The Death of Nikki LaDue January: Part XIV

One corrected programming note--tonight's episode (December 5, 2011) of Disappeared featuring the Brianna Maitland missing person case, will be shown on Investigation Discovery at 9 pm ET/PT rather than the 10 pm that I stated last week.

You can see the trailer here.

I hope it generates much discussion and new leads.

Ok, now for my next post on the death of Nikki LaDue January.

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. 


I have dedicated lots of time on this case to discussing the evidence.

Evidence captured by the investigator's photos: a handgun, the victim seated on a stool in the corner of her balcony, blood, etc.

Scene details recorded by law enforcement in official reports--including the bullet's estimated trajectory and a mysterious bloody phone.

And have discussed important statements by witnesses; ranging from the victim's mother who said that her daughter had an aversion to going barefoot (yet was found barefoot) to a responding sergeant writing that the victim's husband said that he had been a police officer for several years in Texas (yet this was oddly not able to be verified).

But the confusing evidence is not as problematic as what I feel is the lack of professionalism shown in processing the death scene--no measurements, no sketches, little collection of evidence, missing evidence, and the limited usefulness of the photos (one image that includes the detective's camera case) to offer some examples.

This makes testing alternate theories to suicide nearly impossible.

But what if someone used mathematics to help recreate the scene--as well as derive some of those lost measurements?

Would that be sufficient to then test the theory that Nikki LaDue January ended her life that morning in July so long ago?

Well, a guest writer named "The Logical Engineer" over at the victim's blog has done this and offered his/her informed opinion.

He/she reviewed the police reports, the photos, and the independent coroner's report.

Here is an excerpt from the resulting post Math=Murder! :

...Nikki would have had to hold the gun at an awkward 30 degree angle to the side of her head (wrist bent forward, with the gun tilted slightly downward by around 10 degrees (even more awkward).

Keep in mind that the gun has a 3.5” barrel length and her hand would be this distance away.

Keep in mind that the gun used was a double action only gun (DAO), with a reported notoriously long and heavy trigger pull.

Keep in mind that Nikki would have to have done this with her head turned more than 50 degrees to the right.

Get a protractor and try to mimic these angles . . . they are uncomfortable (un-natural) and would have made pulling the trigger difficult at best!

One additional note to the author's above discussion of trigger-pull--evidently Nikki was also recovering from arm/hand surgery related Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in the weeks prior to her death. This surgery could have impaired her ability to pull the trigger; certainly making it more logical for her to choose another method of suicide that did not rely on finger strength.

In sum and with the information provided and inferred, The Logical Engineer argues that it is difficult to believe that a Ms. LaDue January would choose to commit suicide in this manner.

He/she even offers a different theory.

One that involves homicide.

The post is technical, but is an important part of this sad story.

It offers a foundation for others to challenge/enhance.

In this continuing tale of a deceased mother prematurely labeled by authorities as a suicide.

You can read The Logical Engineer's full post by going here.

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


The Blonde Duck said...

This just gets sadder and sadder. said...

There would be a couple of questions.

1. From Ms. January's position, was she reclining. Would that make a difference?

2. If this was suicide, could she have brought the gun up, basically, upside down? Her palm would have been facing outward.

For me, that position would be less awkward.

Creepy Query Girl said...

seems like too many strange factors to rule it as a suicide right away.

Pat Hatt said...

The more you show, the more sloppy and down right lazy the intial investigators seem, if you can even call them that.

B said...

None of the details of this add up. It just doesn't make sense.

Lazy, lazy and sloppy all around. :-(

Elisabeth Hirsch said...

So sad! I'm going to read that post now.

Little Ms. Fun said...

It's almost pathetic at how little the police force investigated this case. It was clearly not a suicide and they are allowing a killer to run around free. Anyone else feel a little less safe?!

Ciara said...

This just keeps getting more upsetting. Why do we hear so much about police screw ups. I feel for family and friends of the victim.

Tamika Eason said...

Yes, this keeps getting sadder and sadder.

Lydia Kang said...

So terribly sad.

Bob G. said...

It continues to AMAZE me how the authorities didn't pick up on ANY of this's so "in your face".

Good post.

Keep us updated.

STay safe out there.

Theresa Milstein said...

I feel the same way as The Blonde Duck. How could so much strange evidence be ignored? Some of it seems so obvious in retrospect. If the gun was held at an awkward angle, why wasn't it a red flag?

Thanks for the show info.

Christina Lee said...

I agree with Pat! Whoa that's a sobering picture!

Carol Kilgore said...

I keep asking myself why the police did such a sloppy job. The answer I get isn't pretty.

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

this just keeps getting more bizarre

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Is the case closed? I can't remember. If it is, they can reopen it, right? said...

thanks! watching it now! said...

The show on Ms. Maitland was excellent.

Maxi said...

The facts in "Logical's" report convince me all the more this wasn't suicide.

No way Nikki shot herself; the gun would not have landed UNDER her thigh.

NikkiLaDueJanuary said...

A Catch Up Post for Nikki LaDue January Case by Cold No More - Norm Holliston

NikkiLaDueJanuary said...

Phil January Interview with PI (Part 4 of many) by holliston2012

NikkiLaDueJanuary said...

Phil January Interview with PI (Part 5 of many)

NikkiLaDueJanuary said...

Reader Observation on Nikki LaDue January Crime Scene: Phil and Police are Wrong