An Indiana woman vanishes three weeks before her wedding.
On July 22, 2001, 28-year-old Marilyn “Niqui” McCown of Richmond, Indiana, stormed into her mother’s kitchen. She was upset over two “creepy” men who had harassed her at the laundromat. Niqui’s mother, Barbara McCown:
Niqui may have been upset, but police believe she returned to the Laundromat anyway. No one knows for sure, because on that day, Niqui disappeared. Police had trouble believing that Niqui would take off when her wedding was just three weeks away. They suspected foul play, but without a body and with no apparent motive, they had nothing to go on.
The day she disappeared, Niqui set off to do the laundry, while her fiancé, Bobby Webster, met his best man to be fitted for their tuxedos. Michelle McCown-Luster is Niqui’s sister:
But Niqui’s wedding was not to be. Police believed that if Niqui returned to the laundromat, she may have been confronted, if not abducted, by the two strangers.
On Monday, July 23, the day after Niqui’s disappearance, Bobby Webster contacted Richmond Police to report that his fiancé was missing:
Shortly after Niqui disappeared, Bobby began acting very strangely. Instead of postponing the wedding, he cancelled it entirely, demanding a full refund from the reception hall. Next, Bobby tried to return his wedding band for cash. But the manager refused. Niqui had paid for the ring and her name was on the receipt. Allegedly, the argument nearly turned violent and Bobby had to be escorted from the store. Bobby says the reason for his behavior was that he needed the money to help pay for Niqui’s search:
But detectives weren’t convinced. They asked Bobby to take a polygraph. At first, he refused, but later he agreed. According to Richmond, Indiana, Police Sergeant Bradley Berner:
Bobby denies that he failed the test. He claims neither he nor his lawyer ever saw the results.
Niqui was gone for three months before detectives got their first break in the case. On November 5, 2001, her SUV was found at a large apartment complex in Dayton, Ohio, 45 minutes east of her home in Indiana. Police believed it had been there for weeks. The door lock was punched-out, the ignition had been hot-wired, and the stereo was missing. Michelle had hopes that the car would lead to her sister:
Sergeant Berner believed an important clue was left in Niqui’s SUV: her neatly folded laundry:
If Niqui had been abducted from the laundromat, why would her clothes be neatly folded in the back seat of her SUV? And who drove her car from Richmond to Dayton? Then police were surprised to discover that Niqui had an ex-boyfriend who lived in the same apartment complex where her SUV was found. But after further investigation, he passed a lie detector test and had a solid alibi. It was another dead-end.
However, police later discovered that Niqui made a phone call to a co-worker who lived about a mile from where her SUV was found in Dayton. They talked about beauty products and the friend told Niqui she could purchase the items she was looking for in Dayton.
Police began to wonder if something had happened to Niqui in Richmond, Indiana, in Ohio, or somewhere in-between. Police believed her SUV might have been left in Ohio to distract attention from Richmond. That theory lead police back to Bobby Webster and his strange behavior after Niqui disappeared. Niqui’s sister, Tammie Hughes, has trouble believing Bobby had anything to do with her Niqui’s disappearance:
Niqui’s mother, however, isn’t so sure:
Police continue to follow up on other possible leads, while also keeping a close eye on Bobby Webster.