Human Remains Found Behind Fake Basement Wall ID'd as NY Woman Missing Since '85

The medical examiner said the 55-year-old woman died of a blow to the head

Tuesday, Jul 2, 2013  |  Updated 9:16 AM EDT
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Remains Behind Fake Cellar Wall ID'd as Missing NY Woman

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Human remains discovered by a contractor working on a vacant Hudson Valley home have been confirmed to be those of a first-grade teacher who once lived there with her husband and was reported missing nearly 30 years ago, authorities say. 

The nearly complete skeleton was discovered in the basement of the Poughkeepsie home, in a sealed container behind a false wall, officials said.

Dental records matched the remains to JoAnn Nichols, the medical examiner said. The medical examiner ruled the 55-year-old woman died from a blow to the head.

She was reported missing in December 1985 by her husband, James Nichols, after she didn't show up for an appointment at a beauty parlor, police said.

Her husband lived in the Hudson Valley home where her body was found until his death of natural causes at age 82 in December.

Police say the contractor found the remains Friday night while clearing out debris.

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