Remains of missing Red Deer woman, Lorie Nichols, located

By Josh Hall (Twitter: @Vancan19)
December 21, 2016 - 1:37pm Updated: December 21, 2016 - 3:48pm

The search for a missing Red Deer woman has come to a sad conclusion.

Lorie Nichols, 49, disappeared February 23 of this year.

RCMP confirm human remains were found December 16 in a field on a rural property in Red Deer County.

An autopsy conducted by the Calgary Medical Examiner's Office on December 19 confirmed the remains were those of Nichols.

There is no connection between Nichols and the person who located her, according to police. 

Corporal Laurel Scott, RCMP Media Relations, says Mounties are not investigating this as a suspicious death and that further information will not be made available.

 Lorie's husband, Greg Nichols

"None of us thought it was going to turn out this way. We just didn't,” Lorie’s husband, Greg, told rdnewsNOW Wednesday afternoon.

“I guess as the summer came and went, even the police became convinced there was a good opportunity for us to locate her under a different circumstance,  just because missing persons cases don't go on this long, especially someone local. It was kind of perplexing to them."

“At the same time, I realized from the onset this was a possibility and everybody that was involved, the police, friends and family, and media, that was helping us look, the calls, the emails and the letters that came in helped us for another day and steer us in the right direction. Everyone was pretty gracious.”

Nichols says he is appreciative of the work done by RCMP in their attempt to locate Lorie.

“The police were very good at what they did and were very humble about the whole thing when they came to let us know and I feel for them too, they made believers out of me. They were invested. We're all very sad that it turned out this way.”

For Nichols, his two sons and the rest of their family, the news of Lorie’s death provides them with an important sense of closure.

"We do have closure. For all that we've gone through, I'll say it again, it's not the outcome we wanted, but having gone through the period of time that we did, without knowing, if i had to pick between never knowing and having this result, I would accept this. Not that we have a choice, but it just feels different, and it gives us a chance to understand a little bit more and start to put things back together."

Despite her death, Nichols says Lorie will still be with them during the holidays.

"She's spending this Christmas with us. Finding this out, even though this might be hard for somebody else to comprehend, this is actually a pretty good gift. We're going to sit at home and be a family. It's a gift for us to know. It'll be different, the first Christmas for me without Lorie in 27 years, but we've got some wonderful people around us, so it's still going to be good. She's with us, there's no doubt about that."

Above all, Greg doesn't want people to remember Lorie as just someone who struggled with mental illness.

"I want them to remember her in their own way. I'm not going to go out of my way to tell people she wasn't well, or that she struggled for a large part of her life. It is something that you don't see.

"The greatest thing about her was she had the art of giving down to a spectacular science. She always put other people before herself. She was really inclined to help people who had less than her."

Once they get through the holidays, Nichols says he'll start thinking about how to honour Lorie by helping raise awareness for mental illness. 

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