Gerald Nix does his best to hold onto hope when it comes to finding out what happened to his 24-year-old daughter, Diana Nix.
“I’ve done a lot of work on it, but I’m still puzzled by it,” Nix said. “I probably drove a thousand miles looking for her, where she might be, all that.”
While working on her degree at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Diana was also working at a hydraulics manufacturing plant with her dad.
“It wasn’t unusual for me not to see her three to four to five days. Because we worked in totally different places,” Nix said.
Suspicions arose when Diana had missed several days of work, and a co-worker asked him how she was doing. Nix asked a friend to check her duplex, where she lived alone on Peachers Mill Road.
“The entire apartment was flooded. Someone had put a towel in the kitchen sink and turned the water on,” Nix said. “Her friend said the phone looked like it had been set off the hook and there was a cup of coffee with cream in it sitting on her table. And she said she never drank cream in her coffee.”
Nix filed a missing persons report with Clarksville Police on May 3, 1996. Investigators determined Diana was last seen alive on May 1. They believe when she got off work, she stopped by an ATM, then a liquor store, and returned home. They also found blood spatter inside her duplex.
Police immediately put out a be on the lookout, or BOLO alert, for her missing car.
They found the Chevrolet Cavalier on May 8, driven by two juveniles who were only charged with stealing Diana’s car in the case. They told police they got the car from someone else, who police have since identified.
Diana’s fate wouldn’t be known until 1999, When a fisherman spotted skeletal remains along the Little West Fork Creek near Fort Campbell Boulevard in Clarksville.
“They said the cause of her death was strangulation with a nylon fish stringer because it was around her neck when they found her body… her bones,” Nix said.
Diana’s body was found lying face down along the creek near a white sheet. Anthropologists from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville believe Diana’s remains had been decomposing for at least two years.
“Of course, I had her dental records and everything. She was positively identified through her dental records,” Nix said.
Nix doesn’t believe her body was there directly after her murder.
“I took about six months off work just to go look. But, I searched that area twice and this was a month or two after she was missing. She was not there,” Nix said.
No one has ever been arrested for Diana’s murder.
As time lingers on, Nix struggles to hold onto faith that he’ll ever know what actually happened to his daughter and discover who was the person responsible.
“Well, it’s not good. I wouldn’t want to pass away not knowing,” Nix said. “It’s been so long, 25 years, a lot of people pass away, a lot of the witnesses have moved out of the town and everything. The longer it goes, the chances are slimmer.”
Diana was studying science at APSU and was given a posthumous degree.