Top Row - Left to Right : Michelle, November 1988; April 1987; December 1986; unknown
Bottom Row: Dates unknown
Michelle Marie Ashley Nicholaou
Missing since between November / December, 1988 from Holyoke, Hampden County, Massachusetts
Classification: Endangered Missing
Circumstances of Disappearance
Michelle was last seen in Holyoke, Massachusetts between November and December, 1988. At the time, she was living with her common-law husband, Michael Nicholaou.
According to family members, Nicholaou kept close tabs on Michelle, and was very controlling - to the point, he would not even allow her to shave her underarms. They traveled a lot, between Louisiana, Massachusetts, Virginia, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Vermont.
Sometime in the beginning of August 1988, Michelle took their two children, and ran away from Nicholaou. Nicholaou was furious and drove to her relative's homes in New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts, looking for them. When Nicholaou found Michelle and the children, he forced her to go back with him; three to four months later, sometime after her sister's November 1988 wedding, Michelle vanished.
When her family went looking for her in December, they found the home abandoned, the refrigerator full of food, the Christmas tree up with wrapped presents underneath, and her children's baby books, all left behind. There was no sign of Michelle. Michael Nicholaou had run off with the children. Michelle's family filed a missing persons report on December 20, 1988.
In 2000, Michelle’s mom asked Private Investigator, Lynn-Marie Carty, to help her find out what happened to Michelle, and to track down Nicholaou and the children. Ms. Carty traced Nicholaou's steps right after Michelle's disappearance to Virginia. He left the children with a former employee of his porn shop, stole her van, and ran again. Later, he came back for the children, and went to his brother's house, where he left the kids for a year. He also visited his mother's house, also in Virginia; some former Army buddies in Florida; and lived with the children, in the family car in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida in 1992. When people asked about Michelle, he repeated a story of her running off with a drug dealer, or he told others she was dead.
Michelle grew up in Connecticut River Valley, and met Nicholaou in Virginia. Nicholaou grew up in Long Island, and enlisted in the Army, serving in the Vietnam War. He and Michelle moved to Charlottesville, Virginia, where Nicholaou opened a porn shop. When the business failed, they moved to Holyoke, Massachusetts. They had a daughter born in Virginia in 1986, and a son was born in South Hampton, Massachusetts in 1988. The two children have since reunited with their mothers family.
In October 2001, Investigator Carty, tracked Nicholaou down in Lutz, Florida. She called him and his wife Aileen. He denied even knowing Michelle, but finally admitted he did, but said they were never married, and claimed she ran off with a Columbian drug dealer. At the end of the conversation, Ms. Carty told Nicholaou she was giving Michelle's mom his number and hung up. According to investigators, Nicholaou tore the phone from the wall, and again went on the run. He and his wife Aileen moved to Georgia, where it is alleged Nicholaou ran her over with a car after an argument, in November 2005. On New Years Eve, in 2005, Nicholaou went to Florida where Aileen was recuperating, and gunned down his estranged wife, and stepdaughter Terrin Bowman. Surrounded by police, he fatally shot himself.
According to authorities, Michael Nicholaou is now a person of interest in the Connecticut River Valley Serial Killings, rapes, disappearances and murders of other women in New Hampshire, Virginia, Texas, Florida, Vermont, Massachusetts, and possibly New York and Illinois.
Investigators Holyoke Police Department
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Detective Kevin Boyle
Investigator Lynn-Marie Carty
Holyoke Police Department
Agency Case Number: 01-248-1V
NCIC Number: M-882077090 Source Information:
Please refer to this number when contacting any agency with information regarding this case.
The Family of Michelle Marie Ashley Nicholaou
Investigator Lynn-Marie Carty
Crime and Justice
St. Petersburg Times 1/8/06
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