Renewed interest in search for missing Shady Cove mother

Malina Nickel (Photo: Facebook via NBC News)

SHADY COVE, Ore. – There is renewed interest in the case of a Shady Cove mother who went missing on Thanksgiving Day, 2016.

Malina Nickel is the subject of a new Dateline NBC report that goes in depth with friends, family and law enforcement who want answers as to why the 29-year-old suddenly disappeared.

Family members knew something was wrong with Malina when she didn’t show up for Thanksgiving dinner. But it wasn’t until November 28 when she was reported missing to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office.

“I wish I didn’t wait… before I called,” said Malina’s mother, Chareen Nickel. “But she is an adult.”

Family said Malina had problems with drugs and recently started using heroin, but Chareen told Dateline “She would never just leave her children. She has never been gone more than a day.”

Once they began investigating the case, detectives said the disappearance was suspicious.

Malina reportedly left her purse and other personal items at her home, which is considered unusual for someone who would voluntarily run off.

Detective Gabe Burchfiel from the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office told Dateline, “We have talked to almost everyone in Shady Cove. There are a lot of leads, but they have been fizzling out or circling back to the same information.”

Burchfiel said they have suspects in the case, but “we need to follow laws and court proceedings.”

Chareen has been investigating on her own–knocking on doors and searching in fields and under bridges. She told Dateline, “It has been very hard on our health. My husband and I have dropped over 20 pounds. We’ve been an emotional wreck.”

Tesse Phenix, a friend of Malina, told Dateline she is still in shock. “You see this stuff on TV, but you don’t think something like this would ever happen to someone you know.”

Now with the spring thaw, detectives are hoping to finally find Malina.

Detective Burchfiel told Dateline there has been too much snow for cadaver dogs to search for Malina. They have a few specific areas that they need to search.

Family and police are asking anyone to come forward with information about the disappearance.

If you have any information about the case, call the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office at 541-774-6800.

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