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  1. #1

    Nicole Lynn Bryner (3) - Pittsburgh PA, 1982

    Missing Since: March 11, 1982 from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
    Classification: Non-Family Abduction
    Date Of Birth: February 20, 1979
    Age: 3 years old
    Height and Weight: 2'6, 35 pounds
    Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian female. Brown hair, brown eyes. Some agencies may spell Bryner's middle name "Lynne."

    Details of Disappearance

    Bryner's mother, Melody Thomas Childs, told authorities that her daughter was abducted from a shopping cart on March 9, 1982. Childs claimed that Bryner was sitting inside the cart at a Giant Eagle supermarket store at 23rd Street and Jane Street on the south side of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She stated that when she turned around for a moment, Bryner disappeared. A photograph of Childs is posted below this case summary.

    Authorities were skeptical of Childs's account from the beginning; no one else remembered seeing Bryner in the grocery store at all that day. Several days after Bryner disappeared, a letter was found in her mother's home which was purportedly from Bryner's abductor. The letter stated "Nikky" was dead and buried. Handwriting analysis determined it was probable that Childs herself had written the letter. An extensive search yielded little evidence at the time and Bryner's case became cold.

    Timothy Wayne Widman, confessed to Bryner's murder four years later in May 1986. A photograph of Widman is posted below this case summary. He was imprisoned on burglary charges at the time of his claims. He had been Childs's boyfriend and lived with her and Bryner in the 2000 block of Sarah Street in 1982, but by the time of his confession he had ended his relationship with Childs. Widman said that he slapped the child in March 1982 after she bit his toe, and she fell and hit her head. Afterwards, he was unaware she was seriously injured and Childs put her to bed. She found deceased the following day. Widman claimed that he and Childs put her naked body in a green plastic garbage bag and buried it in shallow grave in a wooded area along Timberland Road in Brookline, Pennsylvania and reported the abduction to cover up Bryner's death. People who knew the couple reported that Widman regularly abused both Bryner and her mother, and that Childs was fearful of him. She was still married to her first husband, Bryner's father, at the time she was involved with Widman. Widman has an extensive criminal record for theft, burglary and forgery.

    A search was conducted in the region for Bryner's remains, but nothing was located. Widman was nevertheless charged with involuntary manslaughter in her case shortly after his confession, but the charges were dropped in 1987. Prosecutors stated that there was not enough evidence against Widman to support any charges; the law at the time dictated that a body had to be found to prove homicide. Childs, who moved to Garland, Texas and married after Bryner's disappearance, was arrested in June 1986 and charged with felony counts of hindering prosecution and providing false reports to the authorities in connection with her daughter's case. The charges were dropped after Widman refused to testify against her. Childs died in Texas in 2001.

    In September 2006, Widman was charged again with criminal homicide in Bryner's presumed death. Investigators did not have any fresh evidence against him, but it is no longer unheard of for homicides to be prosecuted without the victims' bodies, so authorities decided to go forward with the case against Widman. He cooperated with the investigation and, in May 2007, admitted to Bryner's murder and pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter. Widman was sentenced to two to four years in prison, with credit for time served. Authorities stated they did not have any evidence to prove intentional murder, as Bryner's body was never located. Widman has apologized to Bryner's surviving relatives.

    The missing child's report date is listed as March 11, 1982, although Childs claimed Bryner was abducted on March 9. Her case continues to be listed as a non-family abduction with some agencies.

    Investigating Agency
    If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
    Pittsburgh Police Department


  2. #2
    Discuss Nicole's case here:

    [ame="http://www.websleuths.com/forums/showthread.php?t=43600"]PA PA-Nicole Lynn Bryner, 3, Pittsburgh, 1982 - Websleuths Crime Sleuthing Community[/ame]

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