Shelby County identifies body as missing Columbus woman

SHELBY COUNTY — Shelby County Sheriff’s Department has identified human remains found in the southern part of the county Aug. 1 as a missing Columbus woman.

Nicolle R. Olmstead, 33, was reported as missing to the Columbus Police Department on July 12, and had last been seen in Columbus on July 1, investigators said.

Human remains were found in the southern part of Shelby County on Aug. 1. However, the sheriff’s department is not releasing additional details other than Olmstead being identified, according to a release from the department.

Shelby County Coroner Robbie Stonebreaker said Thursday that the cause and manner of Olmstead’s death cannot be revealed as the investigation is continuing. The sheriff’s department is not releasing the specific location where the human remains were found, or how they were discovered.

The county has been working with anthropology forensic investigators from the University of Indianapolis and does not have the remains back from forensic investigators, the coroner said. He estimated it will be several weeks before an announcement can be made about what caused Olmstead’s death.

Olmstead was last seen in Columbus near the intersection of Eighth and California streets, Columbus police said previously. Olmstead’s family also was told that one of the last known sightings occurred in Heflin Park near Taylorsville before her disappearance.

She was known to law enforcement as an individual who would wander the city seeking car rides and at times would jump into vehicles asking drivers to take her somewhere in Columbus.

Prior to her disappearance, Olmstead had been arrested on a charge of obstructing traffic as a result of reports of her attempting to get into people’s vehicles.

Shelly Olmstead Medlock of Columbus who at one time was Olmstead’s sister-in-law, said the family was having a difficult time in the aftermath of the identification, which was made through a DNA match after the family was unable to locate dental records.

The family has not been told specifically where Olmstead was found in Shelby County, and Medlock said it might be several weeks before her remains are returned to the family for a funeral.

Olmstead’s social media postings state she graduated from Columbus North High School in 2000 and had worked at the local Salvation Army in Columbus in 2012.

Her former sister-in-law said Olmstead had a difficult time with mental health and drug issues and the family was trying to help her. Omstead had been married twice, and had four children from those marriages, Medlock said.

When Olmstead was getting rides from random people, she was trying to travel to Shelbyville to visit her mother, Medlock said.

“I will remember her as a good person, a good parent, and I loved her,” Medlock said. “I know she’s at peace now. She’s not in pain anymore.”

The family had been working with local police in looking for Olmstead and had circulated information about her in the Indianapolis media and on social media around southern Indiana.

Where to call

Shelby County Sheriff’s Department is asking anyone with information about Nicolle R. Olmstead’s disappearance to call:

  • Detective Sgt. Darren Chandler at 317-392-6412
  • Detective LaShawn Tyler at 812-376-2661
  • The Shelby County Prosecutors Tip Line at 317-398-CALL
Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at or (812) 379-5631.