Nichole Coats‘ family last heard from her as she prepared for a date Friday, Sept. 8. The following morning, the Los Angeles-based model could not be reached by family or friends.
On Sunday, the 32-year-old model was found dead by her relatives in her downtown apartment. Coats was bloodied and her leg was in a kicking position, according to KTLA 5.
“I couldn’t recognize her,” said Coats’ aunt, May Stevens. “I believe it was murder, I really do…That’s not somebody who just laid in their bed and died.”
Her family seeks answers as Coats was well-loved. They are frustrated by law enforcement’s lack of progress in the matter. “This is senseless, and I want some answers because my daughter is gone,” said Coats’ mother, Sharon Coats.
Police are also looking for a connection between her and another model’s death.
On Sept.12, model and real estate agent Maleesa Mooney was found dead in her apartment, less than three miles from Coats’ residence. The 31-year-old’s body was discovered after concerned relatives asked local police to perform a wellness check after family members couldn’t contact Mooney.
Coats’ cause of death is still being determined, but Mooney’s death was classified as a homicide. The women’s deaths are eerily similar, and friends and family of the women feel this may be the work of a serial killer.
“I don’t know who she went out with or what transpired there,” Sharon Coats told KTLA. “I have no idea but I’m going to find out. So if you’re out there, you’re going to get caught. You’re messing with the wrong person.”
Coats’ loved ones have started a GoFundMe to crowdsource funding for her funeral arrangements, with more than $15,000 raised so far, well above the $10,000 goal.