Seven years after two young people went missing in Love County, Oklahoma, the cold case is getting national attention as additional investigators take another look in an attempt to solve the disappearance that authorities have declared a homicide.
On July 7, 2013, 21-year-old James Conn Nipp was driving a 2012 Honda Accord. He had picked up two passengers, 17-year-old Molly Miller and 21-year-old Colt Haynes.
Miller had only met and befriended Haynes about a week earlier. But both Miller and Haynes had known Nipp for a long time. Haynes had a son with Nipp’s ex-girlfriend.
It all started around 10:30 PM that night, when Nipp pulled out of a convenience store parking lot in Wilson, Oklahoma, in what authorities believe was a deliberate effort to incite a police chase. Two deputies in a police car engaged immediately, and the pursuit was on, sometimes reaching speeds of 120 miles per hour.
Nipp refused to pull over.
The pursuit eventually crossed from Carter County into neighboring Love County, where Nipp’s family had property. At that point, the deputies ended the pursuit just as it was moving in the vicinity of a dead-end at Long Hollow Road.
The chase spanned from the evening hours of July 7 into the early mornings of July 8. According to phone records, both Miller and Haynes made several phone calls to their friends asking for a ride and water, claiming they were “lost somewhere near Oswalt Road.”
According to friends, Miller told them he had suffered a badly broken ankle and was lying in a creek bed.
Phone records show that a call was initiated from Miller’s phone to 911 at 12:57 AM on July 8. However, dispatchers heard no one on the line. It is unclear if Miller or someone else made the call.
The next morning, by 10 AM, Haynes and Miller’s phones were unreachable. That was the last time anyone ever heard from them.
The last known location puts Miller on Pike Road in Love County.
Two weeks after the police chase, authorities recovered the vehicle Nipp had been driving, abandoned in a field near where the pursuit had ended. The car was totaled to the tune of $18,000 in damages.
Authorities say the car had been driven through several barbed wire fences, with a lot of damage to the undercarriage as well.
A year later, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) declared it likely that Miller had been murdered and the case was now a homicide investigation.
The driver, James Nipp denies being with Miller and Haynes and insists he didn’t leave them in the woods.
An awkward family situation exists between the driver James Nipp – he is the cousin of Sheriff Joe Russell, who had jurisdiction over Love County at the time. Russell allegedly told deputies in his County not to pursue Nipp.
Russell resigned in 2016 amid corruption charges under allegations of allowing his son to deal methamphetamines out of the Sheriff’s house and harboring a fugitive. Russell ultimately accepted a plea deal receiving only probation.
Miller’s family also believes Russell has hidden information about what really happened the night Molly and Haynes went missing.
While the driver, James Nipp, has denied that Miller and Haynes were his passengers, police were able to arrest and convict him on charges of eluding the police, assault with a dangerous weapon, and unauthorized use of a vehicle.
Nipp was sentenced to 10 years in prison, but released after serving 4 years. Police did not have enough evidence to charge him in a direct connection to the disappearances of Molly Miller and Colt Haynes.
Families and other investigators were hopeful that when Sheriff Joe Russell was locked away in prison, someone might be less fearful about coming forward with information about what actually happened. But when Russell pleaded out to avoid jail and received only probation – nothing new came forward.
Love County has a new sheriff, but has declined interviews with crime show “Up and Vanished” that is looking into the cold case.
Therefore, it is unclear whether solving this 7-year-old case remains a priority for law enforcement in Love County.