols in four days, the cops were called in to search his Poughkeepsie home. Inside, they found Nichols' body in the unkempt abode, which was stuffed with items and trash. When no relatives came forward to claim his body or the estate, the police buried the elderly man and had contractors clean out his home.

What they found in the basement is the stuff that nightmares, and 48 Hours episodes, are made of.

Newsday reports that the contractors found a "skeleton sealed in a plastic container behind a false wall."

The M.E. has identified the woman as JoAnn Nichols, James' wife, who "went missing" December 20, 1985. James told authorities that his wife had been depressed after the drowning death of their child, and told him she'd left to start a new life somewhere.

The search for her body was intense, but police never found anything. James was never really even considered a suspect. During the investigation in the '80s, a friend of the Nichols' said that James was pretty normal. The only weird thing she recalled was when he showed off the carcass of his pet cat he kept in the basement freezer.

JoAnn apparently died from a blow to the head and has been sealed in her own basement for the last 28 years.

Did James do it? Maybe. Probably. Who's to say. He's dead now, too, and there are no relatives around who apparently still care. It sounds like little closure has been afforded to anyone ... making this story all the more depressing.

R.I.P. James and JoAnn.

What do you think?


Photo via SnapCrankep/Flickr



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LostS... LostSoul88

It's a heartbreaking story all around but at least people know what happened to his wife. 

Trina_ Trina_

Obviously the husband did it, how would someone be able to kill her and construct a false wall in the basement WITHOUT him even knowing?

ruby_... ruby_jewel_04

Makes me wonder of he killed their child as well. So sad. Poor lady.

nonmember avatar J

Pure speculation, but I wonder if he somehow blamed her for the accidentaly drowning of their child and killed her for it. Then proceeded to live a lonely, secluded life...sad all the way around.

nonmember avatar Michelle

Very Edgar Allen Poe. Was there a black cat in there too?

nonmember avatar Lizzie Borden

J- I believe in the msn article that I read that their child was an adult when he drowned, making it unlikely he accidentally drowned while under her supervision. Her husband likely murdered her in cold blood and lied about it until his death.

Green... GreenEyesMom

Lmao I agree with Trina. Was gonna say the same thing.


Non member Michelle ;there was the cat skeleton.Could have been black at one time or another.

femal... femaleMIKE

no doubt in my mind that the husband did it. 

hexxuss hexxuss

No doubts that he did it. I think this story is more creepy than sad though....

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