"It's just been a nightmare … I still hope that she would come around the corner when she gets off the bus … or she'll come out of her room," Nicole's mom said in tears.
The nightmare for Nicole Lovell's mother began on the morning of January 27, 2016.
Sometime in the middle of the night, the 13-year-old had climbed out of her bedroom window taking along her phone and her favorite blue cartoon blanket.
Like millions of teens, Nicole spent a lot of her social time online. So her mom feared she might have left to see someone she'd met on the internet.
Nicole was born with a damaged liver and needed a transplant before her first birthday. Her illness and surgical treatment had left Nicole with scars on her stomach and neck. Beyond her physical scars, Nicole had emotional scars as well. She was being bullied and hated going to school. Nicole not only had trouble fitting in, she also had a difficult relationship with her father.
Nicole's social media posts reveal a sadly typical teenage story: so lonely she'd had suicidal thoughts, longing for love and convinced nobody cared about her.
The teen was never left at home unsupervised, but Nicole was leading an unsupervised life online through the social media apps on her smartphone.
Years ago, you had to worry about your child getting kidnapped. What parents don't realize that essentially your kid could get snatched away-- their life taken by somebody they meet in their own bedroom.
By late on the day Nicole Lovell vanished, her parents' hope was fading with the winter light. But it would be three days before Nicole's parents had to face the horrifying news that her body had been found.
"Your whole world just comes tumbling down," Nicole's mother cried, "because she was my everything."