On the day that 14-year-old Lindsey Jill Nicholls disappeared, she was last seen walking down Royston Road, outside of Comox on Vancouver Island. It was August 2, 1993—the Monday of the BC Day long weekend, and Lindsey was meeting friends at the annual Comox Nautical Days Festival.
Lindsey was a slim five-foot-three with green eyes and long blond hair. The family had relocated to Comox from Delta in the summer of 1992. Lindsey missed her friends and was constantly at odds with her parents. A few months earlier, Lindsey and her dad, an RCMP officer named Martin, got into a fight after he caught her sneaking out one night. The next morning she pretended to go to school, but instead packed her clothes and her teddy bear in a backpack, wrote a note for her mother, and ran away to Delta.
Judy quickly discovered that when a teen runs away and refuses to come home, there is little a parent can do. In the end, she struck a bargain with Lindsey: if Lindsey agreed to come home, she could live in temporary foster care, and the family would attend counselling.
Lindsey was placed with a foster family in Royston, a seaside village located across the bay from Comox. The last time Judy spoke with Lindsey was on the Friday before the long weekend when Lindsey phoned from the foster home.
“I told her how much I loved her and that I missed her,” her mother says. She sounded fine, but even though it had only been a few days, she was already unhappy in the new home. “And, I thought, ‘Perfect,’ because I wanted her to come home,” says Judy. “It never occurred to me that being out there now, she was in more danger because she was going to hitchhike into town.”
Martin and Judy Nicholls went away for the August long weekend. When they arrived back, Judy phoned the foster home and was shocked to learn that Lindsey had not been seen since the previous day, and nobody had reported her missing. Judy phoned the police.
Because Lindsey had run away three months before and had threatened to do so again, police were sure that she’d headed back to Delta. But Judy didn’t think so. “They treated her as a runaway because she had run away before, and there was almost nothing done initially,” says Judy.
Over the last three decades, police have received more than 400 tips, administered 15 polygraph examinations, and interviewed over 100 people in connection with the case of Lindsey Nicholls.
Lindsey’s file is categorized as “missing, foul play suspected.”
If you have any information about Lindsey Nicholls' disappearance, call the Comox Valley RCMP at 250-338-1321 or Crime Stoppers 1-800-222-8477.
- For more information: Cold Case Canada Podcast - Missing: Lindsey Nicholls
Eve Lazarus is a reporter and author, and she hosts and produces the Cold Case Canada true crime podcast. This is an excerpt from Eve’s latest book Cold Case BC: The Stories Behind the Province’s Most Intriguing Murder and Missing Person Cases.