Family and Friends Remember Lindsay Nichols
By Addison Speck, Reporter
EVANSDALE, Iowa - It's been nearly a year since Lindsay Nichols was murdered by a man she once dated. The 22-year-old was shot and killed on March 21st of 2012 in her boyfriend's yard in Jesup. Police said Lindsay's ex-boyfriend, Doctor Tim Roses, rented a car, followed her there, shot and killed her, then took his own life.
The past year has been tough for Lindsay's closest friends and family. They've made it their priority to focus on what she brought to their lives, rather than what happened to her.
Courtney Dettmer, one of Lindsay's close friends, got a tattoo on her arm in honor of Lindsay. It reads "strength". As a waitress, Dettmer often gets asked who the tattoo is for. "Everyone seems to know that story, but they don't know who she is. It's so hard for me when I am working to say, yes that happened, but let me tell you who she really was," Dettmer said. She described Lindsay as someone you could always look up to and a person you wanted to be like.
TV9 sat down with Dettmer and the rest of Lindsay's closest friends and family. It was clear after just a few minutes in, that Lindsay was a vibrant, compassionate, and funny 22-year-old. "She was definitely a girl that when she was in the room, everyone knew because she just had a light beaming from her," said Kassy Kahler, a close friend of Lindsay's. Kahler described Nichol's as fearless and unafraid to go after her dreams. It's a mentality that Kahler now carries with her every day. "I need to pursue my dreams, even if other people think they are ridiculous or not achievable. I need to just do it because I don't know when my last day will be," she said.
Family and friends said Lindsay loved fitness, holidays, and shopping. "Lindsay and I loved to shop. I loved to buy things for her and now I buy things to take to her at the cemetery," said Jan Nichols, Lindsay's Stepmother. Jan said Lindsay was athletic but a girly girl. She loved leopard, having her nails done, and wearing high heels. Kelsey Summers, another one of Lindsay's closest friends, smiled and laughed as she shared some of the favorite things about Lindsay. "She was beautiful, funny, and strong," Summers said.
Lindsay graduated from Waterloo East High School in 2008 and Covenant School of Radiology in 2011. "She was awesome with patients," said Amber Huntley, a close friend and classmate of Lindsay's. Huntley thinks about Lindsay every day and said will always remember her as truthful, funny, and caring. "I can't stress enough how much of a good person she was," she said, "She would stand up for people if nobody else would."
Lindsay was studying to take the boards and working at Menard's at the time of her death. She worked 20-30 hours a week at Menard's for several years and was able to graduate college with her school completely paid for. "She was really ambitious and really grounded. Her family was really important to her and she definitely knew where she came from and where she wanted to go in life," said Ashley Kroblin, a close friend of Lindsay's. Kroblin said Lindsay was always reminding her to do what would make her happy.
On top of work and school, she always found time for friends, family, and her dog Charlie. "To say she was a daddy's girl, yes, very much so," said Tom Nichols, Lindsay's father. Many of her friends agreed. "She was super close to her dad," Huntley added. Tom, who's in law enforcement, said Lindsay was always worried about him getting hurt on the job. "She was very caring," he added. Both Tom and Jan described Lindsay as beautiful inside as she was on the outside.
As TV9 sat in the Nichol's living room it was clear to see her friends and family are close. Tom and Jan say the girls still stop by the house and invite them out. "One of the only good things we can take out of this is that we've come closer to the Nichol's family. We've come closer as a group," said Dettmer.
"We have a really good friendship with her friends. They've helped us get through a lot," added Jan Nichol's, "It's been nice to continue to still see life through the eyes of 22 and 23 year olds." Together Lindsay's friends and family couldn't help but laugh and cry when talking about all they shared with Lindsay. Her friends said one of their favorite times with Lindsay was when they would all get together to watch American Idol and have a glass of wine.
Lindsay's neighbor, Katie Henry, said Lindsay was like her sister. "Throughout my whole childhood, I have so many memories of us having fun together," she said. Henry recalled a period of time when she and Lindsay would put notes back and forth into each-others mailboxes. "I looked up to her so much, I still do," Henry said.
Chris Nichols, one of Lindsay's two brothers, cherishes all the memories he shared with Lindsay growing up. He smiled as he recalled a time where Lindsay put him in his place. "I said something to her just messing around like we always did. I elbowed her and then she just grabbed me and flipped me over her shoulder on the couch," he laughed, "Here is my little sister, throwing me around. How manly is that?" Chris said Lindsay would push him to follow his heart. "When I wouldn't believe in myself, she would believe in me," he said.
Lindsay's tragedy has given her loved ones a stronger appreciation of life. "She's always been a really strong person and we've always admired that about her, that's something we think about more now. We want to be strong like Lindsay was," said Abigail Lundy, a close friend of Lindsay's.
Lundy said she went overseas to teach because of Lindsay. Dettmer said she tried out for American Idol. "I brought a picture with me and for some reason after they told me no, they came back and told me yes. I knew it was because of her," Dettmer said. Kahler added that she tries to better her life and herself because she knows Lindsay doesn't have the chance and Summers said it was a wakeup call. "I'm not planning my future anymore, just living it day-by-day," she said.
While her family and friends have always known Lindsay was something special, it's been made loud and clear the past year by everyone in the community. "When a parent is raising their child, a lot of times, they will never know the impact that their child has had on a community. More than likely, a parent will die before the child does," said Tom, "It's comforting and reassuring to know and see every day how she's impacted the community."
Nearly every day, someone leaves their thoughts and prayers on Lindsay's Facebook page. Jan and Tom said they are proud of the daughter they raised and how many lives she touched. "We could not ask for a better girl, we just wish she was here," said Jan.
Jan said if Lindsay had the choice, she would not come back except for five minutes. "That would be to tell her dad she is ok, because that's the kind of girl she was," she said. Lindsay always told Tom, "You know dad, I'm kind of a big deal". Tom said through the process he's realized just how big of a deal she was.
This past September, there was a "forever young" 5K in Lindsay's honor. There's also a scholarship set-up in her name. Tom and Jan said things like this and the community have made the extremely thankful. The love and support from family, friends, and the community is what has empowered them to have strength over the past year.