The Death of Nikki LaDue January: Part VIII

This is second half of my post on the 911 call from the Nikki LaDue January case.

You can read Part One here
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Case Summary



In July of 2002, the body of Nikki LaDue January was found seated on the balcony of her condominium in Pass Christian, Mississippi.  Officers stated that she had a single gun shot wound to her right temple area.

A Sterling .380 caliber pistol was partially under her left thigh on a chair, her right leg was propped up against the table in front of her, and a cordless phone on the table was covered in blood.

There were two different brands of cigarettes and two different lighters on the table in front of her.

A bullet was located in a chair on the next balcony, and a shell casing was later found by a maintenance man in the condo's pool.

Ms. January had apparently been deceased for several hours, and her five-year old son was found in the residence unharmed.

Authorities at the scene quickly classified the death as a suicide. 

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D) The 911 Call  (Part Two) 

As discussed last time, the family produced a reenactment of the call, and it can be listened to by going to this post.

In cases that are quickly closed, as in Nikki LaDue January's death, follow-up is deemed unnecessary.

As such, actions like reviewing audio from the 911 call may not occur until well after the determination has been made--if at all.

If authorities had reviewed the call audio prior to classifiying the death as a suicide, I believe several parts of the conversation would have been of interest to them:  

--The Caller: "Terrified" but Had Limited Information--

Family friend Nancy Burge, the woman who made the call to police, stated that Phil January (Nikki's husband) had asked her to call 911.  She said that she was unsure exactly what had happened inside, but that "somebody I am concerned about, I am terrified, committed suicide"  (1:29).

Why was she terrified?  Allegedly and prior to her death, Nikki had been staying at Nancy's residence because she (Nikki) was afraid to be by herself in the condo.   

Nancy also told authorities that Nikki was on the balcony, and that she could see Phil (also on the balcony) from where she was.

--The Caller: "He Came in Tonight"--

Referring to Phil, Nancy stated that "he came in tonight" (3:01).  It was believed that Phil had just arrived at the condo that morning after driving from Louisiana.  With the husband and Nikki arguing on the phone a few hours before she was discovered deceased, it would be imperative for investigators to have definitive timelines for the activities of various persons from the previous night and the morning in question.

--The Caller: "Just Take Him Out to the Car"--

Nancy tells someone to "just take him out to the car" (2:30)--evidently referring to Nikki's five-year old son.

Who was at the scene?  Did anyone else enter the condo?

When authorities respond to a death scene with a child as a potential witness (and, as in this case, may be the only witness), I believe that it is imperative that an investigator speak to the young person.

Obviously, speaking to a child is not always immediately possible due to circumstances involving the death, the child's age, etc., but it is essential as children tend to be the most honest witnesses that authorities can hope to find. 

In this case, the decision was made to not speak to Nikki's son about the death--he has never been interviewed.

Also, removing the child from the scene (as Nancy describes) is a reasonable action, but authorities need to know where he is so that plans can be made to speak with him. 

In addition to asking if anyone else was at the condo, information that the investigator would hope to glean from an interview would include:

--What did mom tell you before you went to sleep?

--Did mom say if you all were staying the night at the condo? 

--Was the door unlocked when you let Nancy inside?

--The Dispatcher: Calling the Condo--

The dispatcher closes the exchange by obtaining the condo's phone number, and then stating that he will call there directly.

Remember the bloody phone that was photographed on the table in front of the deceased?

After authorities disconnected with Nancy, the dispatcher tried unsuccessfully to reach Phil inside the condo. 

Evidently, the portable phone was inoperable. 

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In sum, certain parts of the 911 call are unusual or incomplete, and the tape of the call would be helpful to detectives investigating this case--generating several follow-up activities and questions. 

If it had not been closed.

But back to the dispatcher's inability to call into the condo.

Was that blood-covered telephone not working because the battery was dead, or is there another explanation?

I believe it was the latter, and I'll explain why next time.
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All posts on this topic can be viewed by clicking here: Nikki LaDue January.

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

not the best job by the 911 operator (armed? descriptions? others at location?). gathered little info helpful to responding officers who were walking into a call with lots of unknowns.

Clarissa Draper said...

The suspicious activity just keeps piling up.

Audrey Allure said...

Hmm, interesting points.

Kelly Townsend said...

Questions I have:

Why if Nancy said she couldn't see what was going on stated she could see Phil on the balcony? Her position had to be at a vantage point that allowed her to see the balcony, but what was Nancy really doing? Putting Nikki's son in the car? Where is the parking lot and was there a clear view of the balcony from the parking area?

Why didn't the son get interviewed? Was it because Phil and Nancy were keeping him away from the scene? Why did the police allow that?

Why was there no follow up interviews of Nikki's son? If there was, what transpired? If not why?

Where does Nikki's son live now (w/Phil?) Where?
Why has no one actually interviewed the young man as to date? He probably has memories of that night and someone needs to talk with him immediately!

