Nyleen Kay Marshall was born on 18th September 1978 in Orange, California, USA.
On June 25th, 1983, 4-year-old Nyleen Marshall was at a picnic with her family at a campground in the Helena National Forest, near Helena, Montana. At around 4pm, she was playing with some other children who had walked ahead of her somewhere close to the Beaver Dams on Maupin Creek. When the other children turned around, Nyleen was nowhere to be seen.
Police searched the area around Maupin Creek, the campground and the area where Nyleen was last seen but nothing was found. A man wearing a jogging suit was seen in the area on the same day and was even seen talking to Nyleen, however it is unknown if he is involved with her disappearance.
The FBI, various volunteers, and members of the local LDS Church all helped search. They even searched abandoned mine shafts, but sadly no trace of Nyleen was ever found.
Two years after her disappearance, on November 27th 1985, a phone call was placed to the National Missing Persons System from a man claiming to have abducted Nyleen. Two months prior to this phone call, a typewritten letter was sent to law enforcement in Wisconsin from an unknown man claiming to have picked up a girl named Kay. This letter included details about Nyleen’s disappearance that had never been made public, and one detective even described the writer of the letter as being “privy to things that a normal person would not have access to.”
The writer of the letter claimed to have a “good investment income”, and he worked from home and he home-schooled Kay. He also claimed that he frequently travelled with her, to places such as the UK, Canada, and across the USA. The writer also claimed that he knew her family missed her, but he could not return her.
The letter was postmarked from Madison, Wisconsin. Around the same time that this letter was sent, a national missing children’s charity, Child Find of America, received several phone calls from the writer of this letter. The phone calls were traced to phone booths, including one that was located near a pharmacy in Edgerton, Wisconsin.
With the information from the phone calls and the letter, law enforcement suspected that Nyleen had become a victim of sexual abuse.
Although the full letter has never been made public, here are a few extracts that aired in the TV show Unsolved Mysteries in 1990:
“I didn’t want that person to try and get information from her. All I could tell them was that she was OK. I hope Child Find can get the following back to her family. I picked “Kay” up on the road in the Elkhorn park area between Helena and Boulder. She was crying and frightened and as I held her she was shaking and I decided then that I would keep her and love her. I took her home with me. I have a nice investment income and I can work from home so I care for her myself all the time. I teach her at home she likes to come with me when I travel. Her hair is short and curly now and she has really grown. She is about 45 inches and around 50 pounds. She has all four of her permanent upper and two of her lower incisors. She takes a bath and brushes her teeth every day. Her favourite meal is pizza and cherry.”
“She would gladly recount to your trips to San Francisco, New York, Oklahoma City, New Orleans, Nashville, Chicago, Puerto Rico and Canada. We were even in Britain for a month last year and she loved it. (Nobody questions passports).”
“It is or where it comes from, only that it comes from the bathroom every morning. It is actually a spoonful of my semen. It doesn’t affect her physically. I have NEVER *molested* her in any other way. She is a sweet little girl and it is because of how much I have grown to love her that I realise how much her family must miss her. But she has adjusted and she seems happy. She trusts me and isn’t afraid. We play a lot and she laughs when we clown around. She smiles and acts coy when I tease her. She giggles when we snuggle and hugs me sometimes for no apparent reason. I love her and I have her. I just can’t let her go.”
Sometime after the letter and phone calls, a witness claimed to have seen a girl who looked a lot like Nyleen at a restaurant in Janesville, Wisconsin. An unknown induvial claimed to have killed Nyleen and disposed of her body in a mine shaft, near Helena. The mine shaft was searched, but nothing was found and has since been sealed.
After the airing of the show “Unsolved Mysteries”, a tip came in from a viewer who believed that Nyleen may have been one of his classmates in Bellingham, Washington. Although it was not Nyleen, this tip did help to find Monica Bonilla, a girl who had gone missing in 1982 from Burbank, California, having been kidnapped by her non-custodial father.
The only other potential sighting of Nyleen was by a nurse at a New Orleans hospital in 1997. The nurse said that a woman came in calling herself “Helena” with an unknown man to try and admit her for childbirth. The woman stated that she thought her mother might have been called “Nyleen” and that she thought she grew up in another country, despite having no accent. When medical professionals began asking the pair more questions about their identities and medical background, they quickly left the hospital.
In 2017, Jefferson County Sheriff stated that they still have no substantial leads in the case.
This case is incredibly sad, and what is even more heartbreaking is that the family may never get any answer as to what happened. Is the writer of the letter genuine? Is Nyleen still with this mysterious man? And was that her in the hospital?
I have attached the video link of the full episode of “Unsolved Mysteries” which features Nyleen’s case. If after watching this you recognise her, or you think of something that could help find Nyleen, please contact the Jefferson County Sheriff on (406) 225-4075.
True crime, missing, unsolved, children, USA, California, missing child, missing person, unsolved disapperance, cold case, disapperaed