SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - 12 years after she disappeared, the remains of murder victim Nikole Bakoles are finally going home.
The family of the young murder victim came Utah to talk to police and take Nikole back to Washington state. But before they left - they talked to us about their sister and daughter and their hope they'll someday find her killer.
James Bakoles, Nikole's younger brother says "We were best friends and spent every day together." The two are less than a year apart and while growing up near Seattle, Washington they hung out all the time. "She was an artistic girl. She wrote poetry and she liked to paint. She was smart."
But Nikole's boyfriend moved to Utah in 1997 and she came here to be with him. Her mother, Nancie Bakoles, says Nikole returned home a few months later - pregnant and addicted to drugs. She went to rehab at Sundown Ranch in Washington and got clean.
She then returned to Utah and gave birth to a daughter. James says "She had a daughter and was looking forward to raising her. She had a bright future."
But Nancie says Nikole she turned to drugs again. She lost custody of her daughter. She lost contact with her family. And police say she then lost her life.
For 12 years the family wondered what happened. Then a few weeks ago they found out Nikole had been killed and her body had been left near the Great Salt Lake. The body was found in 2000 shortly after Nikole disappeared, but investigators thought the body had been there for a couple of years and for years did not make the connection.
They finally found out what happened to her. Yet, James says they say they still don't really know. "With the answer of every questions comes one hundred more questions."
Unified Police are investigating this as a homicide and looking at a variety of people. Nikole's daughter is now 13 and lives with relatives in Wisconsin. Nikole's former boyfriend and the father of her child in in jail in Washington State on unrelated charges.