Wisconsin Woman's Disappearance Fills Family And Friends With Fear

Tuesday, July 3rd 2007, 9:05 pm
By: News On 6

MADISON, Wis. (AP) _ The search for a 22-year-old college student who vanished after a night out at the bars has stirred up memories of another case that grabbed headlines and shocked this city.

It's been more than a week since friends and relatives last heard from Kelly Nolan, who rented an apartment downtown for the summer.

A team of detectives have interviewed family, friends and others who saw her out the night of June 22. Divers have searched Lake Mendota around the University of Wisconsin-Madison student union, where students sometimes swim. Friends have posted messages on the Internet asking for help.

But so far, nothing.

Megan Janeway said her friend's case is nothing like the 2004 search for UW-Madison student Audrey Seiler, which consumed Madison police until she turned up alive in a swamp. Seiler eventually told detectives she had staged the entire abduction.

``She could take care of herself. She's not a completely sheltered person. She's a strong person,'' Janeway said of Nolan. ``We just want people to know ... this is abnormal for her. She has hopes and dreams. She just didn't run away or something.''

Nolan, of Waunakee, a Madison suburb, is a senior majoring in speech at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. She rented an apartment in Madison this summer and planned to work at a dinner club with Janeway.

Nolan went out downtown with friends but got separated from them about midnight, said police spokesman Joel DeSpain, though he wasn't sure why.

Others who were downtown that night have told police they spoke with Nolan after she left her friends, DeSpain said. Detectives aren't saying whether she was with someone during those encounters.

Sometime after midnight, Nolan talked to her sister, April, by phone, DeSpain said. He declined to release details of that conversation.

But she never returned to her apartment, stirring fears in her family that something happened to her, DeSpain said.

``She just drops off the radar by daylight Saturday,'' he said.

Her mother, Mary Jane Nolan, said her daughter wouldn't have gone anywhere against her will.

``She'd say no and she'd mean it,'' said Mary Jane Nolan, 55. ``I would like to believe a strange thing happened. I pray for that clue.''