It is a fourteen year-long nightmare playing on repeat.
Sherry Quinn’s daughter, Nicole Markley, went missing in late January 2003 at the age of 16. That is when an all-out search started in their hometown of Four States, just outside of Worthington.
“I remember just all of us being in the back of trucks looking for her in ditches, up along streets, anywhere we could go, walking the hills,” said Terri Harris, Markley’s cousin.
About two weeks later, on February 1, 2003, a hunter found her body face down in the Teverbaugh Creek.
Three months later, the Marion County Sheriff at that time warned the public of how serious the case was.
“We are investigating this as a homicide,” former Sheriff Junior Slaughter said.
12 News reported that autopsy results revealed her cause of death was drowning and deputies said they were confident Markley was murdered.
In July of 2003, 20-year-old William Hammond was charged with first degree murder after deputies then said he tried to rape Markley and then drowned her. Prosecutors dropped those charges against the Four States resident five months later.
In December of 2003, Former Marion County Prosecuting Attorney, Susan Riffle, said “We felt the case needed more investigation. We felt the best thing for the victim and for justice was to dismiss the indictment without prejudice.”
“I flipped out. I couldn’t believe it,” said Christine Hall, Markley’s Aunt, about the charges being dropped.
No further charges have been filed in the case.
“There’s still no justice for her and they still get to live out here in life and do what they want and possibly hurt someone again. There is no reason in this world that anyone should have a right to take someone else’s life,” Quinn said.
Detective Kevin Alkire said people in the community of Four States are staying tight-lipped.
“I would say probably someone in Four States, or more than one individual, probably has information about this case and we can just hope one day they’ll come forward,” Alkire said.
Now, the family remembers Markley through visits to her memorial.
“Every day we wonder, you know, is today the day that they’re going to find something out and let her rest finally after fourteen years. Let her son have closure after fourteen years,” Harris said.
Markley’s mother said her daughter’s death will always haunt her.
“It’s horrifying,” Quinn said. “You never look at the world the same again. You watch everyone else’s kids when you’re out. You watch your kids.”
Her simple absence is what hurts the most, she said.
“It’s like a piece of you is gone. There’s no way to get it back,” Quinn explained.
Family members have mixed emotions about whether the case will ever be closed.
“I’m confident they’re going to solve it,” Hall said.
“I pray that they solve it but really I’ve lost confidence in the system,” Harris said.
Det. Alkire said no matter how long it takes, they will continue to investigate.
“It hasn’t been forgotten. She’s not forgotten and we’re doing everything that we can to come to a resolution,” Alkire said.
Nicole’s mother said she thanks everyone who has showed love and support to her family, and that there is not a day that goes by that she does not think of Nicole. For now, she tries to keep the memories she has alive.
“Her smile. How kind she was to everybody. She enjoyed life. That’s what i’m wanting them to remember,” Quinn said.
Anyone with information regarding the murder of Nicole Markley is asked to call the Marion County Sheriff’s Department at 304-367-5300.