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Mountain Cold Case - Georgia Nolan - 1976

By: Steve Hensley Email
By: Steve Hensley Email

She was last seen more than three decades ago in Harlan County and even though her body still hasn't been found, many of Georgia Nolan's family members believe she was murdered. Now 31 years later, some believe skeletal remains found more than three hundred miles away in Virginia may finally hold the answer that leads to a resolution in this Mountain Cold Case.

Georgia Nolan was last seen in late November 1976. Her estranged husband claims they argued and she got out of their vehicle on a roadway near the Illinois-Kentucky border.

"When she was gone for a couple of days, we realized that something was bad wrong you know," Georgia's brother, Walter Mitchell Jr. said.

Georgia's two brothers and other family members still don't know what happened to her, but they believe she was murdered.

"It'd be good if the truth would come out about it all these years, it would be a good break to all of us," Georgia's brother, Silas Mitchell said.

Georgia had four children, the youngest who was only two months old when her mother disappeared, lives in Texas. Nancy Austin is determined to find her mother.

"I'm just hopeful that we find an answer and I do believe we're very close," Austin said.

One reason she's hopeful is investigators in Virginia are trying to determine if there's a link between Nolan and skeletal remains found in a wooded area in 1980. There are similarities. The remains are believed to be a woman in her 20's who was also a mother. Relatives say her chin looks similar to a sketch of what the woman may have looked like. Police also think foul play was involved in this case.

"A body can't bury itself and the fact that this body was partially in a grave, it's pretty much assumed the person did not commit suicide," said Sgt. Felicia Glick with the Rockingham County Sheriff's Department.

Austin and Georgia's brother Walter have submitted their DNA to investigators to see if there's a link. The results could come back within weeks. Meanwhile, family members in Harlan County aren't convinced yet the remains in Virginia belong to Nolan.

"If it's her, I sure do thank God because God works in mysterious ways," Walter said.

"There's a part of me that believes that it is and a part of me that believes it's not, so it's just mixed feelings right now," Georgia's niece, Gracie Harmon said.

Family members in Eastern Kentucky say they've always thought Nolan was buried in Harlan County. Nancy Austin says she just wants to get to the bottom of this 31 year mystery.

"I've even been told by my father that he doesn't understand why I want to do this. I've had family members tell me we're better off that she's dead. I've had people tell me that she died trying to protect me. I just want to know the truth," Austin said.

Georgia Nolan's husband at the time of her disappearance also lives in Texas and we were unable to reach him for comment.

If you have any information about the disappearance of Georgia Nolan, call the Kentucky State Police Post in Harlan at 606-573-3131.

If you have a suggestion about a cold case we should profile, send an e-mail to steve.hensley@wymtnews.com.

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UPDATED

Family members say police are making preparations to dig up a piece of land in Loyall where they believe Georgia Nolan could be buried.

Nolan disappeared in 1976 and family members think she was murdered.

Police say they're going to look for Nolan's remains in two locations.

The digging is expected to begin Thursday morning.

Meanwhile, police in Rockingham County, Virginia are still waiting on DNA results on remains found there in 1980.

Some believe there are similarities in the two cases.


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