Nicole Morin was aged just 8 when she disappeared in 1985. Her disappearance has baffled many, with many questions surrounding her disappearance left unanswered.

Morin seemingly vanished in her apartment building, leading to substantial confusion. The investigation into her disappearance was one of the biggest in Canadian history.

This article reviews this case. There is a reader’s poll at the end of the article, which we invite you to vote on. We will then see what the overall opinion is among our readers as to what happened.

Nicole vanished from a large apartment block

Background

Nicole Morin was born on April 1st, 1977. She was aged 8 at the time of her disappearance. Her parents were Arthur – known as Art – and Jeanette Morin. Morin’s parents had separated a few years prior to her disappearance.

Nicole was living with her mother Jeanette at the time. The duo lived on the 20th floor of an apartment building in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

The Disappearance

On 30th July 1985, Morin went to the lobby area of the apartment building to pick up mail. She then returned a few minutes later, in order to prepare for meeting her friend – named Jen – for swimming.

The pool they were going to attend was located at the back of the apartment building. Her friend rang the intercom, and Morin said that she would come down and meet her in the lobby.

At approximately 11am, Morin left the apartment to go down to the lobby to meet her friend. However, Morin never made it down to the lobby.

Around ten minutes later, the friend rang the intercom again to ask where Morin was. Unfortunately, Jeanette Morin assumed that her daughter had gone to the pool herself. She was hosting a small day care group at the time, resulting in her being busy at the time. She did not appear to sense anything worrying was happening.

The friend was unable to find Morin. A few hours later, Morin had not returned to the apartment. Jeanette looked for her but could not see her anywhere. She subsequently called the Police to report her daughter as missing.

Crucially, this call was made around four hours after Morin had left the apartment to supposedly go and meet her friend.

The Investigation

The Police reacted quickly. Roadblocks around the area were set up, with checks being made on cars arriving to and leaving from the area. Vehicles with public address systems were used to make local residents aware of a child being missing.

The Police also searched the apartment building where Morin lived, though there was no sign of her. Every individual apartment was searched, with the area made up of 429 apartments.

During interviews with residents, the Police were unable to confirm if Morin had made it down to the lobby. There were no certain sightings. Crucially, the first 24 hours passed without any sign of Morin.

The Police stepped up their investigations over the next few days. The area around local highways and rivers were searched, while the Police also had an aerial presence, with helicopters used. Garbage bags were checked and rubbish tips around the area were searched.

All areas of the apartment building were searched, including garages, mechanical areas, as well as utility and storage rooms. Sniffer dogs were utilised in these areas too.

Moreover, local residents joined in with the searches. Around 5,000 posters featuring Morin’s face were printed and placed around the area. There was a huge effort both by law enforcement and residents.

While the first few days failed to bring up any leads, the Toronto Police formed a 20-person task force, and committed significant funds and labour to the case. But unfortunately, the first week passed without any sign of Morin.

Despite the setback of no progress, the Police relentlessly continued their investigations. Over the next few months, they questioned over 6,000 people, including many sex offenders.

Among those investigated were family members. However, investigators were able to conclude none were involved. The widespread investigation and interviews failed to yield any substantial leads.

One confusing element to the case was the discovery of a handwritten note, believed to be from Morin. The note, which was found in the apartment, stated “I’m going to disappear”. The meaning of this note, when it was written, and most importantly why it was written, remains unknown.

The Police put in an incredible amount of effort. But despite their hard work, they were unable to locate Morin.

After nine months, the investigation was scaled down. There were no concrete leads in the disappearance, and no physical evidence was ever found.

Later Developments

Unfortunately, the Nicole Morin disappearance is renowned for the lack of progress made. It seems as if she completely vanished without a trace. Someone out there knows the truth though.

Nicole’s parents drifted further apart as the years went by. They moved back in together following Nicole’s disappearance, but they separated once and for all in 1987.

Nicole’s mother Jeanette visited a psychic known as “Nora of the North” in 1988. The psychic told her that Nicole was still alive, but living in a small community near Calgary, Canada. The psychic said that Nicole was now known as either Debbie or Deborah, and that she was with a man and a woman aged between 40 and 50.

Unfortunately, this didn’t lead anywhere. It is believed that Jeanette followed this theory, but it didn’t result in any progress with the case.

Nicole’s father Art disputed the use of Nora. He also hired a private investigator and left his own job to invest time into finding his daughter. But this proved fruitless.

In 2004, a Belgian organisation called Fondation Princesses de Croÿ et Massimo Lancellotti said that they had matched photos of Morin with pictures on a Dutch website that tracks sexually-abused children.

