This article is dedicated to the families of Molly Miller and Colt Haynes, who must live without knowing the whereabouts of their loved ones every day. They are precious families we must remember to pray for, and I’m so thankful I was able to speak with them.
“Three may keep a secret
if two of them are dead.”
~ Benjamin Franklin
Five years ago on a hot July night, three people – James Conn Nipp, Colt Haynes, and Molly Miller – entered a 2012 Honda Accord near Wilson, Oklahoma, and went for a ride. After the driver, Nipp, purposefully spewed gravel with his tires at two police cars and began driving erratically, the cops immediately began chasing after them. A high-speed pursuit ensued on the backroads, but the Accord was eventually lost.
Only one person from that vehicle would be seen alive again, leaving two families with countless questions and each with a loved one lost to the Oklahoma night.
Two of Hearts
“They say it gets easier with time,
and I keep waiting for the easier times to come,
but they don’t.
Mentally we are stuck in 2013 with you.”
~ Monique Stewart
Recently, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation has taken to creating playing cards with cold case crime information on them. A picture of the victim and a brief synopsis of the crime – whether the individual is missing or was murdered – is placed on their own individual card. These are then sold in decks in prisons to create a dialogue between cellmates in hopes that tips will be procured.
Colt Haynes has his own card: the two of hearts.
Colt was the youngest of six children, and he grew to be a fierce, protective young man. He and his family were extremely close, and although he was shy as a child, he quickly became the happy, bubbly one in the family.
After Colt’s disappearance, the family dynamic fell apart.
“We just aren’t as close as we used to be,” Colt’s sister, Monique Stewart, says. “We just don’t get together like we used to.”
Colt had become involved with drugs in his teens and battled with it off and on before he vanished. While she doesn’t know when it started, Monique said it was “sporadic.”
“He stayed away from my house when he was using,” she says, “but always let me know he was okay. He always let me know how he was because he knew I worried about him.”
Colt had been arrested in a drug sting operation in January of 2013, but Monique thought in the following months that he was getting clean.
“I guess he fell off the wagon again around the time he went missing.”
Colt always called or texted his sister at least once a week letting her know how he was doing to ease her mind. He texted her just a few days before his disappearance, letting her know he was okay, and talked to their oldest brother, Jesse, the day before he went missing.
Some of Colt’s family members have passed away since his disappearance, dying without the knowledge of what happened to their beloved Colt. The entire family aches to know exactly what happened that July night. Nothing is the same, including the holidays. A time that should be cheery and wholesome for many is bittersweet for Colt’s family.
“We don’t really celebrate holidays like we used to,” says Monique. “It’s painful to try to celebrate when a huge, loving presence like Colt is missing. Not knowing what really happened is just too hard.”
Monique, whose Facebook picture reads “I Am My Brother’s Keeper,” posted an online tribute to her brother on the fifth anniversary of his disappearance.
“It has been 5 long agonizing years searching and begging for answers. I miss you so much, not a day goes by that I don’t remember your amazing smile or how you could always make me laugh when I was having a bad day. I miss our stupid arguments and how you would call me when you needed advice. I miss the fact that our family hasn’t felt whole since you disappeared. I just miss you. I love you and will never stop looking until I find you. All my love baby brother.”
Not only did Colt leave behind his parents and five brothers and sisters, he also left behind his only child: a newborn baby named Jagger, who he was only able to spend nine brief months with before he went missing.
“There’s a hole, and there are a lot of tears and sadness,” Monique expresses.
Three of Hearts
“There’s more to the story than what meets the eye; the truth will finally come out.
And those who have hindered the searching for her will have much more to worry about.”
~ Paula Fielder
Another of the fifty-two cards has the face of a beautiful seventeen-year-old girl with long dark hair and bright blue eyes. Hers is the three of hearts.
Molly’s mother, Melissa, happily introduces me to her cat, Baby, when I enter her home.
“Molly only got to hold her one time,” she says.
Melissa had adopted the cat a mere six days before her daughter disappeared along with Colt Haynes in Love County, Oklahoma.
Melissa – whose daughter looks nearly identical to her, specifically in childhood photos – proudly shows me a large pile of tee shirts Molly had earned through the various sports she played in her seventeen years, which she plans to make into a large quilt. She passes me photo after photo, album after album, and shows me a stuffed bunny her daughter had slept with for years.
“I haven’t thrown one thing away,” Melissa admits. “She did more in her little lifetime than we did in ours.”
Melissa and her husband, Kevin, lovingly reminisce about the daughter they’ve been missing for five years. She was a natural athlete; she was an “easy baby;” she spoke with an accent for the first few years of her life because her daycare provider was a French woman who had taken care of her as a toddler. Any sport that was in season, Molly was in. She took dance lessons, pitching lessons, and was involved in basketball and softball. She had perfect attendance through elementary and middle schools, and was popular amongst her friends. She was a protective sister to her brothers, Garrett and Devin, and was extremely close with her maternal grandmother.
“I never had to spank her as a child. I never had any problems with her. She was so independent,” Melissa remembers.
The well-behaved, blue-eyed little girl quickly grew into a vivacious young woman who enrolled herself into a vocational college to become a nurse. She was working part-time at a local funeral home answering phones, and loved reading and writing in her spare time. Tragedy struck, however, when her grandmother suddenly passed in 2011, which she took extremely hard.
After that, things slowly began to change, including her behavior. Melissa took notice and began to pay more attention to the differences.
