Thirteen-year-old Nicholas was last seen on June 13, 1994 in San Antonio, Texas playing basketball with his friends. He called home and wanted his mother to pick him up, but she was asleep and Nicholas's older brother refused to wake her. Nicholas never returned home. The authorities initially believed Nicholas left of his own accord because he had done so in the past, but he was never gone for more than a day.
Nicholas' mother stated that he occasionally hit & cursed at her, and the police were often called to the residence in response to arguments. His mother had had her brother move into their home in an effort to keep her son under control.
Nicholas was frequently truant and got into trouble when he did attend school. He has a juvenile criminal record: he broke into a convenience store, stole a pair of shoes and threatened a teacher. The sentencing hearing was set for June 14, 1994 (the day after he vanished) and one possibility was placement in a group home which Nicholas was very opposed to.
On September 25, 1994, Nicholas's older half-brother called the police and said he thought he saw Nicholas trying to break into the family's garage, but Nicholas fled when he realized his brother had seen him. The police searched the neighborhood, but couldn't find him. They don't believe Nicholas's brother had in fact seen him and neither does their mother.
In October of 1997 (three years after Nicholas vanished), law enforcement officials received a phone call from a man at a youth shelter in Linares, Spain. The caller said that Nicholas was living at the Spanish shelter after escaping from a child sex ring operation. The man said that the person believed that Nicholas had been abused for years. Nicholas's sister flew to Spain, identified the person as her brother and brought him back to Texas.
Nicholas's mother believed the man was her child, but many other people (including his uncle) were suspicious of his claims. The individual had dark brown hair and dark brown eyes and spoke with a French accent & European phrasing. He claimed his abductors had chemically altered his hair & eye color and that he picked up different speech patterns from living in Europe for so long.
The individual refused to voluntarily give blood samples or have his fingerprints taken to confirm his identity, and he refused to name his abductors. In February of 1998, the FBI got a court order to take the individual's fingerprints & blood and determine a match with Nicholas. The fingerprints identified the man as Frederic Pierre Bourdin, a 23-year-old French citizen who was posing as Nicholas. Bourdin has a criminal history in Europe and has used many aliases.
Bourdin pleaded guilty to passport fraud and perjury in 1998, admitting that he had posed as Nicholas after getting the missing boy's information from a missing child center. After Bourdin was exposed, he made several contradicting statements about Nicholas: he claimed he had known Nicholas in Spain and that he was alive, he claimed he had proof that Nicholas was deceased, and later he denied having ever met Nicholas at all and stated he knew nothing about the case. Bourdin was sentenced to six years in prison (which more than three times what the sentencing guidelines suggested) due to the harm that he caused the Barclay family.
After Bourdin's identity was discovered, police began investigating Nicholas's family for possible involvement in his disappearance. His mother was addicted to heroin in 1994, but she went into recovery after her son vanished. She passed one polygraph about Nicholas's case, but she failed the second one. Nicholas's older brother developed a drug problem after his disappearance & died of a cocaine overdose later in 1998. He had been considered a possible suspect in his brother's disappearance, and with his death, the investigation stalled.
Nicholas has never been located and his case remains unsolved. He may still be living in the San Antonio area. While many agencies continue to classify Nicholas as a runaway, foul play is suspected in his disappearance & he is classified as a endangered missing person.
Nicholas (whose nickname is "Nicky") is a Caucasian male with light brown hair & blue eyes. He has tattoos of the letters "J" on his left shoulder, "T" on his left hand between his thumb & forefinger, and the letters "L" & "N" on his outer left ankle. He also has a gap between his front teeth. He has been diagnosed with attention deficit disorder. Nicholas was last seen wearing a white t-shirt, purple pants & black sneakers. He was seen carrying a pink backpack.