Missing since Circa January 5, 1978 from Las Vegas, Nevada
Classification: Endangered Missing
Circumstances of Disappearance
Nikole disappeared some time around Christmas time in 1977, when her father and his girlfriend left Dearborn, Michigan, with the child.
In Labor Day weekend 1977, Jarrett was at the wheel when the car he was riding in with his girlfriend, Susan Klingel, and their young daughter, Nikole, went out of control and rolled several times before finally coming to a stop. Susan was thrown from the vehicle and died. Jarrett and Nikole were not seriously injured. Jarrett and Susan had never married. Soon, Jarrett had a new girlfriend, Barbara, and the two had plans to take Nikole with them and start a new life out West.
Jarrett and Barbara didn't say where they were going. He told some friends they were headed toward Las Vegas. Someone else said they were on their way to California.
In 1997s Nikole's grandparents hired a private investigator who found the Bettersons living in Las Vegas. But there was no trace of Nikole. Records were searched, but no evidence was found that she ever made it with her father to their new home. It was as though Nikole, sometime in early 1978, had simply ceased to exist. Except in the eyes of the Social Security Administration. Until she turned 18, it kept sending her the monthly survivor benefit that goes to children whose parents have died. Jarrett picked the check up each month at a local post office.
When a detective questioned the Bettersons about Nikole's whereabouts, they promised to get back to him in a week. Jarrett called the detective four days later and said he had no other option but to cooperate. But he needed time. Give me a few weeks, Jarrett said, and I'll set up a meeting with Nikole. Ten days later, Jarrett called again, asking for more time. The Bettersons then committed suicide. Barbara had written a letter to Jarrett's mother;
"By the time you get this we should be dead," Barbara wrote. "Jarrett is about to go to jail and I don't want to live without him. I'm sorry about living apart from our family. I'm sorry about so many things. We've had a sad and difficult life."
Inside the envelope was a money order for $900 to pay for their cremation. It wasn't until three weeks later that the bodies were discovered by the apartment manager. No suicide note was found in the apartment and no mention was made of Nikole, who would now be 22 if still alive.
Investigators Las Vegas Police Department
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Detective Jeff Rosgen
Las Vegas Police Department
Agency Case Number: 970620-0755
NCMEC Number: NCMC1151025
Las Vegas Review-Journal
NamUs MP #2543
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