“She was very good at hiding things,” Melissa says.
Kevin adds, “She was like a duck on the water – smooth on the surface, but working like hell underneath.”
The teen who used to home every night to watch cartoons and snuggle with her stuffed rabbit was suddenly staying out for days at a time. She abruptly began doing her own laundry – something she had always let her parents do – and mysterious, small bruises began appearing on her skin. Daily contact with her mother transformed into letting her cell phone go to voicemail.
As much as Melissa realized her daughter’s demeanor had changed, she didn’t truly know how bad it was until it was too late.
Melissa brings out a calendar from the kitchen, a tattered bundle of stapled papers frozen in time to July of 2013. Scribbles cover the pages, and she is able to tell me an exact timeline leading up to her daughter’s disappearance.
“July the second, I went to the doctor and then adopted the cat. Wednesday the third was the last time I saw her. On the sixth I received my last text from her,” she rattles off.
How are you and the cat doing? the text had read.
The next night, everything would change.
July 8, 2013
At 12:57 a.m. on July 8, 2013, a phone call came in to a 911 operator. It was five seconds of silence before the call was quickly disconnected. More calls came in, but each call was dropped.
Those calls were placed by Molly Miller’s cell phone.
Molly and Colt had contacted several people that early summer morning following the car chase. Molly called a friend to say she was in a field somewhere in Love County; Colt called friends asking to be picked up, stating he had a broken ankle and was coughing up blood. They thought they were somewhere near Long Hollow and Oswalt Roads, approximately thirty minutes southwest of Ardmore in the outskirts of the state.
Colt’s friends, Devan and Rob, immediately drove out to the back roads and began driving up and down the streets. Despite their honking as they had him on the phone, Colt couldn’t hear his friends.
Officers were never dispatched to the area despite the 911 calls. A final phone call was placed by Molly around 10:00 a.m. to a number the family’s private investigator wouldn’t release any information about. Her phone pinged at the corner of Pike and Oswald Roads. After that, family and friends wouldn’t hear from Colt or Molly again.
During this time, one question remained: where was the driver, James Conn Nipp? He too, had disappeared after speeding away from officers at 120 miles per hour, but he had not placed any 911 calls and did not appear to be trying to assist his friends. The vehicle he had been driving was found approximately two weeks after the chase near Nipp’s grandfather’s residence with thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to it.
Colt, being over eighteen, did not meet the qualifications for an AMBER Alert.
Surprisingly, neither did Molly, even though she was still a teenager. Instead, she was considered an “endangered runaway” since she left in the vehicle on her own free will.
The last Thursday of July in 2013, an extensive search was conducted in the area between Long Hollow and Pike Roads off of Oswalt. Horses and four-wheelers all accompanied the people on foot in desperate search to find the missing teen and her 21-year-old friend. On July 31, airplanes and helicopters combed the area extensively – all to no avail.
Nipp, a local resident with a rap sheet for drug charges stemming back from 2010 – and the cousin of Love County Sheriff Joe Russell, which has caused a lot of controversy in how the case was handled – evaded police but was eventually arrested in January following another police chase. He was charged and convicted of endangering others while eluding police and reckless driving in 2014, and was released from prison this year.
But where were Molly Miller and Colt Haynes?
“The dead cannot cry out for justice.
It is a duty of the living to do so for them.”
~ Lois McMaster Bujold
Molly’s room lays nearly untouched five years later, save for the bed being moved and her missing poster taped up on the wall next to the closet. A collection of sports medals neatly hangs above her bed. She would have turned twenty-two this year; if things had gone differently, she would probably be finishing up nursing school. Perhaps the tradition of weekly shopping trips and pedicures with her parents would have continued.
Colt would be twenty-six. Would he be taking advantage of the warm winter to teach his son how to fish? Would he be spending the cold nights watching movies with his family? What plans would he have had for the holidays?
The flame of hope that the two would be found alive has slowly fizzled into the ash of grim acceptance. Both families agree that their two children are dead, and they won’t stop looking until their remains are found. Molly’s mother has a sticker on the back of her car that reads “In Loving Memory of Molly Miller.” Rumors have flown as to what went on that night – a fight broke out; drugs were involved; etc. – but who truly knows?
Another name that has flown into the story is that of Colby Barrack, who was allegedly with the three at some point during the night. However, James Conn Nipp is the only person with all of the information, and his lips are sealed.
For now, two families are waiting for answers while both the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation and Klein Investigations and Consulting examine the case. For now, two families only have prayers and memories to hold onto.
Alex Miller, a tall, sturdy man with a gruff southern accent, turns away as he speaks of his beloved granddaughter.
“She sure gave us a lot of life in those seventeen years,” he says quietly.
It is easy to forget sometimes that missing and murdered people are exactly that – people. They are human beings who were taken from their loved ones in horrible ways. Colt and Molly are not just another statistic or another playing card being passed around by prisoners. They are people who are loved dearly, missed immensely, and deserve more than anything to be found and brought home to their families.
I contacted Klein Investigations and Consulting, who are working diligently on the case, and received this quote by their senior investigator, Philip Klein:
“The case is where it’s at. We are awaiting certain physical evidence that was found by our cadaver dogs. We have confirmation that human scent remains were found in a certain area near the Nipp property. It’s always been of concern to us as civil investigators and we firmly believe that Conn Nipp and Colby Barrack know what happened.”
If you have ANY information regarding the disappearances of Molly Miller and Colt Haynes, please call 800-522-8017 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.