Veronique Soumi was the individual that was able to supposedly match the photos through biometric analysis. The suggestion was that Morin may have fallen victim to a paedophile ring in Zandvoort, Netherlands. This possibility was looked into, but nothing concrete was found. The analysis was never confirmed as being 100% accurate.

At the same time, Soumi conducted further analysis and suggested she also found a match for a girl named Casey Bohun, who had disappeared in 1989 aged just 3. This also didn’t lead to anything concrete either. But this overall discovery gives us a potential clue as to what happened to Morin.

In 2014, a tip off from a member of the public led to the Police digging an area in Barrie, Canada – which is around an hour’s drive from where Morin vanished. Areas were excavated in the search of human remains, but nothing was found.

In 2022, a large search took place at a Toronto park, near to where Morin vanished. Two cadaver dogs were part of the search. It isn’t believed anything was found, although some reports suggest the cadaver dogs were able to pick up a human scent.

Morin is still mentioned in the media from time-to-time, and is considered a high-profile disappearance. Age-progressed photos continue to be released, in case anyone does recognise her. The Toronto Police have said they still receive tips about the case, all this time later.

In many cases, the response of the Police and other law enforcement officials are often criticised, However, in this case there is a general appreciation that the Police could not have done anything more to find Morin.

Jeanette Morin sadly died in 2007 without knowing what happened to her daughter. At the time of writing, Art remains alive.

The case still officially remains open. A reward for Morin’s safe return continues to be offered, with this standing at $100,000. Unfortunately, her whereabouts remain unknown.

Nicole’s diary entry caused more confusion

Theories

For many, it is rather obvious what happened. But as with any disappearance, it is not always clear cut. Therefore, there are a few potential theories.

We take a look at the evidence for each theory:

Theory One: Nicole Morin was abducted in the building and later died

Without doubt, the most obvious suggestion would be that Nicole was tragically abducted in the building and later died.

The fact that Nicole left the apartment but seemingly didn’t make it down to the lobby would suggest that she was taken by someone prior to making it to the lobby. The apartment building was huge, and there could easily have been an opportunistic criminal who took advantage of Nicole being on her own.

It is horrible to think what might then have happened to Nicole. But presumably, she was killed shortly after and her body was taken somewhere, only to never be found. Some criminals do have the means and nous to do this.

While this is a horrific thought, realistically it is the most likely. Unfortunately, the 4-hour window between her last sighting and the disappearance being reported would have provided ample time for someone to take her and then dispose of her body – all before the police were aware.

Despite the Police’s incredible efforts, the time delay could have been crucial. Had it been reported earlier, then maybe Nicole would have been located.

Theory Two: Nicole Morin was abducted in the building but was trafficked to another country

Similar to the above theory, Nicole could have been abducted, only to be trafficked to another area -where she may to this day live. This theory takes into account Nicole being kidnapped in the building.

But instead, someone could have transported her to another area. While sickening, child trafficking does exist. The psychic suggested she was still in Canada, while the 2004 analysis suggested that Nicole could have been taken to the Netherlands.

The 2004 analysis did take significant work to come to a conclusion. If this analysis was accurate, then this would make this theory highly likely. Human trafficking rings can be highly organised, making trafficking a child to Netherlands possible.

Either suggestion is feasible. But it could be questioned how likely it is that Nicole would not raise the alarm if she was in such a situation. She was old enough to know her parents and realise something was wrong, if she were to be taken to an unfamiliar location.

It is therefore a case that Nicole Morin may still be alive. While unlikely, there have been cases where people have turned up years after being kidnapped, only to still be alive.

Theory Three: Nicole Morin deliberately disappeared and fell victim to foul play

There is a chance that Nicole Morin intentionally disappeared. The main basis for this theory is Nicole’s handwritten note that said she was going to disappear.

Could this be a sign that Morin was planning her own disappearance? While it may seem unlikely that she would do something at that young age, it seems a very bizarre thing to write.

If she did take the opportunity to vanish, she may have fallen victim to foul play. Maybe there was a predator lurking, or she died in an accident. It is potentially possible.

However, the handwritten note could be dismissed as being something with no meaning – after all, children do write all sorts of things. Also, if she was planning on disappearing, it would be strange for her to choose a time when she was due to meet a friend. She would have needed to walk past Jen – which would surely have alerted her friend.

Overall, while this is a potential theory, there is a lack of evidence and common sense behind this suggestion.

Reader Vote

With the above theories in mind, we now invite you to vote on the theory that you believe is most likely in our poll below.

What Happened to Nicole Morin?
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Summary

The disappearance of Nicole Morin is a tragic case. There have been no answers to the range of questions surrounding her case. This has been incredibly difficult for those close to her.

Hope remains that one day we will know what happened to Nicole, with many people refusing to give up. Hopefully she is at peace.

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