Joann Nichols Murder Mystery Solved After 28 Years

An ice-cold case solved: The remains of a 55-year-old school teacher are finally found




joann nicholsPhotograph courtesy of Poughkeepsie Journal

In December 1985, Town of Poughkeepsie resident Joann Nichols — a well-liked first-grade teacher in the Wappingers school district — vanished, apparently while on her way to a hair salon appointment. Town police vigorously investigated her disappearance, but no trace was ever found of the 55-year-old woman — until June, when a contractor discovered her remains while cleaning out the Vassar Road home that she had shared with her husband, James. Investigators quickly determined that James Nichols had used blunt force to murder his wife, then hid her body inside a false wall in their basement — where it remained for 28 years. Nichols, 82, passed away in 2012, taking his gruesome secret to the grave.

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