GIRL found, charged in fatal Oklahoma City house fire

Thursday, August 9th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ A 15-year-old girl missing since she was seen running from a house fire that killed her little brother was found and arrested about midnight Thursday.

Abbey Nickell was being held in the Oklahoma County Jail on complaints of first-degree murder and arson in connection with the Wednesday morning fire that killed 10-year-old Jimmy Nickell Jr., Oklahoma City Police Capt. Jessica Cummins said.

Police received a telephone tip that Nickell was at a home in southeast Oklahoma City.

``Officers went over there; she was in the front yard,'' Cummins said.

Detectives have not yet determined a motive for the fire and are working with arson investigators from the Oklahoma City Fire Department to determine how and where the blaze started.

``It was obviously intentionally set,'' Cummins said. ``What the exact cause of the fire is will be determined by the arson investigators.''

Fire Department Maj. Brian Stanaland said Thursday that arson investigators still are looking into the cause of the fire.

Abbey and the Nickell family were known to police and state officials, Cummins said. Police answered at least 12 calls to the home in 2001.

``We've had calls ranging from domestic-related disturbances to rape to injury to a child at that house,'' Cummins said.

The alleged rape was reported by the girl's father on July 11, Cummins said.

Cummins declined to release details of the alleged rape, but said she anticipates an arrest warrant will be issued soon.

Detectives forwarded a child abandonment complaint to the state Department of Human Services in 1996, but the agency declined to investigate.

``It's kind of a sad story all the way around,'' Cummins said.