SHADY COVE, Ore. -- This week marks one year since the 2016 disappearance of a Shady Cove woman. Malina Nickel, 30, was last seen just before Thanksgiving. Detectives are hoping someone will come forward with information that will lead them to her.
Family members told deputies they found Malina's car, a white 2002 Ford Escape, abandoned near the Trail post office on November 25, 2016. A witness reported seeing a male walking away from Malina's vehicle and getting a ride to a gas station in Shady Cove on the night of November 23. The male has not yet been positively identified.
"They said they picked somebody up by her car and we just can't seem to figure out who was sitting in between us on the way to the gas station. It was more than a block. Now whether that's because they don't want to put themselves in a bind in this investigation or if its that they want to cover for the person," said Malina's mother, Chareen Nickel.
Malina was reported missing by her mother on November 28. Malina's personal belongings were found in her residence and she had made no mention of leaving the area.
"Just the whole case itself doesn't make sense when you get all of the speculation and rumors involved. So it's been a pretty tough case to try and investigate, especially with the group and the circle of people who are giving us the leads sometimes aren't law enforcement friendly or they don't cooperate or they have other reasons for cooperating so it's been really hard. It's been a really frustrating case for me," said Detective Sergeant Scott Waldon.
Detectives say Malina was known to use drugs and had a warrant for her arrest at the time she went missing, but their focus is on solving her disappearance. They have followed up on numerous tips, interviewed potential witnesses, and searched specific locations. At this time, all leads received have been investigated. The process has proved challenging as most tips have turned out to be based on speculation or rumors.
Malina is a mother to two children. Her friends and family have organized rallies and utilized social media to help spread the word about Malina's case. They have also spoken about the case for an article in Dateline NBC's "Missing in America" series.
"I have to accept what the lord gives me. He is in charge of everything. That is why they will not prevail. I will find this girl. Somewhere, someway somehow," Chareen Nickel added.
Detectives are confident someone holds the facts that will help them close the case.
"I do eventually think we'll find her because somebody knows she's missing. Somebody knows something. All we need is for that someone to come forward who actually know the truth of what happened. But i feel it, i feel like we're going to find her," said Waldon.
Those with information are asked to call the Jackson County Sheriff's Office tip line at (541) 774-8333. Refer to case 16-24006.