KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
September 13, 2019
By Jennifer Miko
Katy teen Hailey Nickerson has been missing since Tuesday, September 10. The 16-year-old’s father has taken to social media asking for help finding her and getting her home safely.
This morning, in a live social media video, Chris Nickerson recounted the story of his daughter’s disappearance and asked the community to help him locate her. Watch the video here.
Chris Nickerson describes their father-daughter relationship: “We talk, we’re close, I’m not a perfect dad, but she gets love and compassion from me nonstop at home. She’s a typical teenager - hates school and doesn’t clean her room.”
He admitted Hailey wanted to date a boy named “Trey” who attended Taylor High School with her. He told Hailey she could only see him at school, but later found out that she was sneaking around with him.
“I was adamant that she wasn’t going to date this boy, I knew that he was bad, bad news.”
Nickerson Shares Timeline
Around 9:00 am on September 10, Chris Nickerson got a call from Trey’s mother saying her son was missing, and that their kids had had a fight the night before. The boy’s mother found inappropriate text messages on his iPad and pictures Chris Nickerson described as “not super-graphic, but not OK.”
That same day, Hailey left school at 12:39 pm and walked to meet Trey somewhere. Then she reported to work at the Kentucky Fried Chicken on Mason Road to start her shift at 4:00 pm. Chris Nickerson talked to Hailey and the manager there and told them she wasn’t allowed to leave the premises. He took her phone at that point.
“A fatal mistake on my part, I regret it now,” says Chris Nickerson.
He told Hailey he’d be back at the restaurant at 10:00 pm. But when he arrived, he was told Hailey left at 8:00 pm for break and never came back. Hailey left her backpack and the only change of clothes available to her at that time. She was wearing black pants, black sneakers and a black polo KFC uniform shirt.
Chris Nickerson found out that another young man picked up Hailey and Trey from the KFC and took them to Sonic on Mason Road.
“It was communicated to the driver that they were going to live on the streets,” says Chris Nickerson.
Searching for His Daughter
Hailey has a debit card for receiving her paycheck, and her father is trying to track the card. He has also printed off 100 flyers that he wants posted up and down Mason Road.
“I need help today,” Chris Nickerson said in this morning’s video. “I think awareness right now is the key, and get people to have their eyes open. That’s how we’re going to find them. I want to check under every bridge, talk to the homeless folks, go to the businesses, go to these strip malls, flood this place, because I know they’re in this area.”
Concerns About Sex Trafficking
Over the past few days, Chris Nickerson has spoken to the police, and strangers who have reached out to him on social media. He has heard numerous stories about young girls being targeted in the Katy schools for sex trafficking. They shared how they were manipulated by other students into trusting them, and they later connected these girls with older men who put them in danger.
“The scary part is there’s a grooming process that these people go through here for sex trafficking," says Chris Nickerson. "And sex trafficking isn’t what people think.”
Katy resident Kelly Litvak, founder of Childproof America, has been communicating with Chris Nickerson about his daughter’s disappearance.
“As a bystander, we can make a quick judgement as to the reality of this story,” says Litvak. “Is the youth a runaway, rebelling against the authority of her father or is she being lured into a world of sexual exploitation? Without knowing the grooming stages of sex trafficking and the behaviors that present in each stage, bystanders are simply making an uniformed decision about the case, reacting from a place of panic.”
Since her disappearance, Hailey has sent messages to various people, and Chris Nickerson believes she was told what to say, or that someone else is sending the messages. Each one says she’s OK and not to worry about her.
Prevention and Awareness of Sex Trafficking
“Education on the tactics, stages and behaviors of sex trafficking is an absolute must for parents and caregivers,” says Litvak. “This will not only provide prevention education for your own families, but better equip you to recognize the truth of the stories coming across your newsfeed, so you can be looking through the right filter.”
Litvak says step one is finding Hailey and returning her home safely, but the next steps based on experiences are critical.
"Whatever vulnerability Hailey and other missing youth have experienced must be identified and treated by a trained professional, otherwise that same vulnerability will dictate future risky behavior," says Litvak.
Joining Forces to Search for Hailey
Chris Nickerson is trying to coordinate people to search for Hailey, especially after dark, and has a plan that he’s not divulging on social media.
“It’s my only priority right now,” Chris Nickerson. “I don’t know what else to do.”
He urges anyone with information to please call him 346-307-4254.
“Even if I don’t know you and you live here in Katy and want to help, please call me," says Chris Nickerson. "We need to put pressure on this situation with conversation. Kids know stuff, we need to help these kids understand that this isn’t some stupid kid’s runaway sh**, this is serious. We’re three plus days into this now, it isn’t a joke. I just want my daughter back.”
The Harris Country Sheriff’s Office urges anyone with information about Hailey or her whereabouts to contact the Missing Person/Runaway Unit at 713-755-7427 or call the anonymous Crime Stoppers hotline at 713-222-TIPS.