Grandmother Believes Granddaughter was Murdered in Tulsa Park

Tuesday, November 16th 1999, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

All Janice Nicks has left of her granddaughter is a book of pictures, a handful of memories and a heart filled with questions. 21-year-old Melissa Nicks died in Woodward Park five weeks ago after being run over by a car. Her family wonders why no charges have been filed in the case. Tuesday, Mrs. Nicks spoke publicly for the first time exclusively to the News on Six. "We just want to know if she was murdered,” said Nicks. “This is a hate crime if she was hit with something and knocked under the car. This should not have happened here."

Nicks says she's convinced authorities aren't working very hard on this case because of the type of people her granddaughter was with when she died. She describes them as "different", runaways with spiked hair and strange clothes. “We knew Melissa was living a risky lifestyle, but she wasn't breaking the law. She was in a city park and had every right to be there. If she was attacked, this is just not right," she said.

Some of those same young people left a makeshift shrine where the young Nicks died. Police say she fell in front of a car and was run over. Officers later apprehended the driver and recovered the car. Some of the girl’s friends say teens with baseball bats were attacking friends of Nicks. When she tried to break it up, she got knocked under the car.

Police officers have told the News on Six they have had several incidents of student athletes coming to the park to harass and pick fights. Nicks says it wasn't an unfortunate accident that killed her granddaughter, but a case of intolerance that grew to hate and then to murder. "How do I know they won't attack me next?” she said. “What if I don't look right or you don't look right? This is not Tulsa."

Investigators had heard rumors about the young girl being hit or pushed, but found no evidence to support the allegation. At this point, Nicks’ grandmother feels let down by the system that's supposed to help the victim. "I know it won't bring Melissa back,” said Nicks. “I just want to see somebody accountable for it."

District Attorney Tim Harris says his office received a 200-page report from investigators and he's still analyzing the evidence in the case. He says he won't know what charges to file until that is finished.