Nicole Lynn Bryner Missing since March 11, 1982 from Pittsburgh, Allegheny County
Vital Statistics Date of Birth: February 20, 1979 Age at Time of Disappearance: 3 yrs old Height: 2'6" Weight: 35 lbs Hair Color: Brown Eye Color: Brown
Case Details Nicole's mother, Melody Childs Thomas, told police that her daughter had been abducted on March 9, 1982 from a shopping cart at the Giant Eagle supermarket on the south side of Pittsburgh. Despite extensive searches, no trace of Nicole was found.
Ms. Childs boyfriend, Timothy Widman, reportedly confessed in 1986 to killing Nicole on March 9, 1982. With the child's mother, he buried the body in a wooded lot in Brookline, he told police. Police searched unsuccessfully for the body, and without it prosecutors could not pursue the case.
In 1988, a Superior Court decision changed the law to say that someone could be presumed to be dead after being missing for seven years. The decision meant that police no longer had to produce Nicole's body in order to charge Widman with her murder. In September 2006, new charges were brought against Widman. In May 2007, he pled guilty to involuntary manslaughter, a misdemeanor, and was sentence to 2 to 4 years in prison with credit for time served. He died March 2, 2011.
Melody Thomas Childs was charged with hindering apprehension and lying to police in 1986. Her charges also were dismissed. She died in June 2001 following back surgery in a Texas hospital.
Nicole's body has never been found.
If you have any information regarding this case, please contact:
Pittsburgh Police Department Homicide Squad 412-323-7161
Sources Doe Network National Center for Missing & Exploited Children Pittsburgh Post-Gazette