On July 22nd, 2001, it was a sweltering day in Richmond, Indiana. But when 28-year-old Niqui McCown walked into her mother’s house, it wasn’t only the weather that had her hot under the collar.
Niqui told her mom that two guys were harassing her at the laundromat. Authorities believe Niqui McCown returned to the laundromat a short time later, but no one knows for sure. Niqui mysteriously disappeared that muggy summer day. She has not been seen or heard from since. Police suspect foul play. However, two elements essential to solving most homicides were missing: There was no body… and no apparent motive. Niqui McCown was friendly, had no known enemies and looked forward with great anticipation to her upcoming wedding. That never happened. And detectives are now left with a complex puzzle and a bunch of pieces that simply didn’t fit.
Sunday July 22, 2001 began routinely enough. After attending church, Niqui set off to do the laundry while her finance, Bobby Webster, met the ‘best man’ in his wedding at a local tuxedo shop. Bobby and Niqui planned to get together later that afternoon. The big event was just 3 weeks off -and the bride-to-be wanted the special day to be extra special. Niqui had a 9-year-old daughter from a prior relationship, and even her ex-boyfriend seemed happy for her. Niqui had always been a perfectionist, despite being the youngest and most precocious of 10 kids in a close-knit family. So what happened to Niqui that summer day in 2001? Did she return to the laundromat where she was confronted by two strangers up to no good? And why did those close to Niqui find no trace of her anywhere?
The day after Niqui’s disappearance -Monday July 23rd -her fiance contacted the Richmond police department. Over the next week, detectives looked into the alleged incident at the laundromat and the possibility that Niqui had been abducted. They also had questions for her finance, Bobby Webster. According to police, Bobby had begun acting very strangely in the days immediately following Niqui’s disappearance. Instead of postponing the wedding, he cancelled it entirely, demanding a full refund from the reception hall. Bobby then tried to return his wedding band -also for cash -but the manager refused. Niqui had paid for the ring and her name was on the receipt. An argument ensued and, allegedly, nearly turned violent. Bobby had to be escorted from the store. Bobby said he needed the money to help find Niqui -to pay for flyers and a cell phone. Detectives asked Bobby to take a polygraph test. He refused at first, but later agreed to the test.
More than three months passed with still no sign of Niqui McCown. Then, on November 5th, 2001, detectives caught a break. Niqui’s SUV was found parked at a sprawling apartment complex in Dayton, Ohio -45 minutes east of her home in Indiana. It had apparently been abandoned for some time. Police found a punched out door lock, an ignition that had been tampered with, and a missing stereo system. Unfortunately, locating the SUV raised more questions than it answered. Police found no fingerprints or other promising leads that might help them find Niqui. However, they did make one important discovery: her laundry. The clothes looked like they had come just from the Laundromat and were folded neatly. That seemed to rule out the abduction theory. If Niqui had been forcibly removed from the Laundromat, why would her clothes be in the back of the SUV?
Even more puzzling was this: Who drove the vehicle from Richmond to Dayton? And why? Detectives canvassed the area and soon found that Niqui’s ex-boyfriend lived in another part of the large apartment complex where the SUV was found. Police talked to the father of her child and verified that he was at work at the time that she was reported missing. Police eliminated him as a suspect.
However, investigators discovered that Niqui made a phone call to Dayton the day she disappeared -to a co-worker who lived about a mile from where the SUV was found. They talked about some specialty hair and nail products and Niqui was told she could purchase the items at a store in Dayton.
There was also a third possible scenario: if Niqui did drive to Dayton that Sunday afternoon, perhaps something tragic happened on the way. But how did her SUV end up in the parking lot of her ex-boyfriend’s apartment complex? Was it simply an unbelievable coincidence? Some believe that it could have been placed there to throw off suspicion. That theory led Detectives right back to Bobby Webster -and his suspicious behavior following Niqui’s disappearance. But Niqui’s sister believes Bobby is innocent of any wrongdoing. Niqui’s mother, however, isn’t so sure. Police continue to follow up on other possible suspects while also keeping a close eye on Bobby Webster.
Niqui McCown’s fate remains a mystery. Friends say she adored her daughter and would never have run off by herself. Some continue to speculate that her finance had something to do with her disappearance. But what possible motive did he have? And what about Niqui’s ex-boyfriend? He cooperated fully and passed a polygraph test. Could it have been a random act of violence? If that was the case, why was Niqui’s vehicle found abandoned at the apartment complex in Dayton? Perplexing questions -without any good answers.
Characteristics: Niqui was last seen on July 22nd, 2001 in Richmond, Indiana. She would now be 29 years old. She is 5’2″ tall and weighs 115 pounds. Niqui has brown eyes and brown hair. She also has a small scar over her left eye.
If you have any information about the disappearance of Marilyn ‘Niqui’ McCown, please contact the Richmond (Indiana) Police Department, or call the Unsolved Mysteries hotline, 1-800-876-5353 .