The Death of Nikki LaDue January: Part IX

Continuing with the LaDue January case.

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. 


E) Unknown Pieces 

The photographs taken of the Nikki LaDue January death scene are poor (e.g. looks like an old Polaroid instant camera was used despite it being 2002, context was not included so it is guess work in estimating relationships, size, and distance, a foreign object was visible in some of the shots, etc.). 

But, that does not make the scene images useless.

They do provide a glimpse as to what was and what was not present when authorities arrived to find Ms. LaDue January seated on her balcony with a single-gun shot wound to the head, and a handgun underneath her leg.

Authorities recorded the general position of some of the items photographed. 

Like the woman's hands.

Blood spatter on the floor and wall.

The gun on the chair.

But what about objects photographed that were briefly mentioned or omitted?

I previously discussed the phone on the table--and that the lead investigator was unsure how it became covered with blood.

Look at the image of Nikki's feet that I posted previously.

In the upper-right hand corner of this image, a white object is visible on the balcony floor.  Though the quality of the photo is lacking, if you look closely on the floor between the victim's legs another piece of white is visible. 

Also, in a photo of the glass table in front of Ms. LaDue January there are some small bits of white visible next to the phone.  It is unclear if the pieces of white are present on the table or on the floor underneath it.

From images of the balcony that I have viewed before and after Nikki's death, it appears that the balcony area was kept clean--just tables, chairs, plants, etc.

In any event, these pieces of white are not described in the police reports.

So what are these white objects visible on the balcony floor?

Accidental droppings from when the condo was last painted? 

Small bits of paper? 

Possibly, but the larger piece of white sure looks like plastic.

How about this: the white debris is the result of the woman's broken white phone.

If you recall, the police dispatcher tried to call directly into the condo, but got no answer even though Nikki's husband Phil was there and waiting for authorities.

It is reasonable then to believe that the phone was not operational because pieces of it were scattered on the balcony.

Now, if the phone was broken, was it being held by Ms. LaDue January when she was shot and then dropped on the ground?

Would a three to four foot drop onto a floor be enough to shatter the phone, or was the cordless thrown down in a fit of rage?

If so, how did the phone become covered with blood and then placed on the table? 

Unfortunately, I am left with more questions than reasonable responses.

In sum, the unknown white pieces visible in the crime scene photos are one more reason to question the suicide classification that authorities assigned to the LaDue January case.     

All posts on this topic can be viewed by clicking here: Nikki LaDue January.

19 comments: said...

Having dropped my phone numerous times, I'd doubt if a simple drop would cause it to shatter.

The Blonde Duck said...

You'd be a great mystery writer.

Clarissa Draper said...

I agree with the Blonde Duck. Have you ever thought of becoming the next Truman Capote? You'd make a brilliant novel. You could call it In Cold Blood II!

Pat Hatt said...

Yeah no way what so ever a three-four foot drop would shatter a phone. It would have to be made of pure glass or chucked really really hard.

Little Ms. Fun said...

There is no way that phone broke by simply dropping it. There is more to this story! Are we ignoring the fact that there were TWO lighters and TWO brands of cigarettes? Fishy to me...

ladyfi said...

I wonder if we'll ever know what really happened.

WomanHonorThyself said...

my phone broke when it fell! great stuff Slam..keep em comin~!

Diane said...

I just reviewed today a book from author Lis Wiehl. You would love her and her books if you don't already know her. Have a great week! :O)

Miriam said...

Thank you Slam Dunk for exposing the lack of investigation as well as questionable behavior of law enforcement as well as the coroner. We have always believed the phone, and more importantly, the phone records would answer many of the questions we have about Nikki's death. Ladyfi, we will NEVER stop until we know the truth.The answers are out there, we just need to keep on looking and persevere.

BobKat said...

She had the phone at or near the position the bullet exited her skull, correct. Did the bullet shatter the phone as she was holding it? If shattered, how does a intact phone appear later on the table?

Also, is she wearing a shoe, on her left foot?

Theresa Milstein said...

I'm amazed there are so many unanswered questions with this case. I'm with The Blonde Duck - you would make a good mystery writer.

Brian Miller said...

dang, yeah...and why did that not show up the police report? crazy stuff man. puzzle pieces not fitting...

Maxi said...

Gunshot wound to right temple…

Gun found under left thigh…


TRex said...

what if....? what if the marks on the wall and door frame, reportedly where the bullet struck after exiting Nikki's head, were instead marks made by the phone being slammed at the wall? It never made sense how the projectile allegedly landed in the chair to Nikki's right after exiting the left top of her head. Certainly it would explain the lack of blood anywhere on the white stucco. Great job Slam have a unique ability to clarify the details...

Elisabeth Hirsch said...

You raise such valid points! It does seem as if something more went on there!

zorindha said...

Wow, really interesting. Seems strange to write it off as a suicide. How did the gun get underneath her thigh, for one?

Slamdunk said...

@ zorindha: That is a good question, and authorities have a tough sell in saying that it just happen to land there.

Slamdunk said...

@ Blond Duck, Clarissa and Theresa: Thanks for the compliment--it is received well by this amateur.

@ TRex: I had not thought of that.

@ BobKat: I conferred with some folks close to the case and they believe that she does not have a shoe on her foot--it is unclear in the image but the illusion of a shoe is created by an ankle bracelet and the toes of her barefoot folded.

Vivi said...

I've seen the pic of the table. There are two packs of Marlborough cigarettes and two lighters. Where and what is the other brand of cigarette? Unless it is in the back, the phone looks complete.
The white could be a dead leaf, a bit of paper dropped by the police, or blown in. It is an open balcony.
As for the gun under the left thigh, there could have been some minor convulsions from the head wound. The phone was definately moved though. I wonder who moved it?