Details of Disappearance
Christi and her husband of three years, Mark Nichols, left their two children with a babysitter and went to a bar in Gothenburg, Nebraska on the evening of December 10, 1987.
After midnight on December 11, Mark came home and paid the babysitter in cash. Usually, it was Christi who paid the sitter, and she did it with a check. The babysitter later stated she did not believe Christi came home with her husband, but Mark said Christi was there and the babysitter simply never saw her.
Mark reported Christi missing later that day. He said they argued until 2:00 a.m., when he went to sleep. At 7:00 a.m., the children woke up Mark and he realized Christi was missing. At 9:30 a.m., Christi's mother called and Mark lied, saying Christi was asleep in bed. He later said he did this so her mother would not worry about her.
Later that morning, he took his children to Christi's grandmother's home and asked her to babysit them while he searched for his wife. He said he spent two hours driving around in the area, looking for her, but never saw her. Nobody in town reported having seen him do this, however.
Mark moved out of the house the day after his wife's disappearance, and a few days after that, he packed up all their belongings and sold both the family's vehicles. Christi has never been heard from again.
Mark said she 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 jacket and the purse held a hairbrush, a pen, a lighter, a matchbook, lipstick, Neutrogena cream, a nail file, a mirror and one piece of gum.
Both the suitcase and the purse, with everything still inside, were found at an Interstate 80 rest stop near Maxwell, Nebraska in March 1988. Authorities stated it looked as if whoever placed them there had wanted them to be found. Christi left behind all her other belongings, including her diamond jewelry and driver's license, and she never picked up her last paycheck from the bar where she worked part time.
Mark and Christi were having marital problems in 1987, and Mark was allegedly physically abusing her and monitoring her phone calls. Christi once had to go to the hospital emergency room for injuries allegedly caused by Mark. She went to see an abuse counselor, and Mark was angry when he found out and made her promise not to go again, but she went again anyway.
Two days before she disappeared, Christi met with a divorce attorney. The attorney stated Christi was extremely stressed and appeared to have been beaten. She told him she wanted a divorce and custody of her children. The attorney advised her not to return to the home she shared with Mark, but she refused. She made another appointment to see him, but disappeared before she could keep it.
When interviewed about Christi's disappearance by reporters for the Unsolved Mysteries television show in 1989, Mark said the only time one of their arguments escalated into violence was when Christi had hit and kicked him and burned his neck with a cigarette after he asked her to stay home one night, and he tossed her on the waterbed in self-defense and accidentally injured her in the process.
In 1990, Mark filed for divorce from Christi on grounds of desertion. He said she had left of her own accord, abandoning him and their son and daughter. Authorities believe she was seeing another man at the time of her disappearance.
After she went missing, a note from Christi, addressed to the other man, was found in the Nicholses' car. Christi wrote she would be leaving after Christmas, but promised to contact the man within a few months. Investigators interviewed the man and he has been ruled out as a suspect in Christi's case.
Mark took a polygraph about her disappearance in 1987, but the results were inconclusive. He now lives in Arkansas with his third wife. Foul play is suspected in Christi's disappearance and it is classified as a homicide. Mark is the only suspect in her case.
Trace amounts of Christi's blood were found on the floor of her bedroom, and in the trunk of Mark's 1977 Mercury Cougar. Authorities stated there was not enough blood to indicate Christi was dead. Mark told investigators it was her menstrual blood, but analysis proved this statement was untrue.
Christi's case remains unsolved. She is described as a quiet, very shy woman and a dedicated mother. It is uncharacteristic of her to abandon her children.