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This is exactly right. We wanted to take a moment to share some of the important work that the phone line podcast is doing to cover overlooked cold cases within marginalized communities in the Southeast. Their latest season highlights the cases of missing teenager Laurieton Nicholson and an unidentified homicide victim, both set against one of the worst tornadoes that Nashville, Tennessee, has ever seen. So keep listening to hear their story, beginning with episode one, An Unidentified Man. And then please go to the foul line feed and you can hear Episode two, Son of Nashville.
That's out right now. And then please go to the following podcast, Dotcom, and follow the show at Fall Line podcast on Twitter and Instagram and subscribe to the fall line on Stitcher Apple podcast or wherever you listen. We hear it exactly right. Are so proud to have the show on our roster. So please check it out. Thanks so much.
This is the first episode in a three part series. It discusses crime scenes, graphic injury, autopsy and violence. Listener discretion is advised.
This is the fall line. From the archives of the United States National Weather Service, the following is directly excerpted from reports of the 1998 Nashville tornado. An historic tornado outbreak of at least 13 tornadoes struck middle Tennessee on April 16th, 1998. Many of these tornadoes were strong or violent and tracked long distances, killing four people and injuring nearly one hundred people while causing hundreds of millions of dollars in damage. The most infamous tornado during the outbreak struck downtown Nashville, blowing out numerous windows and skyscrapers and causing the collapse of some older buildings.
This tornado outbreak was unusual in several respects. The event lasted nearly the entire day with the first round of severe weather beginning very early, around 4:00 a.m. Central Standard Time and the second and more significant round of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes occurring during the afternoon and evening. The tornado went through downtown Nashville at three p.m. and on toward east Nashville, Donalson and Hermitage. The tornado blew out many windows on office buildings. The NationsBank office towers where one of the hardest hit buildings in Nashville, 30 private airplanes were damaged at Kornelia Ford Airport.
Thirty five buildings in downtown Nashville were red tagged, meaning these buildings were structurally unsound. At least three hundred homes were damaged in east Nashville. Many homes lost a good part of their roofs. Trees were uprooted. Telephone poles were knocked down. St. Anne's Episcopal Church, which is well over one hundred years old, received a major damage. Uprooted trees, damaged roofs to many homes was the story across Donelson and Hermitage. Numerous windows were blown out at the Gaylord building and Donalson about half the trees.
That is. Over a thousand trees were blown down at Andrew Jackson's home. The Hermitage mayor, Phil Bredesen, closed downtown Nashville on Friday, April 17th. Many workers had an unscheduled holiday. The downtown area was reopened Monday, April 20th. Everyone knows a little something about Nashville, the home of country and bluegrass northeast of Memphis, where rock and roll and rhythm and blues were born, though both might claim it. It's Nashville that gets the title of Music City, maybe more rhinestone than Diamond of Tennessee, a state the name derived from the Cherokee town of Tennessee.
Nashville sits in the middle region of the state on rich soil. It's over 500 square miles and one of the largest cities by landmass in the southeast. In terms of population, Nashville proper is home to over half a million. Little Richard lived in Nashville for years, holding, as The Tennessean newspaper describes, quote, long residences in the famed RMV clubs on Jefferson Street. There's Dolly Parton, Justin Timberlake, young Buck, Carrie Underwood, the list of stars who are from or who live in Nashville who can sometimes be spotted downtown where tourists snap pictures of the city's walk of fame.
They seem inless. Online vacation guides are crowded with memorabilia shops to peruse restaurants serving Nashville hot chicken and links to book a seat at the Grand Ole Opry or to download a map of music row.
Nashville is also home to Tennessee State University, Fisk University and Meharry Medical College, all three historically black colleges and universities. The latter two were founded in the decade after the Civil War. And there's also Vanderbilt named after an American millionaire who provided its initial endowment. His name is all over town, including the various Vanderbilt medical facilities that serve the city. It's a music town, a college town, an everlasting tourist attraction, and a city that's faced numerous natural disasters.
Nashville has seen floods, a collapsed reservoir, tornadoes, fire and heat waves, blizzards and earthquakes when it comes to states of emergency.
