Nikki had been married to Phil January for less than two years and both were employed at Grand Casino. Friends described January as a jealous control freak who Nikki feared. Once a fun-loving, happy woman, Nikki became a loner who was afraid to socialize with her fellow workers. January often had his spies watching her.
Nikki had a five-year-old son, Zachary, from a previous marriage to co-worker, Mike Williams. Nikki adored Zack, so the notion that she would intentionally do something to take herself completely away from him forever seemed ludicrous to those who knew her.