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Unsolved Disappearance 

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Nyleen Kay Marshall

Nyleen Kay Marshall, 4, went missing on June 25, 1983, from Clancy, Montana. 


Nyleen and her family went on a picnic outing in the Helena National Forest in the Elkhorn Mountains not far from her home in Clancy. Nyleen had been playing with other children who walked ahead of her. When the children turned around, Nyleen had disappeared. She was last seen sitting on a log near beaver dams on Maupin Creek. An extensive search yielded no evidence of what happened that fateful day.

Witnesses came forward and told investigators that they had seen Nyleen talking with a man in a purple jogging suit, but authorities could not identify the man. The man reportedly told Nyleen to "follow the shadow."


Police questioned Nyleen's parents, and initially, Nyleen's stepfather was a person of interest. 

Six months after Nyleen's disappearance, her family received three letters from an individual claiming to be her abductor. Three years later, investigators received a letter claiming he had raised Nyleen under her middle name, Kay, and that he was taking excellent care of her.

An anonymous person called the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children several times in 1985 and claimed to have abducted Nyleen. Investigators traced the calls to several pay phones in Edgerton, Wisconsin. Once the phone booths were located and identified - the calls stopped.

In January 1986, an anonymous person sent a type-written letter to Child Find, A New York child advocacy organization. The man claimed he had picked up a little girl named "Kay" in Elkhorn Park between Helena and Boulder, Montana, and said he decided to keep her. The letter was postmarked in Madison, Wisconsin, thirty miles from Edgerton, where the calls were made a year earlier. The letter contained credible information about Nyleen's case that had never been publicly released.  

The anonymous writer said he worked from home, had a significant investment income, and homeschooled Kay. He said he also traveled with her to Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States. He claimed he loved her, she was happy, and even though her family missed her, he would not let her go.

Investigators and behavioral analysts determined the phone calls and letters indicated sexual abuse.

By 1994, the Marshalls had relocated to Japan. The following year, Nyleen's mother, Nancy, passed away. Sadly, she had been sexually assaulted and murdered in Mexico. 

In 1997, a nurse at a New Orleans hospital reported seeing Nyleen and her abductor. The nurse said the 19-year-old woman named "Helena" came to the hospital with a man and wanted to be admitted to give birth. The woman said her mother's name might have been Nyleen, telling them she grew up in a different country. The nurse noted that the young woman had no accent. When the nurses and staff tried to ask for more information about her identity and medical information, the couple quickly left. 

The anonymous person remains unidentified, and police are no closer to finding Nyleen over 40 years after her disappearance. They are hoping she may recognize herself and her story someday.

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children has issued an age progression to 56. A Facebook page "Find Nyleen Marshall," has over 1,000 followers. 

"Clearly, the individual who committed the heinous act of abducting this innocent little girl is mentally ill, sexually deficient and unable to communicate or have a relationship with adult women," said Kym Pasqualini. "It is our hope he puts his big boy pants on and comes forward."

If you have any information about the disappearance of Nyleen Kay Marshall, please call Jefferson County Sheriff's Office 406-225-4075.

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