Nashville, Tennessee, has been host to more than its fair share of trouble. 1998 was a particularly bad year. On April 15th and April 16th of that year, deadly tornadoes swept through the southeast. Much of the damage was concentrated in Tennessee and Mississippi on April 16th. At about five p.m., downtown Nashville was hit. According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, quote, A tornado roared down music row, sending tourists running for cover. That tornado, quote, touched down in Centennial Park before cutting a path clean through downtown Nashville.
The damage was extensive. Uprooted trees, crushed power lines, residential homes, government buildings. The AJC reported that the tornado even, quote, ripped the seal off the state flag. It hit retail stores honkytonks in the football stadium where residents, all parts of the structure, quote, being tossed around like popsicle sticks. A reporter for The Tennessean described the aftermath as chaotic lights down, residents driving recklessly through intersections strewn with debris. At least 100 people were injured and one was killed.
A student from Vanderbilt University, part of the Jackson Sun, he was, quote, crushed underneath the tree in Centennial Park, according to the article. There have been no tornado sirens to warn residents to take cover. All told, Nashville faced roughly seven million dollars worth of damage. Different media outlets gave varying totals for the cost in the number of injured, but they all agreed the city was seriously impacted. A state of emergency was declared. The Boston Globe reported that then Vice President Al Gore went down to Tennessee to view the aftermath.
East Nashville, the hardest hit. So a massive recovery and cleanup efforts in the days following the storm. A 2013 Tennesseean retrospective recalls that the former Nashville mayor, Phil Briston, quote, personally directed traffic as cleanup trucks rolled through. The destruction would take weeks to assess, contain and repair. And it wasn't limited to Nashville. Much of Tennessee have been hit in the following weeks. Tennessee news was dominated by that storm. The repairs, the stretched thin public services, the first responders.
And maybe that's why one of the reasons why the body found in north Nashville just a few days before the tornadoes hit got so little press. That discovery came on Monday, April 13th, 1998, a cool, clear morning in Nashville. It was around eight a.m. that someone called the police to report the smoke. The caller lived on Murray Street, a dead end road in north Nashville. The street runs up against Interstate 265 where Pache meet the road barrier.
And back then, there were a few vacant lots at the end of the road, too. So no direct neighbors where the street ran into the embankment. According to The Tennessean, that particular spot was known as a convenient place to abandoned strip cars. Mary Street was reportedly popular with sex workers, too, and it wasn't unusual for residents to see cars on their street at all hours. For The Tennessean, residents had heard a car early on the morning of the 13th that around 5:00 a.m. Nothing remarkable there.
As noted, the street saw traffic, but as the sun rose, it became evident that something had been left behind, something burning. According to a Crimestoppers bulletin published later that summer, Mary Street resident saw a rolled up beige carpet at the end of her road. It was still smoldering and wrapped inside that charred material with the body. The victim was so profoundly burned that her The Tennessean first responders could not guess at race, gender or age or cause of death.
The fire hadn't spread, but kerosene sprayed on the carpet had created a very intense heat. And yet no one had heard a thing. As reporter John Yates pointed out, the traffic from Highway to 65 would probably have drowned out, quote, more suspicious sounds. Police arrived and the scene was photographed and processed, but it would take a medical examination to determine more about the victim. The police report is brief. Quote, The body was found in a crohn face up position at the dead end of Mary Street in north Nashville at the time of this report.
The body could not be identified, having been burned beyond recognition. The body was transported to F.C. for further examination. The case remains open as of April 13th, 1998. At fifteen hundred hours, there were two articles at least that we found published on the discovery of this victim. They are also brief. The Tennesseans initial report didn't contain the information about the carpet. Likely that detail hadn't been released to the press at the time of publication. Perhaps there would have been a follow up as soon as the coroner's report was in.
Had there not been a dramatic change to the Nashville news cycle, the Tennessee tornadoes came in the case, disappeared from the local papers. There was much to report on in the state and in Mississippi and beyond. And so that report from April 14th remained the only spring coverage the body found at Mary Street. In that report, there were virtually no identifying details, nothing to help a family recognize their missing loved one in the description. Only upon the publication of the Crime Stoppers bulletin in July was more known about the victim, according to the Bulletin, the Mary Street victim was a black male between 18 and 25 years old.
