FAMILY NIGHTMARE
WHO|April 26, 2021
THE CASE WAS INITIALLY RULED A MURDER-SUICIDE; NOW SOME AREN’T SO SURE. COULD THERE BE A KILLER ON THE LOOSE?

To everyone around her, Nichol Olsen seemed like she was living an enviable life. With boundless energy and enthusiasm, the vivacious 37-year-old was always meticulously put together: perfectly coiffed hair, manicured nails and stylish clothes. An exercise enthusiast, she was committed to her daily routine of yoga and Pilates. And as a muchsought-after hairstylist at an upscale San Antonio salon, Olsen happily chatted with clients, sharing stories about her grown son Skylar, 24, and her two daughters, Alexa, 16, and London, 10. She also ran a successful jewellery business on the side. “To meet Nichol was to love her,” says her best friend, Kelly Myrick. “She made new friends everywhere she went.”

One of those friends was former-rodeo-star-turned-entrepreneur Charlie Wheeler, now 33, whom Olsen began dating in 2016. After about a year, Olsen and her daughters moved into Wheeler’s sprawling mansion in the gated community of Anaqua Springs Ranch, Texas. “I can’t say that their relationship was perfect, but she was ready to settle down,” says Nichol’s brother Justin Olsen. “She wanted a family with him for sure.”

But something sinister exploded behind that seemingly perfect facade. On the morning of January 10, 2019, a franticsounding Wheeler called 911 to say he had found Olsen and her two girls dead in a pool of blood in an upstairs hallway of his home. Olsen and Alexa had been shot in the head, London in the head and neck. A gun was recovered near Olsen’s body, and the coroner classified the case as a murder-suicide, theorising that Olsen had killed her children and then herself. But not everyone is so sure. Bexar County sheriff Javier Salazar has refused to close the case, instead calling the FBI for assistance analysing data to determine if this could be a triple homicide. “Calling someone the murderer of their own children is the worst thing you could ever accuse anybody of,” Salazar says. “I’m not ready to do that yet.”

When police responded to his 911 call, Wheeler told them that he had argued with Olsen the night before and had left the house they shared to stay with a relative. When he returned home the next day, Wheeler said, he found his girlfriend and her daughters dead.

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