The family of the Kalispell woman who went missing two years ago says the arrest of the alleged killer is a “small step” in the right direction but it still does not bring closure.
On Monday, Cody Wayne Johntson of Fairview was arrested and charged with murdering Nicole Waller, a 31-year-old Kalispell woman who went missing in early 2013. Johnston and Waller had been dating at the time of her disappearance.
“The road we have been down for the past two-and-a-half years has been very rough. It is far from over,” said Waller’s sister, Carmen Keibler, in a statement to the Beacon. “The arrest that was made is a small step in the correct direction. However, it still doesn’t bring anyone closure because Nicky has not been found. Once that happens then maybe we can all heal and try to move forward with the grieving process.”
Although Johnston has been accused of killing Waller on Valentine’s Day 2013, her body has not been recovered.
Keibler said her sister loved all of her friends as if they were family and that she would do anything to help anyone at a moment’s notice.
“We loved everything about her,” she said.
Waller was last seen on Feb. 14, 2013 near Fairview, just outside of Sidney, where she had been staying with Johnston. The following day, police found her 1999 Ford Expedition abandoned along U.S. Highway 2 near Poplar.
This week, Johnston was arrested at a Sidney gas station and charged with deliberate homicide and tampering with physical evidence. According to court documents, evidence suggests that Johnston killed Waller on the morning of Feb. 14 and then disposed of her body in a barrel before abandoning her vehicle nearly 70 miles away.
When authorities started to question Johnston about the disappearance, he started to reach out to people asking them to hack into Waller’s Facebook account and send messages to family members to make it seem as if she was alive.
If Johnston is convicted of deliberate homicide he could be punished by life in prison or even death. Johnston is being held in the Richland County Jail and he is scheduled to make an initial court appearance on Sept. 9. His bail has been set at $250,000.
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