His body had been profoundly burned and post-mortem examiners were able to give an approximate height of about five 11 in a weight range of one hundred and fifty to one hundred and sixty pounds, though not in the paper. A source who has seen the autopsy told us that the cause of death was listed as blunt force trauma to the head. And according to our source, a toxicology report was run on the victim. The results showed that no controlled substances were in his system.
The examiner was able to distinguish some details of the young man's clothing, a pullover shirt, blue jeans, a maroon Sepo zipper style jacket with white K.K displayed on it and sandals, the clothing details were specific enough that someone hopefully could have recognized them, but no identification came. Eventually, the unidentified victim's remains would either need to be interred, cremated or stored for testing. In Nashville, unidentified persons are generally buried. Every city has so-called potter's fields or cemeteries or areas where public burials are conducted.
These public burials are funded by the city because of a dissident's lack of funds, unknown identity or unclaimed status. Historically, criminals might also be buried in Potter's fields, sometimes like other citizens, in unmarked plots that might or might not be recorded in. A lot of these public burial grounds usually exist within or adjacent to traditional cemeteries, where there are plots that are also sold privately in the 20th and 21st centuries. Nashville's indigent or proper burials have occurred in various cemeteries and on county owned land throughout the city.
In some cases, there are not individual grave markers whether the decedent's identity was known or unknown. Now, the process is overseen by Metro Social Services, specifically indigent burial and cremation services. The eligibility for assistance is outlined on their website. The office works to provide plotts caskets and grave markers for residents of Davidson County or those who died while in Nashville. The Tennessean newspaper has spotlighted the program on a few occasions, and its program manager, a woman named Carol Wilson.
Metro Bordo Cemetery, is one of the sites of Nashville's indigent burials. A 2014 Tennessean article describes the area as industrial, and the graveyard is home to a thousand people who were interred via Metro Social Services, maps show that the entrance to the cemetery is off the main road on the way to the main building of a local water treatment plant. The Tennessean notes that Metro Social Services made use of Bordo Cemetery from 1986 until 2003, Bordo has attracted a number of find a grave contributors who have photographed nearly a thousand of the markers in the cemetery, both the indigent burial section and in the main burial area.
One such photo on the website shows the entrance to the potter's field, or the nameplates are flesh with the ground. That section is marked by a granite memorial bearing the following words Bordo Cemetery.
Rest with us here at this stone where poverty and suffering are not known and dedicated to the deceased citizens of Nashville, Davidson County, who rest with us here.
It was in Bordo that the unidentified victim found on Mary Street in April of 1998 was buried. Unlike many victims who have covered his remains were not cremated upon his interment, a marker was placed John Doe, 19 per the Tennesseans. Brian has quote, he was the 19th unidentified man buried in the Bordo Cemetery. He lies in Plot 555, a grave overlooking the White's Creek wastewater treatment plant. We are not sure of the precise day of John Doe Nineteens burial.
The tornado came just three days after his body was found and there would have been an autopsy and required records to file. And all of that would have been slowed down by the city storm damage. But based on information from social services, we know the interment happened sometime in May. Assuming that John Doe, 19, was local to the city. Exactly how many young black men were missing that April in Nashville? How much could did the storm impact the public's awareness that a body had been found?
Did anyone miss the news due to a lack of power that would have signaled that the man could be their missing son or brother or friend? Or the 2000 census? David County had an African-American population of roughly 27 percent. Young black men and John Doe nineteens age range of 18 to twenty five. They numbered in the thousands. We can't say precisely how many young adult black males were reported missing in 1998. There aren't public records of clear cases. And as our audience knows, most missing persons reports are eventually closed.
But we can access the cases that are still open. The cold ones now present as entries in public databases when the parameters are limited to a five year span. NamUs lists exactly four missing black men from the greater Nashville area to further narrow the search to nineteen ninety eight. NamUs returns exactly one case.
