Search for Missing Fairfield Teen Megan Nichols

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By Stephanie Tyrpak
By Randy Livingston

WAYNE CO. --  A mother is searching for answers in the disappearance of her daughter. Megan Nichols has been missing from her home in Fairfield since July 3.

She's one of four women who've disappeared in the past several months across Southeastern Illinois, Southwest Indiana, and western Kentucky. The combined cases have been getting increased attention.       
 
Ashley Higgs went missing from Owensboro, Kentucky in March. Joelle Lockwood disappeared in Evansville, Indiana after visiting a friend's home in July. Kristy Kelley hasn't been seen since August 15th, when she was left her shift at the Boonville, Indiana VFW. Kelly did not take her cell phone and purse with her. 
 
Police believe Megan left her house under her own free will, and she did leave a note behind.  However, her family says they would have never expected her to runaway. Weeks of investigation and dozens of leads haven't found the teen. Nichols was 15 when she disappeared and turned 16 on July 18th.
 
The city of Fairfield has been keeping Megan Nichols in their thoughts and prayers. They've held fundraisers and collected enough money for a $2000 reward. 
 
Mother Kathy Jo Hutchcraft has been keeping her now 16-year-old daughter next to her heart on a necklace. 
 
"Megan and I were incredibly close," said Hutchcraft. "I mean we did everything together."
 
Hutchcraft had dropped Megan off at their house on July 3rd. She had been complained about an upset stomach. Mom returned late that night from running errands. 
 
"Sick feeling you know came over me and said shut the stove off and go check on your daughter," said Hutchcraft. "When I went upstairs, she was gone."
 
Hutchcraft and the family went looking for the teen. However, they soon made a strange discovery at home. Megan's phone was reset to factory settings, and she had left a note.
 
"Basically it said, you know I love you, but I'll never be happy here," said Hutchcraft. 
 
The Fairfield Police department gets several tips each week. Their search with the State Police, U.S. Marshals, and the FBI stretched to Oklahoma. Megan's biological father, John David Jackson Nichols, was arrested for being a non-compliant sex offender. However, the arrest did not lead to Megan.
 
"I believe they're doing what they can," said Hutchcraft. "On the other hand, as a mother she's not home, so I feel like that's not good enough."
     
Hutchcraft isn't sure there's a connection with the other missing women in Kentucky and Indiana. She's just thankful that all the cases are getting more attention.
 
"I just want to tell her how much she's loved," said Hutchcraft. "Not to worry. If there's anything scaring her, making her afraid to come home, don't be."
 
Megan's mom was part of vigil for the missing women earlier this month. She says talking with those other families has been good support. 
 
If you have any information or think you have seen Megan, the Fairfield Police say don't wait to give them call at 618-842-2152 or dial 911. 
 
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