Family seeks answers 3 years after Fort Drum soldier’s disappearance

WWNY Family seeks answers 3 years after Fort Drum soldier’s disappearance

TREMONT CITY, OH (WWNY) - Three years ago, a Fort Drum soldier went missing. The U.S. Army closed the case, saying Trevor Nichols is a deserter. No police agency is investigating.

That’s a problem for his family.

“There’s just that emptiness in your heart because you don’t know where he is. You don’t know if he’s okay. And, I have good days and bad days. Some days I just sit and cry because I miss my baby,” said Erin Nichols.

Three years and Erin Nichols of Tremont City, Ohio has seen no sign of her son, Trevor.

Neither has his older brother, Travis.

“Like, I don’t know to grieve, or if I don’t know to be upset because, you know, he’s my brother. I love him and it’s just really rough,” said Travis.

Trevor was a specialist with the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum. In 2017, he was set to transfer to Fort Riley in Kansas.

But for all anyone knows, he didn’t make it there.

What happened? Fort Drum officials say Trevor was absent without leave, or AWOL, and later declared him a deserter on December 18, 2017, a full month after he went missing.

It was much to his mom’s frustration.

Erin tried to file a missing persons report in New York right away, but was told she had to wait 30 days.

“You can’t do anything until he’s a deserter. Deserter classification isn’t until you’re AWOL for 30 days,” she said.

Fort Drum officials referred us to the U.S. Army’s investigative branch, also known as CID, and we’re trying to obtain documents linked to the case.

Erin says the last time she spoke with Trevor was by phone on November 14, 2017, just before he went missing.

“He appeared fine that night, other than being frustrated at being moved clear to Fort Reily because he said, ‘I’m going to be so far away from my son,’” she said.

But the following day, Erin and Trevor’s wife, Carla Nichols, say they were told Trevor didn’t show up for his last drill at Fort Drum.

“The MPs called to ask me for permission to kick down the door. So they did. All, I hear is a bang and they said, ‘We can’t find him; he’s not in the apartment,’” said Carla.

There are some things we know about where he went. Army investigators say video shows Trevor at a Burger King in Pulaski, where he appeared in good health. That’s one reason CID closed its investigation.

Carla says investigators told her Trevor was also seen on camera withdrawing money from a number of ATMs in the region.

The family believes he may have been with an Army buddy, who had been giving him rides, including to the Amtrak station in Syracuse.

Erin believes that was on November 17. She says she has no idea if Trevor ever boarded a train.

Amtrak wouldn’t comment for our story.

This all has Erin begging for answers from the friend Trevor was reportedly with.

“He said, ‘No, I didn’t take him there.’ But, how did Trevor get there? He didn’t have a car, he was on foot. And, two hours before that, you were in Pulaski,” said Erin.

7 News has reached out to the buddy Trevor’s family says was with him. We aren’t identifying him because we haven’t been able to confirm his involvement with the investigation.

Erin also believes Trevor may have been with two other soldiers at the Syracuse Amtrak station.

With Army investigators closing their case, no other police agencies are looking into Trevor’s disappearances.

To this day, Erin is suspicious of the military’s investigation.

“I hate to say I blame the military, but after everything that happened at Fort Hood this year, with all the soliders disappearing, and all the coverups, I’m very suspicious that something happened to my son, somebody knows something, and they’re covering it up,” she said.

Carla and other family members say it’s not like Trevor to vanish without saying a word or reaching out to his young son.

“He was excited to go to Riley. He was excited to do a fresh start,” said Carla.

Above all else, Erin is looking for closure.

“I need peace where I can put him to rest. If I just knew for sure that, yes, he’s gone, that’s all I need. I need answers,” she said.

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