Overview of Nicole Coleman
After Nicole was murdered, her father wrote in an emotional Facebook post: “Nikki, I want people to know there was a lot more to you than just the mental health issues.”
Nicole Diane Coleman was a bright 23-year-old with a hilarious sense of humor, boundless empathy, and compassion that transcended circumstances. Born March 3, 1995, Nicole is the middle child born between two sisters. Her family shares that Nicole was delighted with the simple things in life: naps, the ocean, the trees, going for long walks, and fireflies. She was a poet, deeply spiritual, and encouraged her friends and family to be strong in faith.
When she was a pre-teen, Nicole struggled with the onset of intense mental illness. Her family has openly shared with the public that she suffered a “downward spiral” — which made life difficult for Nicole and the whole family.
Then, when Nicole was a young adult at 18 or 19 years old, she started to get better. Living in Houston and going to Lone Star College, Nicole finished her Associate of Arts degree with a 4.0 GPA and dreams of becoming a therapist in the hopes of helping others who were battling through similar mental health struggles. With plans to continue her collegiate experience, Nicole was accepted to Sam Houston and the University of Houston — with the intent of moving into her own apartment to kick start the next chapter in her life.
“Then it all fell apart,” Mike Coleman, Nicole’s father wrote in a ‘Goodbye Letter’ he posted on Facebook after Nicole was killed. “Something switched in your head and it was like when you were a teenager all over again.”
During that time of needed support, Nicole lived with her dad. Mike details in his letter that life was incredibly tough. Nicole was beginning to self-medicate with drugs; she had vanished for a few days and lost many friendships.
In the same Facebook post, Mike details that every time Nicole would leave to hang out with someone, he would have her write the name and the number of the person on a piece of paper to keep with her. Eventually, Nicole accumulated a stack of 30-40 paper towel sheets with people’s information on them — “a different name on each.”
Mike wrote: “You would tell me how you knew something wasn’t right about you but you didn’t know how to fix it.” But, Nicole did everything she could to get better.
In the fall of 2018, Nicole checks herself into a mental health facility in Austin and began receiving treatment before ultimately moving into a group home for women that December.
Nicole is last seen on surveillance.
At 5:26pm, Nicole walks through the gas station parking lot. Soon after, at 6:07pm, Nicole can be seen walking through the parking lot one last time, before presumably entering the gas station.
Three days later, on New Year’s Eve, Nicole’s body is discovered by cyclists that saw something suspicious in the woods off of Ed Bluestein Boulevard — about a 10-minute walk from the gas station where Nicole was last seen.
Police haven’t published many details about the investigation or the crime scene itself. To that end, detectives have told the family and the media that Nicole’s body was discovered without her clothes and that Nicole suffered “traumatic injuries throughout her body” and that they recovered “items of evidence.” Police have declined to say if she was sexually assaulted before her death.
Where the case stands today.
At the beginning of the investigation, detectives looked into a possible connection to a nearby aggravated sexual assault that occurred just days before Nicole initially vanished. The location of the other crime was just about a mile away from where Nicole’s remains were found — but within a month of the investigation, Detective Patrick O’Farrell held a press conference where he officially dismissed any connection.
Now, the police are left with needing the public’s help considering Nicole was only in the area for a short period of time, and it’s proving difficult to flush out her possible social circle.
With that, investigators are also asking locals who may have seen anything near that gas station or encountered Nicole to talk with the police. They’re also asking locals to contact them if they recall whether or not they saw any suspicious vehicles that would’ve been near the gas station — and what the vehicle would’ve looked like.
Tips can be submitted by calling (512) 477-3588, via email at [email protected], or through Crime Stoppers by calling (512) 472-8477 or texting "Tip 103" with information to CRIMES or by using the Crime Stoppers app.