Details of Disappearance Andrews was last seen in Chicago, Illinois on February 14, 1984. She and two female friends went to a party at Casey Nowicki's apartment in the 2500 block of west Iowa Street. Andrews and Nowicki had never met before. A photograph of him is posted below this case summary. The women and Nowicki smoked marijuana and Andrews drank some beer.
Later that day, Nowicki was driving the women home when he ran his Volkswagen Rabbit into a concrete viaduct. He wasn't hurt and neither were Andrews's friends, but Andrews's ankle was injured; she couldn't stand on it and it appeared to be broken. Nowicki gave his car keys and some money to the other women and told them to get his car towed while he took Andrews to the hospital. He wanted to get away from the scene before the police arrived because he was uninsured.
Andrews's companions made several calls to Nowicki's apartment that night, but were only able to speak to Andrews once. She sounded confused and her speech was slurred, as if she had been drugged. Andrews stated Nowicki had not taken her to the hospital. She said she was frightened of him and wanted to go home, and asked her friends for help.
The two women went to the apartment to return Nowicki's car keys and pick up Andrews, but were not allowed inside. They came back repeatedly over the next few days and asked to be allowed inside the apartment, saying they wouldn't return his keys until they were allowed to see Andrews. Nowicki wouldn't let them in, said Andrews had left on her own, and eventually threatened to kill them if they didn't give his keys back, which they finally did. He did let other individuals come in and out of the apartment.
Andrews left almost all her belongings behind at home, including clothing, jewelry and her reading glasses. She never picked up her last paycheck from work and she had $91 in her bank account that was left untouched following her disappearance. She had little contact with her biological father, who was not a part of her life when she was growing up; she only contacted him in 1983.
She was, however, close to her mother, stepfather and other relatives. Her mother stated she always let her family and friends know where she was at, even when she was traveling. After her February 1984 disappearance, none of them ever saw or heard from her again.
At the time of her disappearance, Andrews was living with her step-grandmother in northwest Chicago. Her mother stated she began using drugs at the age of twelve, and later dropped out of high school. In 1982, she admitted she had a substance abuse problem and spent nine months in a drug and alcohol rehabilitation program. While in the program, she started therapy, got her GED and began attending classes at Daley Junior Community College.
She transferred to Northeastern Illinois University after she finished the alcohol treatment program, and got a job at a publishing company. She had been continuously employed since the age of sixteen. By the time of her disappearance, she had decided to move to Paducah, Kentucky, near where her aunt lived. She had secured another job there, was in the process of packing and planned to start the summer term at Paducah Community College on June 1.
Nowicki was charged with Andrews's murder in 2000, and was tried in 2005. He has an extensive criminal history, including convictions for burglary and armed robbery. Prosecutors stated Nowicki was a drug dealer in 1984 and, instead of taking Andrews to the hospital to be treated for her car accident injuries, he took her back to his apartment and had her take THC until she was incoherent.
One Nowicki's friends, Michael John Panisi, testified he saw Andrews naked and handcuffed to a radiator inside the apartment a few days after February 14. Andrews appeared to be under the influence of drugs, and Nowicki said she had taken THC and was "too screwed up to be walking around the apartment." Other witnesses also saw Andrews in the apartment during that time period, naked and apparently drugged.
Panisi stated he unchained Andrews and gave her some food, and he and Nowicki were able to dress her. He then bought some drugs from Nowicki and left. When he returned the next day, Andrews was still there and still appeared to be under the influence, disoriented and unaware of her surroundings, and while he was there, another man who had come to the apartment to buy drugs sexually assaulted her.
Nowicki told Panisi he had tricked Andrews into taking an overdose of THC. Panisi stated he came back the day after that and found Andrews was lying dead on the floor, wrapped up in blanket or rug, and Nowicki stated she had "died on me."
Nowicki refused to call the police and asked Panisi to help him dispose of Andrews's body. When Panisi said no, Nowicki told him not to ever come back to the apartment. Nowicki then carried the body downstairs by himself, put it in the trunk of his mother's brown 1974 Maverick, and drove away.
Another witness, who had known Andrews for several years, backed up Panisi's testimony and said he'd seen her, naked and under the influence of THC, at Nowicki's apartment on February 15, the day after her friends last saw her. Others testified that, years after Andrews vanished, Nowicki told people he had raped and strangled her and that her body would never be found.
Several of the crucial witnesses against Nowicki had been offered assistance of various kinds from the prosecution in exchange for their testimony, and many admitted to criminal histories and heavy drug use. Nowicki's attorneys called the evidence against him "pathetic" and maintained there was no proof Andrews was even deceased.
An extensive search of Nowicki's apartment and his Pulaski County, Indiana farm turned up no sign of Andrews's body. He was nevertheless convicted of rape and murder in July 2005, and sentenced to life in prison. Foul play is suspected in Andrews's case due to the circumstances involved. Her body has never been found.
- Cook County State Attorney
Updated 5 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated March 24, 2016; distinguishing characteristics and details of disappearance updated.