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Last updated on Thursday, April 25, 2013
(BEDFORD) - After Jill Behrman, but before Lauren Spierer, there was the case of Brookley Louks.
She was a 19-year-old Greenwood woman who disappeared 11 years ago and has never been found.
Amanda Hacker Atchison, Louks' cousin and who lives in Bedford, understands that every missing person is a tragedy, however she would like to see more people made aware of others who are missing.
"Through this whole experience, I have taken up great interest in the stories of other missing people," Amanda wrote in an email. "I have been thinking a lot about Lauren Spierer's family as well. They are in my thoughts and I truly hope that they can bring Lauren home and find the answers they are looking for. The only positive thing about the discovery of these remains (in Brown County) is that someone's family will find the closure that we all so desperately need."
More than a week after mushroom hunters found human skeletal remains in the Brown County woods, the person's identity is still unknown.
Brown County Chief Deputy Coroner Earl Piper says forensic examiners at the University of Indianapolis are examining the skull and then it will be sent to a forensic odontologist. Comparison could then be made to dental records of missing persons.
Identifying the deceased has not been his immediate and primary focus. Piper says.
"Of course, like everybody else, I'm anxious to get the ID," he told the Brown County Democrat, "But I'm more anxious to make sure we don't do anything to damage evidence if such thing is necessary."
Brookley's family was notified as soon as the human remains were discovered in Brown County.
"We are notified when any remains are found, as well as a few weeks ago the same thing happened when bones were discovered close to Ohio," says Jeff Atchinson, Amanda's husband. "We have vowed that as long as any one of us has a breath left in our lungs or until Brookley is found, we shall never stop searching."
Brookley was reported missing on June 24, 2002. She had stopped by her father's home in the 1400 block of Cottonwood Drive around 4 pm to get some clothing and it was the last time anyone saw her.
Police say they received a burglary report from Brookley's father, Scott Louks at 5:30 pm reporting his computer had been stolen.
Witnesses told police they saw Brookley's 1990 Chevrolet Corsica at the home and that an unidentified male was possibly driving the vehicle.
She was reported two days later.
After police received several anonymous tips they located Brookley's car on July 1, 2002 at Ind. 37 and State Road 144 in Waverly, about ten miles from her father's home
That is where a neighbor picked up then 53-year-old Joe Nowicki, out of breath and frazzled, the night Brookley disappeared. Nowicki and Brooklyn were friends and she often carried for his horses.
"I know Lauren Spierer made national headlines, but if you were to look into Brookley's story you would find a story just as gripping and heart-wrenching as any you have ever come across," says, Jeff.
Brookley's family says Nowicki was always over protective of her and now looking back, the relationship was "just not right."
Police searched Nowicki's home and garage in the 4600 block of Old Smith Road in late July 2002.
Investigators found evidence of Brookley's blood. They found it on the floor, on a desk and splattered on the ceiling. The blood was positively matched to Brookley's through a DNA test.
Joe Nowicki admitted it was Brookley's blood, claiming she cut her finger while working on an upholstery project.
During the search police also took Nowicki's computer and impounded his van.
After Brookley's disappearance, Greenwood Assistant Police Chief, Matt Fillenwarth says Nowicki was nothing but a murderer, rapist and sociopath and that Nowicki was their prime suspect.
"I think she met with an ill fate,'" recalls Fillenwarth.
Brookley's father, Scott Louks, purchased pills from Nowicki and owed him money. Greenwood police had to get a court order to force Scott to talk with them about his daughter's disappearance.
He didn't tell them much, and by November of that year, he was dead.
Nowicki was arrested that same year and went to a federal prison for firearms possession.
In July 2003, Nowicki was released from prison, and died from cancer not long after. He wouldn't cooperate with police and left this world sharing no information about Brookley's disappearance.
His statement at the time was, 'You'd like me to tell you I did it. You'd like me to tell you where she's at," recalls Fillenwarth. "Then he kinda smiled and he said, 'I could do that, but I'm not because it's the little bit of fun I have left.'
If you have any information about the disappearance of Brookley Louks, you are asked to call Detective Erik Klinkowski with the Greenwood Police Department (317) 882-9191.
"You can only imagine what this does to a family dynamic when for the last decade of our lives we have not and continue to not know where a loved member of our family is," says Jeff. "Someone, somewhere, knows something about Brookley. At this point we just want..., we NEED to have closure; we need to lay our loved one to rest. My wife and Brookley were raised as sisters instead of cousins and for my wife to not know where her sister is, she can only imagine the worst. I'm sure Brookley suffered far worse than any of us want to ever imagine. Now we just need to lay her to rest so she may find peace for eternity."
For more information on Brookley's disappearance visit Facebook and look at "missing Brookley Louks.
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