Missing since October 1, 1976 from Wauwatosa, Wisconsin
Classification: Endangered Missing
Circumstances of Disappearance
Nahida Khatib, a Muslim, Lebanese-born woman, vanished on October 1, 1976, from her home in the 4000 block of Menomonee River Parkway.
She left behind her purse, keys, shoes and clothes. Food, ready to be cooked, sat on the stove and meat was left thawing on the counter top. There was a half-empty cup of coffee. Her 2-year-old niece, whom she’d been babysitting, was unattended in a playpen.
The only items missing were Nahida's furry slippers and bathrobe.
After 10 years of marriage, Nahida was in the throes of a nasty divorce from her husband.
From the beginning detectives suspected foul play. Investigators believed that Khatib’s husband was involved in her disappearance. The husband died in 2001. Immediately after police started questioning the husband about the disappearance of Nahida, he retained a defense lawyer and questioning stopped. He was never charged with the crime; there was no evidence, no body or sign of struggle.
Nahida married the Palestinian man in 1966 after he asked Nahida's father for permission at her Lebanon home. He promised to bring her back to America to live with him. The couple quickly had their first child - a son.
Even after her son was born, Nahida met only a handful of people during her 10 years in the Wauwatosa area. Later as she came to know a few people, she told a neighbor that she feared her husband wanted to kill her.
That neighbor told officers that, before her disappearance, Nahida had mentioned that her husband tried to persuade her to move to Arizona to live with him, without marriage, as his maid. She declined his offer and told her sister she was afraid for her life.
After Nahida's disappearance, her husband was indicted for food stamp fraud and conspiracy, and possession of two unregistered, silencer-equipped pistols.
Over the years her family heard her body may have been placed in acid after she was taken from the home.
A suspicious car spotted in Nahida's driveway the morning of her disappearance was linked to a relative of her husband. The husband told police his soon-to-be ex-wife was caught up with a religious group and probably took off with them. Police never believed that because Nahida would not have opened the door for a stranger without her husband there. Investigators at the time believed Nahida opened the door that day for someone she knew well. One theory is that Nahida was overpowered and may have been knocked out by chloroform, then wrapped in a rug and placed in the trunk of a car that may have been pulled into the attached garage.
Eight years after her disappearance, a Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge declared Nahida Khatib legally dead because she had not been heard from in more than seven years.
Investigators Wauwatosa Police Department
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Wauwatosa Police Department
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Return to the Unexplained Disappearances' Index