Details of Disappearance
Nyleen accompanied her family on a picnic outing in the in the Helena National Forest in the Elkhorn Mountains on June 25, 1983 near her hometown of Clancy, Montana. She was playing with some children who walked ahead of her for a moment at approximately 4:00 p.m.
When her friends turned around, Nyleen had vanished. She was last seen sitting alone near the beaver dams on Maupin Creek. An extensive search of the area turned up no indication of her whereabouts.
Nyleen's family was questioned about her disappearance and her stepfather was considered a person of interest in her case. Her mother died in 1995; it was reported she was sexually assaulted and murdered in Mexico.
An unknown man wearing a jogging suit was seen nearby just before she disappeared, and reportedly spoke to Nyleen and told her to "follow the shadow." It is not known if he was connected to Nyleen's case.
In November 1985, an anonymous person called the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children on several occasions and said he'd abducted Nyleen. The police traced the calls to various phone booths in Edgerton, Wisconsin, but after the phone booths were identified, the calls stopped.
In January 1986, an anonymous person sent Child Find, a New York-based missing children's organization, a typewritten letter saying he had picked up "a girl named Kay" on a road in Elkhorn Park between Helena and Boulder, Montana, and had decided to take her home with him. The letter was postmarked Madison, Wisconsin, thirty miles northwest of Edgerton, and included details about Nyleen's case that had not been released to the general public.
The writer explained that he had a good investment income, worked from home, and homeschooled Kay. He also traveled frequently with her all over the United States and in Canada and Great Britain. He said he loved the child and she was happy, and that although he knew her family missed her he could not "let her go."
Nyleen has never been located. The person who wrote and telephoned authorities has not been identified, and it is unclear whether this individual actually had anything to do with her disappearance. Investigators stated the information in the phone calls and letter indicated sexual abuse.
Although it's possible Nyleen simply wandered away from the group and succumbed to the wilderness, but her disappearance is classified as a non-family abduction. Her case is unsolved.