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Crime Stoppers: What happened to Paul Nichols?

Disappearance of Paul Nichols still unsolved since Aug. 15, 2019
Published: Sep. 22, 2021 at 6:32 PM CDT
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RAPIDES PARISH, La. (KALB) - The Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office and Crime Stoppers of Central Louisiana need your help in solving a missing persons case from 2019.

The Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office said Paul Nichols, 62 of the Cotile Lake area, was last seen on Aug. 15, 2019 at Hilger’s gas station and convenience store right off of I-49 North at the Highway 8 exit. He was last seen driving a 1997 black Ford F-150.

“He, along with some friends, were last seen near the Hilger’s Grocery near Highway 8 and I-49, just north of Boyce. That was the last time he was seen,” said Major Mark Baden, who heads up the parish’s cold case unit.

Nearly a month later, Nichols’ truck was found in an extremely wooded area in Vernon Parish.

“I think some hunters found the truck. It was in an area that they hunt. It was near a cemetery,” said Major Baden. “It appeared that someone was trying to reach the wood line and hide the truck when it became bogged down.”

Major Baden couldn’t say what the truck revealed, but he did say detectives are learning toward it being a homicide, even though Nichols’ remains have never been found.

“We have several suspects, but we have not been able to tie them together,” he said. “We’re working on it and had some new leads this week and we hope they pan out and we can get an arrest.”

Major Baden said they’re also looking at the people Nichols was last seen with. He’s hopeful tips could help close the case.

“We just need a couple more missing pieces to the puzzle to connect the dots,” he said. “Clear this case and give some of his family closure.”

If you have any information that could help the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office solve the missing persons case of Paul Nichols, you can contact them at 318-473-6700 or Crime Stoppers of Central Louisiana at 443-STOP. You can remain anonymous by contacting Crime Stoppers, and your tip that leads to an arrest or indictment could lead to a reward of up to $2,500.

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