Real Name: Kari Lynn Nixon
Nicknames: Her name is sometimes misspelled as Carrie or Kerri
Location: Au Sable Forks, New York
Date: June 22, 1987
Date of Birth: May 2, 1971
Weight: 105 lbs.
Marital Status: Single
Characteristics: Caucasian female with brown hair and blue eyes. Kari has multiple piercings in her ears (2 on her left, 4 on her right)
Details: Sixteen-year-old Kari Lynn Nixon lived in the "friendly, family-oriented" community of Au Sable Forks, New York with her siblings and her parents Kathy and Gary. She was an above-average student and the pitcher on her high school softball team. She was close to her family and they often bowled together. At approximately 9:30PM on the night of June 22, 1987, she left her home to run an errand for her dad. She bought some groceries at a neighborhood market just a few blocks away. She left there at around 9:55PM and headed back home. She exchanged greetings with a neighbor at around 10:05PM. At 10:10PM, a group of teenagers walked down the street, but she was not there. Somehow, she disappeared within five minutes and just seven-hundred feet of her home.
The next morning, Kathy discovered that Kari was not in her bed. The Nixons contacted the police and a massive search began for her; however, no trace of her was found. Authorities, her family, and friends were torn on what they believed happened to her. Some believe that she was abducted by a stranger, while others believe that she ran away. She was close to her family, did not have any problems with her home life, and did not take any extra money or belongings with her, suggesting she was abducted. However, she had also made some interesting comments to a friend, claiming that when she turned eighteen, she wanted to leave the area and go to either Hawaii, California, or Florida.
As the months passed, the investigation grew to a standstill. No one could be sure if Kari had run away or met with foul play. Then, in November 1987, the New York state police received an anonymous letter from Flint, Michigan, claiming that she was in the Eutawville, South Carolina area. Her family went to the area and put up several missing person posters. Police and her family were shocked when a local resident came forward, claiming that she had spoken to a shy girl who called herself "Kari Lynn Nixon".
Eutawville resident Shirly Kannapel contacted the police after she saw Kari's missing poster at a store. She claimed that she encountered Kari during the summer of 1987. She was certain that the girl was her because of her hair, earrings, and of course her name. Other witnesses in the area also reported seeing a girl that they believed was Kari.
Shirley was unable to recall many details from her encounter with the girl. At the request of the New York state police, she underwent hypnosis. During the session, she remembered a red-haired girl introducing her to a girl who had called herself "Kari Nixon". "Kari" claimed that she was from New York and was staying in the area. Shirley said that Kari had two earrings and long, brown hair. Kari apparently seemed shy and unwilling to talk to her.
Shirley had previously worked in a group that dealt with runaways; she was certain that the girl she had met was a runaway. Authorities located the girl that Shirley claims was with Kari the day she met her. However, she reportedly had a memory lapse and was unable to recall the events. After failing to find any other confirmed sightings of Kari, the investigation again reached a dead end. Investigators have looked into over seventy sightings of Kari, but are uncertain if she is still alive. Her family just wants to find her and make sure she is okay.
Suspects: None known; there are conflicting theories on what caused Kari to disappear. Some believe that she vanished voluntarily, while others are convinced that she was abducted. If she was abducted, her family believes that the perpetrator was someone that she knew.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the May 10, 1989 episode. It was also documented on an episode of Nightmare Next Door.
Interestingly, Unsolved Mysteries also received two anonymous letters from Flint, Michigan. Handwriting analysis confirmed that they were written by the same author.
Results: Solved. On June 5, 1989, the New Kids on the Block filmed a music video at one of their concerts in Los Angeles, California. In March 1991, Kari's parents viewed it and noticed a girl in the audience that looked just like her. Investigators also believed that the audience member was Kari. A detailed analysis of the video showed that the girl had almost identical hair length, hair color, face shape, and number of earrings in her right ear as Kari did before she vanished. NKOTB members Jordan and Jonathan Knight were interviewed on Unsolved Mysteries and made personal appeals for Kari to come forward. However, the young girl in the video would later come forward and identify herself; she was a teenager from Washington, D.C.
On January 28, 1994, almost seven years after Kari vanished, her body was unearthed in a shallow grave only miles from her home. Robert Anthony Jones confessed to her kidnapping, rape, and murder. He had been arrested for four bank robberies which he committed in New York and Maine between 1987 and 1993. His wife Theresa told police that he had confessed to her that he had killed Kari. He then confessed to police in an effort to get Theresa a lighter sentence for driving the getaway car from a local bank heist with their two children inside.
At the time of Kari's disappearance, Robert was twenty-three-years-old and living in Bar Harbor, Maine with his family. On the week that she vanished, he returned to his hometown for a week-long visit. On the night of June 22, he spotted her while he was buying beer at the neighborhood market. He followed her and forced her into his car at gunpoint. He then drove her to his parents' cabin where he raped, strangled, and shot her. He buried her on their remote Jay property the following morning. He later returned to the Au Sable Forks area where he settled with his family, only 200 yards from where he had buried her. Under the negotiated plea, he secured a sentence of eighteen-years to life for the robberies and her murder.
Robert is currently an inmate at Wyoming Correctional Facility in New York. Based on his 1994 plea agreement he was granted his first parole hearing in 2011 where he was denied. All subsequent appeals have been denied and he will next be eligible for parole in January of 2021. In 2018, Robert attempted to appeal his original 1994 confession and conviction, the higher courts of New York rejected his appeal. He has stated that he abducted the victim because of marital difficulties; claiming Theresa had cheated on him as well as claiming he had committed robbery in order to intentionally get caught.
Sadly, on December 3, 2007, Kari’s brother, Jonathan Edward Nixon, died after a yearlong battle with ALS. He was survived by a daughter also named Kari Lynn Nixon in her aunt's honor. Also, their father, Gary, passed away in 2011.
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