If you’ve seen the show “Hoarders” then you can easily understand why anything, even a human body, could stay hidden for a very, very long time in the home of a hoarder. So, you know where this story is headed: James Nichols reported his wife, Jo Ann Nichols of Poughkeepsie, New York, missing in December of 1985 after she did not show up for a beauty parlor appointment. He told police that he received a typed note from his wife and then talked to her on the phone three days after he reported her as missing. Nichols also told police that he found his wife’s car parked at a local shopping mall. After searching his house, police determined that Mr. Nichols had not had anything to do with his wife’s disappearance.
Oh, did I mention the amount of stuff they had to wade through in that home? According to neighbors, Mr. Nichols was an intense hoarder. He even had several dumpsters in his backyard for extra storage. The police also probably thought it was safe to assume that this was not an episode of “CSI”and didn’t check (or even know about) his false wall in the basement where he was hiding his wife’s body.
Eventually — nearly 30 years later! — the Nichols’ house was condemned and that’s when a contractor discovered Jo Ann Nichols. Her body was a mere skeleton by then, but police identified her using dental records and determined she was killed by blunt force trauma to the head. Her husband passed away of natural causes last year at the ripe old age of 82.
Neighbors are not surprised by the creepy discovery. One neighbor said she wouldn’t even let her kids fetch lost balls from Nichols’ yard. Another neighbor said that Nichols kept his dead dog in the freezer because he couldn’t bear to part with it. He was even seen driving around with a dummy wearing a hat in the passenger seat. Not surprisingly, the general consensus in the neighborhood was that James Nichols had something to do with the disappearance of JoAnn Nichols. One neighbor even said, “She probably was around there somewhere. I always said it.”
[Photo of messy home via Shutterstock]