The LaDue family is no longer in a position to pay the huge cost of a new investigation, but if a group could get together and raise funds to start a new homicide investigation in order to interview Nikki's son, Nancy Burge, and Phil January just to start with. Maybe a smart thing to do is to recreate the crime scene since the other was destroyed? Is the blood splattered phone in police evidence locker?

There is a lot of work to be done on this case. One of the first things is to interview the son of Nikki.

Bob G. said...

Slamdunk:
It amazes me why those handling (or was that MIS-handling the case) never seem to see THESE items you mention...or apaprently never considered them worthwhile enough to ask questions about...this gets stranger by the minute.

Stay safe out there.

Stephen Tremp said...

I remember this case. It was big on the news. Was it suicide or murder? Seems to be the latter. You have a great blog. I love reading this type of post!

Christina Lee said...

Wowee--first hearing this story! Kelly has some interesting points too!

NikkiLaDueJanuary said...

Slam Dunk - you are the best!

Kelly Townsend is a well known PI. He has brought up the hard questions.

Thank you to all who are trying to find the truth.

The truth will set Nikki's son free.

WomanHonorThyself said...

keepin up with ya is hard...good stuff!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

You love keeping us in suspense, don't you, Slamdunks????

Kristin said...

It all sounds so sinister!

Anonymous said...

"he came in tonight" - it was not nighttime when Nancy made the call, it was nearly 10 a.m. So was this a slip indicating she knew Phil had actually been at the condo in the wee hours (when Nikki was killed) instead of in Louisiana as he claims? And if so, does this make Nancy an accessory to this crime?

TRex said...

"somebody I am concerned about, I am terrified, committed suicide"
This is a most curious statement since Nancy had not seen or spoken to Nikki for more than 24 hours. When she arrived at the condo minutes before the husband, she said she walked through the apartment twice and couldn't find Nikki. By that, one has to assume she did not see Nikki's body on the balcony. So why was she "terrified" a suicide had taken place?

Jennifer Hillier said...

They never interviewed her son? Wow.

So many holes here. Nothing about this feels right.

Maxi said...

…pistol was partially under her left thigh.

How can this be classified a suicide?

Anonymous said...

Don't forget Nancy was to leave the next morning at 8:30am with Nikki and her son. All of the son's belongings were in Nancy Burge's car. Which would indicate to me Nikki wasn't planning on moving with Phil to LA.
I have my doubts about any statements made by both Nancy and Phil.
How do we know for sure Nancy didn't go to the apt the night before and get the little boy?
Why is Nancy so uncooperative? Why won't she talk to anyone about Nikki?

Anonymous said...

It's been reported that the ex-husband has lost his job at the Hollywood Casino, once again, allegedly due to his inability to control his temper. He also allegedly lost his job at the Grand Casino prior to Nikki's death due to an assault on a female customer (video). Then again for alleged fraud/theft from the Day Detective Agency.
Amazing he wasn't looked at as a suspect in this mysterious death.
Great job Slam Dunk!!

TrueCrimeDiva said...

So many odd things with this call. First, who calls 911 and says "Hey hey hey"? I just found that so bizarre.She stumbles in the beginning of the call, too, like she's making sure she says the right thing.

How could Nancy not see Nikki on the balcony but could see Phil? And why wouldn't you check the balcony when looking for Nikki in the first place? I think she sounded fake and not concerned at all.

She tells dispatch that it was suicide but a few seconds later when he asks what's going on, she says she's not sure..."the husband told me to call 911."

I like how she says, "Someone I am concerned about..." In that call, she never mentions Nikki as her friend. ODD.

Now, if this is a reproduction, then it sounded just like the 911 call I heard, which was supposed to be the real one or so I thought. *confused* I'd like to hear the original call.

I know one thing...if that were my friend on the balcony, I'd be in hysterics. Nancy wasn't, and to me, that is VERY odd. She says she's terrified but I'm not so sure she was.

Do we even know for sure that Nikki's boy was even there?

How do you go visit your friend and not know her address? She had to look for the address during the 911 call.

Anonymous said...

Please note the simulated 911 call is recreated by a woman and man. FYI - The original call was two women.

I assume Nancy was standing in the entryway to the condo which is a shotgun style apt. It would not have been easy for her to see anyone on the balcony with drapery.

Nancy does say "Son take him to the car" to someone. I assume her son.

TruCrimeDiva is correct she doesn't act or sound like a concerned BFF, (as she called herself).

None of it adds up.

Would sure like a profesional blood spatter expert to look at this.

Miss Caitlin S. said...

Ohgoodness, so many questions!!! I really want to know what you thought regarding the phone. And how on earth did they never interview the son???? That seems so crazy to me. Poor lady. :(

Anonymous said...

Nikki, we love you and miss you terribly.

JJ.in.Phila said...

I can very easily understand why a father (or anyone) would remove a son from the presence of his mother's body, especially since it was a violent death.

I can also understand how Nancy, if she didn't enter, might not be able to see the body enough to know what happened.

The "he came in tonight" statement is the key. What did Nancy mean and when did Phil arrive?