ITHACA, N.Y. — Shopping carts full of discarded belongings, a crumpled leather jacket, and words of condolences were among the few things Nicole Marranca’s family found when they searched for their missing daughter in a wooded area in Ithaca on April 28.

“Well, I guess the mission is to obviously find her, but also to come across people that knew her, find out if any new stuff emerged,” step-mother Kelley Marranca said Wednesday.

Search Party to Find Nicole Marranca

Time: 9 a.m. – tba

Date: May 19

Place: Meet at the Ithaca Walmart parking lot, located at  135 Fairgrounds Memorial Pkwy; search will take place at a separate location

Nicole Marranca was last seen in mid-August in the City of Ithaca. Police say Marranca was last seen on Aug. 18 at the Economy Inn, and her family says they’ve picked up a tip that she got into a vehicle with a man in a black pickup truck. Nicole Marranca’s ID card was later found at the Old Goat Gear Exchange, but it’s unclear whether she was there before or after being seen at the hotel.

The search was the first group search for her since she went missing. Kelley Marranca said that at first, Nicole was only recently missing and there was the possibility that she may have decided to skip town for a few weeks.

Police, meanwhile, investigated leads of her possible whereabouts. Then, the weather got colder and Nicole Marranca still hadn’t been heard from.

“There was no way I was going to find anything under three feet of snow, for crying out loud,” Kelley Marranca said.

Nicole Marranca’s was addicted to heroin and sometimes worked as an escort. But, despite her lifestyle, she always kept up with her father Nick Marranca. Her family said she was always a daddy’s girl and often called just to check in or occasionally ask for money.

Nick Marranca previously said that despite his daughter’s lifestyle, he loved her and encouraged her to get sober and come home.

Related: Father of missing Ithaca woman: ‘I’m waiting for the worst, but I’d love to hear the best’

Kelley Marranca said the search last month happened at The Jungle, a wooded area behind the Ithaca Walmart where homeless people often set up camps. Nicole Marranca was rumored to have been dope sick and sleeping in a tent there the day before she went missing.

During the search, a few people living in the area told them that a lot of Nicole Marranca’s belongings had been stuffed into shopping carts by her old campsite. Several people identified a leather jacket as one Nicole Marranca used to wear. Her father decided to take it home with him.

The family said the would love to find Nicole Marranca alive, but that they feel in their heart that she is likely dead. Nothing else could explain her absence to them.

“Look, I just want to find my daughter and bring her home,” Nick Marranca told people while he searched through The Jungle. “Her daughter is 4-years-old and keeps asking for her mommy.”

Ithaca Police Officer Jamie Williamson said police are still seeking help from the public for information regarding Nicole Marranca’s whereabouts. He said the case is still open and being investigated, but police have exhausted many leads.

Marranca’s family is hosting another search for her at 9 a.m. on May 19. They’re asking people interested in volunteering to meet at the Ithaca Walmart parking lot, located at 135 Fairgrounds Memorial Parkway. The search, however, will take place elsewhere.

If you have any information about the current whereabouts of Nicole Marranca please contact the Ithaca Police Department Investigations Division by the following means:

Police Dispatch: 607-272-3245
Police Administration: 607-272-9973
Drug Tipline: 607-330-0000
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ithacapolice
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ithacapolice

Featured photo: Nicole Marranca’s family found a leather jacket during a search for her on April 28. Provided photo

Jolene Almendarez

Jolene Almendarez is Managing Editor at The Ithaca Voice. She can be reached at jalmendarez@ithacavoice.com; you can learn more about her at the links in the top right of this box.