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On the evening of July 7, 2013, Colt Haynes and Molly Miller vanished in a high-speed police chase, and they were never seen again.
Haynes, 22, and Miller, 17, were riding passenger while their friend, James Conn Nipp, drove a Honda Accord through Wilson, Oklahoma. Around 11 p.m., Nipp spun out, flinging rocks at two police vehicles and causing a chase to begin.
While speeding down the highway, Nipp turned off his headlights and drove into the wrong lane before he made a turn, spraying gravel at the officers, reported The Oklahoman newspaper. Sheriff Marion Joe Russell, Nipp’s cousin, called deputies and told them to call off the chase, and Nipp drove down a dirt road in Love County leading to his family’s property, a wooded area totaling 1,000 acres.
Nipp was home the following morning, but Miller and Haynes were nowhere to be found. They were quickly reported missing by family members, who learned that near 1 a.m. on July 8, Miller called 911.
“It was only a five-second phone call. Dispatch did try to call Molly back with no response," Paula Miller Fielder, Miller’s cousin, told local station News 9. "She's never been seen or heard from again."
The duo had made several more attempts to call for help, and Haynes had phoned his friends, saying that he had fallen out of a tree and broken his leg, according to “Up and Vanished,” airing Saturdays at 7/6c on Oxygen.
Both of their phones ceased functioning around 10 a.m. that morning.
When Fielder and relatives tried to file a missing persons report, they were allegedly met with resistance from Russell, who told the families they had to file the report with the Wilson Police Department because it was not his “problem,” Fielder told The Daily Beast.
“We know that the last place that Molly Miller and Colt Haynes were seen alive was in Conn Nipp’s car with him when he was on a car chase. It was never clear how that whole thing ended or where they might have gone … and we asked the sheriff and we asked law enforcement and never got an answer,” KXII TV news anchor Maureen Kane told “Up and Vanished.”
Nipp continues to maintain he has no idea what happened to Miller and Haynes.
Two weeks after their disappearance, the Honda was found wrecked by Love County deputies near where the chase ended.
With little movement in the case, Miller’s family hired a private investigator, and the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation began its own inquiry in late 2014.
Although Nipp has never been charged in connection with the disappearance, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison for eluding a police officer, assault with a dangerous weapon, and unauthorized use of a vehicle. He was released in 2018 after serving four years, reported Oklahoma NBC affiliate KTEN.
Haynes and Miller’s families believe they were met with foul play and have accused Russell of not doing enough to help locate their missing relatives.
"Every time I try to do something on the investigation, I was accused of trying to cover something up, so I just took myself out of action. If I get a tip of any kind, I call OSBI,” Russell told KXIITV in 2014. “You know not just their family needs closure, my kinfolks, they need closure too, 'cause they don't know what happened to them either.”
Three years after Haynes and Miller vanished, Russell was brought up on corruption charges, including two counts of corruption in office, two counts of habitual or willful neglect of duty, and one count of willful maladministration, reported The Daily Ardmoreite newspaper.
The willful maladministration accusation was brought after Russell allegedly let Nipp meet with family members in a deputy’s office where evidence is kept unsupervised, according to the outlet.
Russell was also charged with harboring a fugitive from justice and maintaining a house where drugs are kept after he allegedly allowed his son’s girlfriend to stay at their home with the promise that she would not be arrested on her outstanding warrant. She would eventually claim she saw meth stored in the home, according to court documents obtained by Oxygen.com.
Russell resigned from office and pleaded no contest to the misdemeanor charge of willful omission to perform a duty in early 2017. He was sentenced to one year unsupervised probation and fined around $300, reported The Oklahoman.
To this day, it is still unknown what happened to Miller and Haynes. Their disappearance is explored in “Up and Vanished,” airing Saturdays at 7/6c on Oxygen.
If you have any information about the case, please contact the OSBI tip line at 1-800-522-8017.
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