The missing person in question is a young man named Marcus Rutledge, who was last seen by his family in June of 98, so he couldn't have been John Doe 19. But his family and authorities feared that he, too, was a homicide victim. Marcus was 23 years old at the time of his disappearance and a senior at Tennessee State University where he majored in biology. According to the Charlie Project, he'd actually planned on a career as a veterinarian, which is why his family was so concerned when they found his dog locked in an apartment bathroom without food or water.
It just wasn't something that Marcus would do. And there were no signs that he'd gone on a trip. Though his car was eventually found across town, markets remain missing while unsolved disappearances were comparatively rare in Nashville. There was plenty to keep law enforcement busy. The 1990s were hard on the city, and the effects of crime hit some communities harder than others. All told, there were ninety nine homicides in Nashville in 1998. John Doe, 19, was unusual and that his identity remained unknown.
But he shared three common factors with a number of the years other homicide victims. He was young, he was black, he was male. According to a long term study conducted by the Tennessee Department of Health, which covered the years 1995 to 2002, quote, among 15 to 30 four year old African-American males. Homicide was the leading cause of death, responsible for 34 percent of deaths in this age group. The study also found that across the board, black men and boys had the lowest life expectancies of populations living in the metropolitan areas of Tennessee.
A 2013 study found that across the United States, quote, non Hispanic black men were nearly ten point four times more likely than non Hispanic white men to die by homicide in the U.S.. That reality isn't reflected in the media that we consume. The white women are at the forefront of true crime entertainment. They're statistically much less likely to be murdered both in Tennessee and across the nation, per the Tennessee Department of Health study on the state's population, quote, Based on 2001 to 2003 data, African-American males aged 15 to 24 die from homicide at a rate that is more than 31 times that of white females.
When it came to covering the city's victims, Nashville's local paper actually had much more coverage than in many cases we've researched. In the 1990s, The Tennessean ran regular features on unsolved homicides and based on what we saw, the paper seems to have highlighted diverse victims and families affected by rising violence. Nineteen ninety five in nineteen ninety seven, where Nashville's worst years, though homicides were comparatively high in 1996 and 1998, leaders were concerned and the police were stretched thin.
And there was the worry at the tourist town of developing a reputation. As one city official told The Tennessean in 1997, quote, Nobody wants to see Music City become murder city. In 1997, The Tennessean reported that some big cities were seeing a decrease in crime. But Nashville wasn't so lucky. The city was facing what the paper described as, quote, a killing almost every third day. Reporter John Yates, who covered crime for The Tennessean throughout the 1990s, interviewed detectives who said by 1997 they were sometimes, quote, juggling five murder cases at once, according to Yates.
The city put various plans into action from citizen committees to participation in a national program called Officer Next Door per Yates 1997 article on the subject. The program encouraged law enforcement officers to buy homes in high crime areas that, quote, half market value in some neighborhoods. Law enforcement provided retailers with emergency beepers to summon police in October 1998. Tennessee in article mentions something called flex teams, which were small groups of officers that could be dispatched quickly by precinct captains to combat neighborhood crime.
And in 1998, Metro Nashville police expanded what they called their murder squad, along with increased homicides. Case clearance rates had also fallen, a cause of concern for the Metro Nashville Police Department. Nashville had begun the decade with a higher than average solve rate. The Tennessean reported it at 87 percent. But by 1997, that percentage had fallen to, quote, just under 70. And as reporter John Yates pointed out, caseloads had doubled in that time.
He interviewed a Metro Nashville captain who pointed out a problem that was facing an ever growing city, what the captain called, quote, mystery murders, though he doesn't elaborate. The concept is a common truth discussed in true crime circles. The more people, the more roads in the more access, the lower the likelihood that a victim can be traced to a suspect in a neat straight line. So Nashville saw major growth, in part due to the arrival of the Houston Oilers football team who relocated to Nashville in 1995.
But the decade was also hard. As we said, in 1998, the year John Doe 19, was found, there were 99 murders. Of those homicides, 21 would still be unsolved. By January of 1999, The Tennessean provided a long feature article on those unsolved homicides with each victim discussed by name. This piece, also by reporter John Yates, includes John Doe, 19, and the years other unidentified victim, a woman shot and left in the Cumberland River.
