Nicole Marranca

ITHACA, N.Y. — Sunday, Aug. 18, marks two years since Nicole Marranca was last seen in Ithaca. Her family still holds out hope that they will someday find her, or at least get answers about why she suddenly disappeared.

“We still know absolutely nothing,” Kelley Marranca, a family member, said Thursday. “It’s frustrating. It’s upsetting. I just think somebody knows something.”

Nicole Dawn Marranca was last seen Aug. 18, 2017, at the Old Goat Gear Exchange in Ithaca. There have been few concrete leads about what happened to her after that. Over the years, many tips have come in but none have led police or family to any answers yet. The Ithaca Police Department is still actively investigating the case, and according to the lead investigator on the case, Inv. Kevin McKenna, he has followed up on more than 100 leads.

McKenna said he has not closed the case yet “because I feel that it is solvable. Quite honestly, I have a vested interest in finding out the truth. I’ve been working on it for so long. I want closure for the family.”

Many people have likely walked by the red posters — Nicole Marranca, also known as CJ, would be 29 today. She has blue eyes, strawberry blonde hair and sometimes wore a red wig. She also has a Grateful Dead tattoo on her back. Though she struggled with a heroin addiction and sometimes worked as an escort, her family has said, she always kept in touch with her family and her father, Nick Marranca. Nicole also has a young daughter, who is in the custody of Nick Marranca and his wife, Kelley.

Courtesy of Find Nicole Marranca Facebook page.

For that reason, Nicole Marranca’s family does not believe she would purposely disappear with no contact at all.

Kelley Marranca said her daughter often asks about her, wondering if her mother is ever going to come home or is in heaven.

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

Hundreds of thousands of people go missing in the U.S. every year, according to data from the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, but in the small community of Ithaca, it’s not at all common, McKenna said. He said he could recall one other local unsolved missing person case.

Though two years have passed since she was last seen, her family is still hopeful for information. Since she has gone missing, they have continuously organized local searches for Nicole. They also have a Find Nicole Marranca Facebook page with regular updates.

McKenna said one of the challenges in this case has been weeding through rumors and misinformation submitted, but both he and her family believe there is someone out there who knows where Nicole Marranca is.

“At this point, honestly somebody knows something about her disappearance,” McKenna said.  “I’m hoping to at least get an anonymous tip as to where she is and help Nicole’s family get some closure.”

Nicole Marranca’s family is offering $5,000 for information that leads to her whereabouts. Anyone with information is urged to contact police. The anonymous tiplines to do so are below.

Kelsey O'Connor

Kelsey O'Connor is the managing editor for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at and follow her on Twitter @bykelseyoconnor.