In the late 80s and early 90s, boy band New Kids on the Block ruled the radio. While it’s obvious the band had “the right stuff,” and was worshipped by teen girls everywhere, did you know NKOTB was wrapped up in a missing person’s case at the height of their success?
It all started with the disappearance of a fan.
The fan was 16-year-old Kari Lynn Nixon. She was on her way home from a grocery store in the Adirondacks on June 22, 1987, when she vanished. Her parents believed she had been kidnapped, while others questioned if the young girl ran away. An extensive search was done throughout the Adirondacks to find her; however, no trace of the teen was found.
Her parents never stopped looking for their daughter. They hung blue ribbons throughout their neighborhood, worked closely with police on many leads, and pushed for their daughter’s story to get National coverage. Her case eventually made it onto UNSOLVED MYSTERIES—twice.
No new leads came, until Nixon’s mother, Kathy, saw a NKOTB music video in 1991. The video was filmed at an NKOTB concert in 1989, and showcased fans dancing in the crowd. One of the fans stood out to Mrs. Nixon—because she was sure that it was her missing daughter.
The video, which was filmed two years after her daughter’s disappearance, gave the grieving mother hope that her daughter was alive. The new lead was featured as an “update” on Nixon’s UNSOLVED MYSTERIES episode, and soon the news spread to NKOTB members.
Jordan and Jonathan Knight heard about the case and the connection to their video, and they decided to get involved. They appeared on television and spoke directly to the missing teen, and told her to come home. Jordan also pleaded with anyone else in the audience to come forward if they had important information about Nixon’s whereabouts.
While the girl from the video shared a striking resemblance to Nixon, sadly the horrifying truth about what happened to the teen would eventually come out 7 years after she disappeared. As it turned out, she wasn’t the girl in the music video. Nixon never made it far from the area she was last seen.
Robert Anthony Jones was serving jail time for bank robbery when he offered a confession to spare his wife punishment for being his getaway driver. Police were shocked when Jones confessed to kidnapping Nixon in 1989, and murdering her shortly after.
According to Jones, he pulled a gun on Nixon as she walked home, and forced her into his car. He raped and murdered her because he was angry his wife cheated on him. He explained, “I had gone out with no intention. I was just upset about my wife. My wife had left and driven back to Maine, and I had gone down to the store to pick up some pretzels and beer, and that’s when I happened to see her (Nixon).”
Jones buried Nixon two miles away from her home in a shallow grave. He was sentenced to 18-years-to-life for the girl’s senseless death. The Nixon family have started scholarships in their daughter’s name, and have donated funds to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in hopes of preventing other children from a similar fate.
While the NKOTB music video sighting turned out to be false, it helped bring new attention to the case, and ultimately kept investigators invested in Nixon’s disappearance. Thankfully, the killer confessed and gave the teen’s family closure.