They were listed along Nashville citizens, the majority of whom were shot. In many cases, burglary or robbery are listed as the motive, though many are labeled as, quote, motive unknown. An elderly couple, Clayton and Norris, were shot in their home by a man in an army type uniform. A young woman named Carolyn Fisher was strangled and left along Interstate 40. The skeletal remains of a missing mother, 44 year old Donna, far or discovered in a wooded area.
Terrance Teasley, 21, was shot. No suspects. Kevin Carter, 20, one shot motive unknown. Germein Banks, 26, shot robbery. And the list goes on. The victims show no pattern of particular intent. Different races, ages, areas of town. But for each case marked motive unknown. There's an example of that mystery murder phenomenon. No clear trail to follow, perhaps no answers forthcoming. Of the twenty one then unsolved homicides, five took place in April, but only two occurred within a week of the tornado.
There was John Doe 19 on April 13th, and then there was Jeffrey Davis, who was shot on April 17th. Davis was found on Garfield Street just about half a mile away from Mary Street, where John Doe nineteens body was recovered. Both victims were found close to 65. Davis was found bleeding on the sidewalk and later died at Vanderbilt Hospital. To the best of our knowledge, Davis's murder remains unsolved. With the victim known as John Doe 19, though, detectives were looking at what were essentially two different cases, identifying the victim and catching the suspect.
We were able to speak with retired Nashville Detective Larry FLER, who worked on the department's murder squad in the 1990s. For a brief time, he was actually the lead detective on John Doe Nineteens case. We asked him to walk us through how they would have approached the case of an unidentified homicide victim, especially in the days that came before the tornado. He told us that preplanning was essential, that the murder squad had a number of procedures in place to help them quickly gather as much information as possible.
He also walked us through use of a regional teletype system, essentially NCIC, but focused on a particular state, in this case, Tennessee.
Well, in my career, when we first formed our squad in Nashville, we actually put all of our heads together and got a checklist. And the checklist consisted of at least one hundred and fifty different things, everything from date and approximate time that we felt at the time of being notified all the way through the other one hundred and fifty or sixty, including weather, temperature outside all types of of samples are extracting from, if we're outside, all types of forensic stuff that is gathered by our forensic team and such all the way down to once we if it was determined on an unidentified when a person that we felt was missing or we found out that somebody was on the missing persons report, and that's where we would follow up.
And when you've got a body with no identification. You keep that right up front on the front page as to everything we got and you get someone to ease with paperwork on the details or something like that. It might not even be there, so you treat each one of these victims as if they are likely, possibly not the person you feel that they are, they could be an unidentified individual. So that's that's the teamwork that we had at the National Party during that era in the unidentified cases that I worked.
I depended tremendously on the organization, it's called Ah, oh, see, I see. That's a regional organization, crime information center, and we is detectives that utilize the ICRC. We would offer a complete factual part of everything that we knew of the densified person. We would pour that into their system. And their system along with ours would then complete searches. And there was any other type of situation that might match up. Now, in this particular case.
We didn't get anything back from this victim. There's an entire file on that, and that alone with the RLC said, unfortunately, it was they had a regional office there in Nashville which made it much easier, and we gained a relationship with those professionals over there.
So there just weren't missing young adult black males who met the age and physical criteria at the time that at that time, because each and every hit that we would get hit would be close and we would follow up on it. But my memory is that they were definitely not in the crotch area where it could have been either in Nashville or of the age group or different things of that nature. So everything that we put in, we weren't able to get anything of value, but it helped us cancel so many others as well.
Larry told us that they would have employed in CIC two to run national and sometimes even international checks, they would have had the basic victim description back from the coroner on an average case within a day or two, and sometimes in as little as seven hours. The official report would come much later. But as with the Glynn County Jane Doe, the medical examiner would have prioritized giving law enforcement the basics they needed to begin sorting through missing persons reports. So with that in mind, the first check through the system would have likely come on April 14, but we can't be certain.
