Franklin, TN police detectives on Thursday said they are assisting New York State Police who are in Franklin conducting an investigation into the disappearance of a New York teen.
According to a news release from Franklin Police Department, Nieko Lisi left Jasper, N.Y. on Sept. 30, 2011 and dropped off a friend in Romulus, Mich., before arriving on Flintlock Drive in Franklin on Oct. 1, 2011. At the time he was 18.
Monica Button, Nieko’s mother, said she first suspected her son was missing when she received a phone call from her brother asking if she knew Nieko was going camping and then couldn’t reach Nieko on his cellphone.
Police say Nieko told his uncle he was going away for a while.
“For four and a half years, I’ve just been tortured,” Button said.
Nieko, along with the grey 2004 GMC Canyon truck he was driving, has not been seen since.
Button said her son sometimes got caught up in the wrong crowd, but that she thought he'd straighten out. Nieko did not have permission to drive the truck to Franklin.
But recent leads have led Eric Hurd, a New York state investigator, and other New York officers to Franklin.
On the afternoon of Oct. 1, 2011, Nieko’s mobile phone stopped communicating with a Franklin cell tower. According to officials, New York State Police investigators suspect foul play.
Members of the New York State Police Violent Crime Investigation Team have been in Franklin since Monday, following several leads, police said.
"We've interviewed several people, and we have several people more that we want to interview," Hurd said in a press conference Thursday. He said police have persons of interest.
Button said that days after her son went missing, she found out the young man Nieko was traveling with died in Michigan about 10 days after Nieko may have left the area.
Button looked up her son's call logs on Verizon and saw Nieko had been contacting Tennessee phone numbers. She called all the people on the list and got a call back from one young man who said Nieko had been to his Tennessee home on Oct.1, 2011, the same day police say Nieko's phone stopped communicating with the cell tower.
She said Nieko knew the young man from when he had gone to Franklin High School as a junior and resided in the Franklin area with family members in 2009.
"I said to the young man, 'You haven't seen him in two years. What did he say, what did he want? Where did he go?' " Button said. "And he couldn't deliver anything positive or any concrete information for me."
She said the young man's family insisted that Nieko had spent the night there. "To date, those are the last people who've said that they've seen my son alive."
Hurd said he doesn't know how long New York police will remain in Franklin. He described Nieko as 5 feet 10 inches tall with brown hair and a muscular build.
“He loved his family,” Button said. “Our family was very close knit, and we just want to know if he's OK.”
The license plate on the truck Nieko was last known to have been driving, police say, is New York EGY 7316.
The Lisi family is offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to Nieko's whereabouts. Franklin police and Crime Stoppers are offering an additional reward of up to $1,000 for information in this case.
"We'll use whatever resources we can to find this kid," Hurd said.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 615-794-4000.
“We beg (the public) to tell us what has happened to him,” Button said. “I just love my son.”
Release from the Franklin, TN Police Department:
A cold case investigation into the disappearance of a missing New York teen has led to the discovery of the truck he drove to Franklin. Following a lead, yesterday afternoon Franklin Police Detectives and New York State Police Investigators found the stripped down truck locked inside the garage of a middle Tennessee home.
The discovery only increases the concern of foul play in the disappearance of Nieko Lisi, who was last seen on Flintlock Drive in Franklin on October 1, 2011. Investigators are hopeful that forensic processing of the truck, underway today in Franklin, will help to provide answers in the case. Police urge anyone with information to come forward.
MISSING: Nieko Lisi
A cash reward is available for anonymous information,
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