The Disappearance of Michaela Nelson

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*UPDATE: The Columbus Police Department has announced Michaela Nelson has been found safe.*


Michaela Nelson was born on April 16, 1995 to Lance and Jacquelyn Nelson. She is the oldest of five children, all of whom are deeply dedicated to their faith. For decades, her parents served as missionaries with Cru.

According to her father, Michaela is a social butterfly who makes friends everywhere she goes. She is also extremely athletic, participating in numerous sports, including track, basketball and volleyball, while attending Xenia Christian High School – now called Legacy Christian Academy.

In 2017, Michaela graduated from Cedarville University with a B.S. degree in exercise science. She’d been accepted to the school on a track scholarship, despite having suffered season-ending injuries during her junior and senior years of high school.

In September 2020, she enlisted with the Ohio National Guard, were she serves under G Company in the Recruitment Sustainment Program, based in Dayton, Ohio.

Outside of the US Army, Michaela is a certified personal trainer at Life Time Fitness and a certified coach at FASTer Ways to Fat Loss. She was previously married to her college sweetheart, but the pair recently divorced. It was also recently that she was evicted from her apartment.

In September 2021, Michaela suffered the lost of her mother, Jacquelyn. According to Lance, the funeral was the last time he saw his daughter.


The last time Michaela was seen was on October 1, 2021, when a friend picked her up from the Columbus airport. She’d just returned from Fort Jackson, South Carolina, where she was training to become a military religious affair’s specialist and chaplain’s assistant.

Michaela didn’t check in with the Recruitment Sustainment Program and didn’t report for drills upon her return. As such, she is currently considered AWOL (absent without leave) from the Ohio National Guard.

While not seen by anyone after October 1, Lance received a text from Michaela on October 24. Her grandmother received one two days later, which is the last time anyone heard from the missing Army specialist.

After a week without contact, Lance filed a missing persons report with the Columbus Police Department.


At present, the Nelson family is working with the Columbus Police Department and a private investigator, James Terry. Terry has uncovered information regarding the days leading up to Michaela’s disappearance from speaking with her family and friends, including those who just recently entered her life. There are still no definitive answers as to where she is, but those involved in the search have found no evidence of foul play.

There is some speculation Michaela may have been travelling in her 2016 charcoal grey Dodge Charger SXT, as it is currently missing. Its license plate is JLL4284.

The Ohio National Guard said she is a valued member of their Recruitment Sustainment Program, writing in a statement that her safety is their top priority: “Spc. Nelson’s health and safety are our priority, and our hope is she’s found safe as soon as possible. We will continue to be available to provide any assistance needed to her family and law enforcement.”


Michaela Nelson was last seen at the Columbus airport in Columbus, Ohio on October 1, 2021. It’s reported she had contact with her family for nearly a month after this, until October 26. At the time of her disappearance, she was 26 years old, and what she was last seen wearing is currently unknown. She stands at 5’8″, and has brown eyes and long, brown hair.

Currently, the case is classified as a missing persons investigation. If alive, Michaela would still be 26 years old.

Those with information regarding the case are asked to contact the Columbus Police Department at either 614-645-4545 or 614-645-4747. Tips can also be called into the family’s private investigator, James Terry, at 813-993-2242.

Image Credit: Facebook

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