The Disappearance of Nieko Lisi

Updated on October 12, 2019

Did Nieko really just leave New York? Why has he cut off all ties with his family and friends from New York? Why was his social media account deactivated? Is he okay? Were the mysterious circumstances surrounding Robert Knight's untimely death just a coincidence? Where is Nieko? Is there anyone out there who can still answer any of these questions? His mother still has hope that Nieko will come home, one way or another.

Who Is Nieko Lisi?

Nieko Anthony Lisi was born in New York state and raised in the small township of Addison and Hornell. He is one of four children. Lisi was last seen by his family on September 30, 2011, and there has been no information that has led to an arrest in this case.

I have followed this case for several years now, and the truth seems to only get farther and farther away. I recently spent time digging through the facts of the case that are available to me, and it has only become more unclear to me than ever as to what could have actually happened to Lisi. I've decided to share the information that I have found in hopes that maybe someone else can make sense of this case, or that someone who knows more about this case will come forward.

For the sake of his mother and his family, I pray for answers to these questions so that they may bring Nieko home.

The Days Before His Disappearance

Nieko was a typical teenager coming of age in a small town. He spent a lot of time with a rather small group of friends. Not much is known of Nieko's last days, despite the attempts by police to interview the friends that knew him best and anyone who may know why Lisi vanished.

However, it is to be believed that in the days leading up to Nieko's disappearance he took part in planning a party that took place in a cabin that is owned by his grandparents. Female clothing was left behind at the cabin and it looks to have been discarded due to the muddy conditions outside the night the party took place. A pair of pants and women's undergarments were found, but were not DNA tested. Teens believed to be at the party were all attempted to be interviewed by the local police department in Addison, New York.

The last time Nieko was known to be seen alive was at his Uncle's house. His [Nieko's] uncle has reported to police and family that Nieko and a friend, Robert Knight, came to his house on September 30, 2011, driving a GMC Canyon pickup, gold in color. His uncle states that Robert Knight told him that the pickup truck was his grandfather's, and the pair informed him they were heading to Buffalo, New York to spend time with friends and maybe camp.

However the pair were never known to have made it to Buffalo, the truck did not belong to Robert's grandfather, and this was the last time Nieko was ever seen alive by his family.

The Drop Off

On October 1, 2001, Robert Knight suddenly appeared at his parents' house in Romulus, Michigan, an almost 7-hour drive from Addison. Knight stated to his family that Lisi had dropped him off and stolen his phone. Knight claimed he arrived at home in Michigan around 10 AM. As far as anyone knows, Lisi was never actually seen in Michigan.

At this time, Lisi's family were already growing concerned about the whereabouts of Nieko. His grandmother was able to contact him [Nieko] via his cell phone around 5 PM on October 1st. Lisi hastily answered the phone and told her he was unable to talk right now but he would call her back later. He was never spoken to again.

According to news reports I have read, the 2 were spotted on camera's in Kanona New York and Rochester New York on September 30th.  I added Buffalo because that is where they were supposedly going, and then a final stop in Romulus, Michigan.
According to news reports I have read, the 2 were spotted on camera's in Kanona New York and Rochester New York on September 30th. I added Buffalo because that is where they were supposedly going, and then a final stop in Romulus, Michigan.

The Aftermath of Nieko's Disappearance

  • On October 3, 2011: a package came in the mail that contained Lisi's driver's license. It was received by Lisi's mother, Monica Button. Further investigation uncovered that the license had been found in the street outside the Hornell Post office on October 1st. The post office is only about 15 minutes from Nieko Lisi's home in New York.
  • On October 5, 2011: Nieko Lisi is reported missing.
  • On October 8, 2011: Robert Knight was questioned by police in Michigan. Reports indicate that during his interview his actions led to investigators recommending Knight to undergo an immediate mental evaluation, which evidently led to Knight being hospitalized for the following days.
  • On October 9, 2011: Robert Knight was released from the hospital where he is believed to have been given a mental evaluation.
  • On October 10, 2011: Only 10 days after Lisi is last seen alive, Robert Knight is found dead by family members in Michigan at his parents' home. He is believed to die from an apparent drug overdose.

In the days surrounding Knight's death, Lisi's facebook account ominously disappears, too—and is unable to be recovered by his mother, even to this day.

Cell Phone Data Reveals

According to Robert Knight, Lisi had stolen Knight's cell phone before he left him at his parents' house in Romulus, Michigan. Knight's cell phone account was owned by his grandmother and she deactivated the account on the same day that Knight arrived in Michigan, after she learned that the phone had allegedly been stolen by Lisi. As far as I know, there was never any information recovered or traced from Knight's phone.

However, during the investigation, there was information that was able to be received from lisi's phone. Lisi's phone last pinged on Flintlock Drive in Franklin, Tennessee. This probably seems like quite a shock; however, Lisi had apparently briefly attended high school in Franklin, Tennessee, and I assume he may have some family and friends in the area.

Did Nieko really just leave New York? Is he okay? Why has he cut off all ties with his family and friends from New York? Why was his social media account deactivated? Were the circumstances surrounding Robert Knight's timely death just a coincidence? Where is Nieko? Is there anyone out there who can still answer any of these questions?

Are There Answers in Tennessee?

Despite the growing concern for her son and her persistence to find answers that will bring her son home, police in Tennessee yielded no results. The interviews with friends and family in New York had not brought any new leads or persons of interest. However, Nieko's mother, Monica Button, continued to push and push to have more done.

Four years after Nieko disappeared, New York police traveled to Franklin, Tennessee to look for answers. After only a few days New York police located the truck that Nieko Lisi and Robert Knight had been traveling in the last time they were seen at Nieko's uncles.

The truck was uncovered in a private garage completely stripped down. However, the police came back to New York with no more information than that. The location where the truck was actually found was never released, and no arrests were made. It is unclear whether evidence was processed from the truck, if so we are led to believe that the finding of the truck never led to any other leads regarding Nieko's disappearance.

Remember how Nieko's uncle told police that Knight stated that the truck was owned by his grandfather. Police did uncover that Knights' grandfather didn't own a truck and the GMC Canyon is believed to have been stolen from a man in Addison, New York. His identity has also never been released to the public.

Did Lisi and Knight steal the truck? Did this spark a getaway plan? Were they running from something?

GMC Canyon that Nieko was last seen driving.  Recovered from a private garage in Franklin, Tn.
GMC Canyon that Nieko was last seen driving. Recovered from a private garage in Franklin, Tn.

Who Knows?

Is there anyone out there that knows what happened to Nieko Lisi? If so, who do you think it could be?

I've spent time going over this, and even trying to investigate some of Nieko's New York friends in order to determine if they have all been entirely forthcoming with the information that they may or may not have. After all, even the smallest details can help spark a lead and could help bring Nieko Lisi home.

Questions & Answers

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      • profile image

        Belle 

        10 days ago

        The path drawn on the map passes through Canada. I've never driven through the borders but i would expect there to be some documentation of them entering Canada and then the US again. Or cameras? Otherwise the path would be through PA and OH. Any tolls they would have had to pass? Rest stops, gas stations...

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