Greenwood police still hope for tip to crack missing woman case

Brookley Louks has been missing since 2002.
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Detectives in Indiana say they are still getting tips in some of the state's highest profile missing women cases.

When Greenwood Assistant Police Chief Matthew Fillenwarth heard Cleveland abduction victim Amanda Berry tell a 911 operator "I was kidnapped," his thoughts turned closer to home.

"Eleven years ago, I wasn't the lead detective, but when I saw that case out of Ohio, the first thing I thought of was Brookley Louks," he said.

Louks was 19 when she disappeared in 2002. The once-troubled teen is still a very real presence in the evidence archives at Greenwood Police headquarters.

"It occupied a four-drawer file cabinet - full. Pictures, statements, every hard copy we had," Fillenwarth said.

The files are now safely locked away, but waiting for that one tip that could tie all the papers and pieces together.

"We worked all summer long on that case," he said. "We hit a lot of dead ends and we hit some we thought were pretty good."

Fillenwarth says detectives were close to charging Joseph Nowicki in the case. A man with a criminal past, Nowicki had made suspicious statements when Louks disappeared.

He was arrested on Federal gun charges, but died before making a confession.

"You want to know what happened, people want to know the truth and it's very frustrating," Fillenwarth said.

Tips still come in, maybe a couple a year, and police track them down.

"You don't want to be that officer, agency or department that says, 'Look, we're done with that case'," Fillenwarth said.

One of the main detectives on the case is retired now. Louks' DNA is in a national database, where it may one day help identify her. She's not just a file - her case lives.

"I could be 70 years old sitting in a rocking chair with a grandchild, unless this case is solved it will always be in the back of my mind," Fillenwarth said.