ALMA, Ark. (KNWA) — In the evening hours of 1995 in the small town of Alma, a mother’s worst nightmare became reality. Her child was abducted. The unsolved case still captivates the nation. Police still get leads — almost daily.
“Each one of these envelopes is a lead,” says Chief Jeff Pointer with The Alma Police Department as he points to the files inside one of 20 filing cabinets.
In the narrow room inside the Alma Police station, thousands of files document the painful past and the community’s resolve.
“If we’re not gonna’ keep working for her who is?” asks Chief Pointer.
Weekly tips and leads have kept the decades-old case from going cold. Morgan Nick — now missing for nearly 25 years.
“She was only six years old, she was a little girl,” recalls Morgan’s mother, Colleen Nick.
Nick keeps the unwavering promise she made that heart-wrenching night in 1995: “We have never given up on you and we are going to find you.”
On June 9 of that year, Morgan left Nick’s side at an Alma little league baseball game to catch fireflies.
“She threw her arms around my neck and gave me a big hug and she kissed me on the cheek and she climbed down the bleachers with the other two children and ran into the parking area,” remembers Nick.
When the other kids returned to the bleachers, Morgan wasn’t with them. Her playmates told police they saw a man with a beard talking to her next to a red camper truck. To this day no one knows who he is. Through the years, police have released two different composites sketched of the man considered to be the main suspect in the case. Alma police, Arkansas State Police and the FBI keep searching for answers.
“We’ve always had hope. There are two motives here. One is to find Morgan another is to find a person who could potentially do it to another person,” says Russell White, the former Alma police chief and one of the first to arrive on the scene.
White had only been Alma police chief for a year when Morgan was abducted. He retired in July 2019. Not solving this case still pains him; though his work with Nick is not over.
“It enveloped my whole career. It’s a big part of my life,” says White.
In 2010 and then in 2017, investigators dug up the same area in Spiro, Oklahoma. The home of a potential suspect. They found nothing.
“It does make you hold your breath, you know, but it’s one of the things that until we know until they can prove to me that Morgan is there, I can’t put everything I have in that lead,” says Nick.
“We protect her from the leads that we don’t think she needs to know about, that aren’t going anywhere or we don’t believe they are,” White tells us.
Alma’s current police chief, Jeff Pointer, says the department still gets an average of two to three leads a day. The most common usually come with no evidence.
“My grandpa assaulted me when I was a child and now that he’s passed away I think that he’s the one who abducted Morgan,” he says.
Others seem plausible.
“We’ve had cases where people have actually said they’re Morgan and those had to be cleared with DNA testing,” recalls Chief Pointer.
The cases of Elizabeth Smart and Jaycee Dugart held captive and later found, give Nick hope.
“Morgan is my daughter, she’s my daughter. And my fight is for her. Giving up, even in the beginning, giving up wasn’t an option. It isn’t an option,” she says with tears in her eyes.
Nick’s non-profit named “The Morgan Nick Foundation” gives her strength by helping other families search for their missing loved ones.
“When the media and the community and law enforcement work together, it works. Kids come home,” she says.
Nick says that statistics show when a child is kidnapped by a stranger and remains missing for more than two years, like Morgan, only 2% of those children are safely recovered.
Her continued fight for Morgan is in hopes that she’s part of that 2%; keeping faith that one day the room filled with files at the Alma police station will serve a new purpose.
“You can’t give up hope until someone can prove to you that your person is not coming home, you are their resource,” says Nick.
Nick’s work has also resulted in Arkansas renaming its child abduction emergency alert to The Morgan Nick Alert System. Morgan’s case also created a Child Abduction Response Team (CART) in Arkansas to more effectively and efficiently search for missing kids. In My 2019, Arkansas became the first state to gain national statewide certification for its Child Abduction Response Teams. One-hundred-90 agencies in Arkansas makeup 12 different teams of experts to efficiently respond to potential child abduction.
If you have even the slightest amount of information on Morgan’s abduction Coleen Nick and police want you to come forward, knowing a single tip could shed enough light to bring Morgan back home
We’ve created a timeline of the developments in Morgan’s case during the last 24 years. You can see it right now, here.