A popular Cleveland culture reporter who was found dead alongside her uncle inside a trailer home last week was killed by that uncle in a murder-suicide, investigators now say.
Nikki Delamotte, 30, and her uncle, 67-year-old Robert J. Delamotte, were found dead on Nov. 12 in Perrysburg Township in Ohio.
While she died of multiple gunshot wounds, police said her uncle suffered only a single shot, according to NBC News. Police have determined that Robert Delamotte shot Nikki Delamotte several times before he committed suicide, Cleveland.com reports.
A possible motive has not been released.
Nikki Delamotte’s mother expressed her grief to Cleveland.com, the outlet where her daughter worked for the last two years.
“My mind is still racing because there’s still the ‘why?’” JoAnne Ullman said. “How could anything like this happen to my beautiful baby? Nothing makes sense in this world at this point.”
Nikki Delamotte had only recently gotten back in contact with her father's brother after the death of her maternal grandmother.
"Nikki was trying to reconnect with the small family left and did detective work to find her Uncle Bob on her father's side. [...] Neither of us had seen him in about 20 years. They connected Oct. 13 after a memorial lunch for my mother," Ullman told NBC News.
The two planned to watch a football game with her uncle at a bar near his home Sunday, the day the murder occurred. Two handguns owned by the reporter’s uncle were found at the scene: a Ruger .380 and a Taurus .38 revolver. The latter was used in the killing, according to police.
The popular journalist's death has sparked tributes from the community she covered.
“Nikki Delamotte championed the Cleveland creative scene from arts to entrepreneurship and beyond,” Gina DeSantis, owner of Gina DeSantis Ceramics stated, according to the Cleveland Scene. “Her kindness, enthusiasm and drive embodied Cleveland’s spirit. I wish I could have thanked her for all she did for my business early on and throughout the years. Her contributions to the Cleveland creative community have left an indelible mark. We should all strive to impact our community in the way that Nikki did. While she is no longer with us, her stories and mark on this city will not be erased."
Her former employer described her as a “journalist with heart,” while Poynter, a site specializing in media-related coverage, spoke to some of her former colleagues, who all commented on her tenacity and professionalism as a reporter.
“Nikki Delamotte was the new friend you'd known forever. She was that warm, that giving, that caring — and that much fun to be around,” Cleveland.com wrote in an editorial. “And how could anyone kill someone so good, so kind, who uplifted all of us through her writing and celebrated all that was good, quirky and delicious about Cleveland?”
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