Reporter’s death in uncle’s trailer being investigated as a murder-suicide: Police

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PHOTO: Nikki Delamotte is pictured July 14, 2016.

The deaths of a Cleveland news reporter and her uncle are being investigated as a murder-suicide, the Perrysburg Township Police Department said in a statement Wednesday.

The bodies of cleveland.com culture reporter Nikki Delamotte-Ullman, 30, and her uncle, Robert Delamotte, 67, were found Monday in her uncle’s trailer in Perrysburg Township, about 100 miles west of Cleveland and 10 miles southeast from Toledo.

Delamotte-Ullman had been shot three times, once in the chest, her right side and head, police said, and Delamotte was found with one gunshot wound to his head, which appeared to be self-inflicted.

The motive is still unclear, police said, but officers were able to view video from a surveillance system at Delamotte’s trailer that they say showed no one entered or exited the property after Delamotte-Ullman arrived at 4:16 p.m. Police said they arrived at the scene at 9:27 p.m. and found both of their bodies in the living room.

“At this time, it is unclear as to what the motive is but we will be continuing to investigate in hopes of determining why this happened,” Perrysburg Township police said in a statement.

The slain reporter had traveled to Wood County to reconnect with her father’s brother, whom she’d had little contact with since her parents’ divorce, the site she worked for, cleveland.com reported. She decided to reach out after her maternal grandmother died after succumbing to a lengthy illness, the site reported.

The pair had plans to try and score tickets to a Bob Seger concert in Toledo, her coworkers told the website. When Delamotte did not return to Cleveland Sunday night, cleveland.com reported that someone who knew of her plans reached out to her mother, JoAnne Ullman, early Monday to tell her she hadn’t heard from her.

Ullman then noticed her daughter hadn’t answered a text sent at 10:30 p.m. Sunday and called the police to report her missing, she told the site.

Delamotte-Ullman’ss cellphone and wallet were still inside her car, parked outside the trailer, Ullman told cleveland.com. Neighbors told investigators they did not hear a commotion coming from the trailer and that the man who lived there mostly kept to himself, the site reported.

Police said they found a Ruger .380 semi-automatic handgun and a Taurus .38 Special revolver on the scene, but only the revolver had been fired.

David Petkiewicz/The Plain Dealer via AP
Nikki Delamotte is pictured July 14, 2016.

Delamotte-Ullman filed her final story — a piece on FreshWater Cleveland’s project in the city’s Old Brooklyn neighborhood — over the weekend before heading to Wood county to see her uncle, according to website. She had been writing for cleveland.com for two years and also authored the book “100 Things to Do in Cleveland Before You Die.”

Delamotte-Ullman’s death has been “devastating” and “unimaginable” for the cleveland.com newsroom, editor Chris Quinn told ABC News in a statement.

“Nikki represented the highest ideals of what we do, the very best of who we are,” the statement read. “She worked tirelessly to provide Greater Cleveland with insights on the best places to eat and drink and enjoy precious leisure hours. She told the stories of people our audience would not otherwise meet. More than anything, she was kind, in an age when we need kindness. She never failed to leave an impression. Our hearts ache tonight at the loss of our dear friend and colleague.”

In an email, Quinn wrote that Delamotte-Ullman “had a unique ability to ask people challenging questions without being confrontational.”

“She was the only reporter I knew who could be both gentle and fierce at the same instant,” he said.

Pinned to the top of the reporter’s Twitter page was a testament to how much she loved her job and the city of Cleveland.

Tributes to the young reporter began to pour onto Twitter on Monday after news of her death broke.

“The reason that hundreds in Greater Cleveland have taken to social media to lament her death is they had been touched by that kindness in Nikki,” Quinn said.



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