Detective Larry Fletcher left the homicide squad in July of 1998, so he can't speak to how the case eventually unfolded. But he was involved and the retrieval of evidence, evidence that metro Nashville would explore over the next two decades and the murder squad would have worked John Doe Nineteens case throughout the spring of 1998, but would have also experienced the same shutdowns as the rest of the city when the tornado hit on April 16th.
How much did the storm impact the search for the victim and the killer? In a 2013 article on the case, law enforcement relayed the effort to Tennesseean. Reporter Brian Ross has reported that quote. Sergeant Gary Kemper, who now leads Metro's cold case unit, said detectives worked feverishly. They developed persons of interest, even went out of state to conduct interviews. But the case went cold in 2001 and they never identified John Doe 19, end quote.
Now, there have been a few studies that concerned the combination of natural disaster and crime, but most focus on crimes that occur after a disaster and who is most vulnerable and which predators might take advantage of long term chaos like the multiple serial killers operating in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina. What's much harder to quantify, though, is how a natural disaster might affect an ongoing case. We can offer a study on that phenomenon, but we do know of a single specific example.
From the week of the Nashville tornado, there was a missing persons report filed on April 15th, 1998, two days after John Doe, 19, was found one day before the tornado hit. The report identified the missing person as Lorraine Nicholson of North Nashville. He was described as an 18 year old black male, according to the incident report. Lorraine was last seen by his mother, Sylvia, on April 12, 1998. The report mentions that he was living with his uncle on Jefferson Street, but that's not quite right.
He was actually staying with his mother and regularly visited his uncle's apartment. His mother and uncle reported that they'd last seen him on Sunday afternoon when he left the house on foot. The responding officer noted that Lorraine was on, quote, medication to treat schizophrenia and, quote, known to smoke marijuana. We don't know why the letter is included unless it was discussed in response to a routine question about medications and substance issues. Lorraine Nicholson was a native of Nashville, where he'd grown up attending its public schools and participating in civic programs.
His name appeared in the local paper a few times before that April when he disappeared at Pearl Cona High School. He'd been a talented athlete, running track and placing in several races that were reported in the regional sports section. He was 15 then and a lot would change over the next three years. The police department's report lists Laurean as six foot one and one hundred and fifty pounds with black hair and brown eyes. His mother and uncle said he was last seen in a white shirt, blue jeans, black Nike's and a black hat.
There's not mention of a jacket or what style of Nike's sneakers or slip on sandals. But the Ryan head on, if you'll recall, John Doe, 19, was described as a black male, 18 to 25, approximately five 11 and somewhere around one hundred and fifty pounds. John Doe Nineteens clothing was badly damaged, but the medical examiner was able to make out blue jeans, sandals, golf shoes and a maroon jacket. We don't have access to the report, so we can only say the shirt was pullover style, meaning without buttons.
Most likely that meant a T-shirt. Minor discrepancies inside the descriptions of Lorraine Nicholson and John Doe 19 were similar, certainly similar enough to suggest a comparison should be made for a few days. Lorraine's case was open alongside John Doe Nineteens. Lorraine went missing on the 12th and was reported as such on the 15th. John Doe, 19, was found on the 13th, less than a day after Sylvia, the mother, said she'd last seen him. Lorraine's case would have been active for about 24 hours before the Nashville tornado hit, so there were four days before his case was closed that a comparison might have been made if anyone was actively working cases at that time when a state of emergency has been declared, there is an addendum to Lorraine's missing persons report on a separate page that provides some vital additional information.
On April 20th, 1998, a person called the Metro Nashville Police Department and reported that the Ryan Nickelson had returned home. His case was summarily, quote, closed by exception. After April 20th, 1998, there was no missing persons report to compare to John Doe, 19, whose identity was still being sort of his family. Only Lorraine's mother and uncle knew he was missing that week in April of 1998. They were not contacted when the case was closed.
