Coats’ father and aunt then went to check on her at her apartment, where they were met with a gruesome scene, local TV station KTLA 5 reported.
“I couldn’t recognize her,” May Stevens, Coats’ aunt, told KTLA 5. “I believe it was murder, I really do. One of her legs was up in the air in a kicking position. That’s not somebody who just laid in their bed and died.”
Two Black models were found dead inside their Downtown, Los Angeles luxury apartments within three miles of each other, in one week.— South Central Native 📸⚡️✍🏾 (@slausongirlnews) September 17, 2023
The family believes these two deaths are connected and there is a predator/serial killer on the loose in Los Angeles. pic.twitter.com/CXeZizghel
Loved ones said it was Coats’ friends who last heard from her on Sept. 8 when she told them that she was going out on a date. The model’s mother, Sharon Coats, said she doesn’t know anybody who would hate her daughter.
“I don’t know who she went out with or what transpired there,” Sharon told KTLA 5. “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.”
She added, “This is senseless and I want some answers because my daughter is gone. And it’s not fair. I want everybody to find out who did this to her. She shouldn’t be gone.”
Just a couple days following Coats’ death, another model, 31-year-old Maleesa Mooney, was found dead inside her apartment, which is less than a mile away from Coats’ apartment, leading both families to believe there’s a possible link due to the similarities.
31-year-old model Maleesa Mooney was found dead in her downtown LA apartment on Sept. 12, according to the LAPD. Two days before, on Sept. 10, authorities found 32-year-old Nichole Coats dead in her apartment, less than a mile away. https://t.co/HhUXpJbTa6
— FOX 11 Los Angeles (@FOXLA) September 17, 2023
“When a week went by, we just knew something was off,” Mooney’s cousin Bailey Babb told KTLA 5. “Her messages weren’t delivering, and we knew something was up because we all have a special relationship with Maleesa.”
Officials said they are investigating Mooney’s case as a murder. Coats’ case, however, is considered as a “suspicious” death right now. Over the weekend, LAPD Officer Drake Madison said “we had no information of any type of homicide or anything” of Coats’ death. He added, “We couldn’t find anything on that. … It could be anything.”
Coats’ loved ones have organized a GoFundMe page, which has raised over $15,000 so far.
“Nikki’s vibrant personality was one that touched and affected everyone she crossed paths with,” the page stated. “She is known as an amazing daughter, friend and soul. Her untimely passing has left us shocked. There’s no way we could have imagined or prepared for this difficult time.”
Anyone with information pertaining to the case is encouraged to call the Los Angeles Police Department at (877) 527-3247.