And the Ryan younger sister, Amera and his stepsister Candice, they weren't sharing a home with him at that time and they weren't aware of his daily comings and goings. Lorraine's father, who lived out of state, was similarly unaware of his son's daily movements and Candice in a mirror. They didn't know that a missing persons report had been filed in the first place, so they didn't know it had been closed either. Five days after Lorraine's mother reported his absence and they didn't know the woman who'd phoned Metro Nashville police per the police report, the caller had identified herself as Pauline Venable and claimed she was a neighbor of Lyons.
She was no relation to his family. We know that when there's an unidentified victim, law enforcement starts close to home looking through the city's own missing persons reports. Nashville had certainly done that and would do that in the future. In fact, we came across a number of articles discussing attempts and other cases to match human remains to missing persons reports. One in particular that stood out was the skeleton of a man found in 2001. Once those bones were discovered, they were quickly compared to the medical records of a missing local man, Rodney Woodard.
Rodney was reported missing by his girlfriend in 1997 when the skeletal remains were discovered. In 2001, police conducted two DNA tests but were unable to make a match. Although Rodney Woodard met the parameters of our name, a search for a black male who disappeared in the years directly surrounding 1998, he didn't appear in the results. He does have one mention on the Charley project, but we can't find any documents on his case past 2001. It's unclear whether his disappearance is still unsolved.
And as far as other open cases go, there was another man who might have been compared to the skeletal remains found in 2001. Marcus Rutledge, the Tennessee state senior. We mentioned earlier in the episode whether he was compared, we can't say, but we know the remains would not be compared to Lorraine Nicholson. After all, his case would have been closed for several years. And as for John Doe, 19 Metro Nashville police would still be seeking the homicide victims identity the next year and the next and the next.
It would be 15 years until the cold case of John Doe, 19, collided with the detective work of two sisters who had been asking and eventually looking for their missing brother, Laurean. They hadn't spoken to him since April of 1998. Ameera, who was just 12 that year, felt his loss keenly and also felt sure that her big brother wouldn't have abandoned her. Here's what she told us in an interview this spring.
I'm telling you, if unlike him to not call anybody, he would have reached out to one of us, you know, one or the other would have heard from him by now. All those times he would have called somebody, he didn't even show up. I knew something was definitely wrong because the year that he went missing Monday, my sister. My dad's daughter was graduating from high school and they had the graduation on the football field at Pearl Cone.
He loved that school, you know, and I'm sure that he knew that she was graduating because they would have been graduating in the same year. And I looked for him in the crowd. I'm like, I know him to see him standing somewhere. I can't wait to get to this graduation. And I looked and looked. And he never showed. I never saw. Even up until my graduation, when I graduated in 2004 from high school, I just knew he was going to be there.
I was going to see him. He's going to pop up after all these years. Neverson. Next time on the fall line, we'll bring you part two in the series on the Rhine Nicholson. We begin again in 1998 with the story of love, Ryan and his sisters and the strange call that closed his case and how it all intersected with the unidentified victim known as John Doe 19, how his sisters, Ameerah and Candace became citizen detectives who wouldn't take no for an answer.
We'd like to thank all the listeners who have taken time to support our sponsors, leave us reviews or support our show directly on Patreon. We couldn't do it without you. Special thanks to Angie Dodd. Thanks also to Olivia Lind of Flatrock. And something's not right who connected us with Lorraine Nicholson's family. She and her co-host Toscana covered his case on Something's Not Right, thanks to Eric Kelly of Southern Fried True Crime for reading the National Weather Service report that you heard at the top of the episode.
And to Vincent of Gone Code for reading the inscription from the Bordo Cemetery. Please check out both shows. They are dear friends and they are putting out great work. The fall line is created by Lauren Orton and Brooke Hargrove and has produced and mastered by Mercouri, written, researched and hosted by Laura Norton with interviews by Brooke Hargrove. Research assistants are Kim, Fritz, Jessica and Alex Wethers and Rainwaters Contin Advisors Randy Williams, Vic Kennedy and Liv Fallon.
The music is by RJR. You can find our merch in the exactly right next door if you want to hear more of the fall line. In the meantime, check out our full link early access releases on Stitcher Premium. You can use code line for a free month of premium, which includes ad free episodes of the fall line and all of our early access releases.