To anyone looking in from the outside, Nichol Olsen led a happy life. The 37-year-old mother lived with her boyfriend Charles Wheeler and two daughters in Wheeler’s upscale home in Anaqua Springs Ranch, a luxurious gated community just outside San Antonio, Texas.
Everything about that apparently idyllic life came into question when Wheeler found Nicole and both of her daughters dead the morning of January 10, 2019.
The call came in shortly after 9 a.m. Wheeler told the 911 dispatcher that he came home to find his girlfriend and her daughters dead. He believed one killed the other two—and then themselves. Authorities later confirmed the dead to be Olsen and her daughters: 10-year-old London Bribiescas and 16-year-old Alexa Montez.
Coverage of the Anaqua Springs Ranch shooting from KABB Fox San Antonio
Olsen and Wheeler’s relationship
Olsen and Wheeler had what seemed like a modern-day love story. The two met over Instagram, when Wheeler saw a post and DM’d Olsen. They began talking before finally meeting in person and officially began dating in 2016. At the time, in addition to being a hair stylist, Olsen was working with two friends to launch KeVa Col, a wristwatch and jewelry company. Both Olsen and Wheeler modeled products together.
Wheeler was no stranger to the entrepreneurial spirit. After a successful run in the rodeo circuit, he took his winnings and opened a security company, On the Go, in 2008 at only 21-years old. Three years later he sold the company and began a new one, OTG Services, which boasted over $8 million in annual revenue. In 2017, after the couple had been dating approximately a year, Wheeler purchased the $1 million San Anaqua Springs home, and Olsen moved in with her two daughters.
So where did it all go wrong?
The scene of the tragedy
The morning of January 10, 2019, deputies arrived to find Wheeler sitting in the front yard crying, though they also noted that there weren’t any visible tears on his face. When they went into the home, they found the three bodies upstairs “cold and rigid to the touch”, indicating rigor mortis had already set in. They further noted smeared blood both on the floor and walls, and a small amount pooled in the bathroom doorway. All three were declared dead at the scene.
Wheeler was immediately taken into custody. Authorities confiscated his cell phone and wallet and towed his truck, all while working to understand what exactly had taken place.
Wheeler’s description of the events
According to Wheeler, he and Olsen had been arguing the night before. He decided to leave and stay at an undisclosed relative’s house in a nearby city. He tried to call and text Olsen multiple times with no response but was allegedly texting Alexa before she eventually also stopped responding. When he couldn’t get ahold of anyone the next morning, he came home and made the gruesome discovery.
Olsen’s phone records show that she made five calls the previous night. One to Wheeler’s mom, that went unanswered, and four to 911. Of those four, only one connected, but the call dropped before the cell phone location could be verified for an officer to be sent out. Authorities have yet to release what, if anything, was said on that call.
Autopsies, reports, and crime scene analysis
Within days, the Medical Examiner concluded the autopsies and declared the two girls victims of homicide and Olsen’s death a suicide. All three were killed via gunshot wounds to the head, with the exception of London, who also had a gunshot wound to the neck.
According to reports, gunpowder residue tests were taken for both Olsen and Wheeler, and a toxicology report was requested as well, but none of the results have been released to date.
Crime scene analysts confirm the theory that this was a double murder-suicide as they couldn’t find any signs of forced entry or evidence of another individual in the home. Anaqua Springs Ranch is a gated community with twenty-four-hour security patrolling the grounds. None of the neighbors reported hearing any gunshots or seeing any suspicious activity, and the home itself had no evidence of a break-in. Police asked neighbors for security footage from any personal systems they may have, but nothing has been released to the public.
But was it really a murder-suicide?
On the surface, it appeared that the deaths were a double murder-suicide, but friends and family were adamant that was not the case.
As the investigation moved forward, new details about Olsen and Wheeler’s relationship began to emerge. Shortly after Sheriff Salazar announced the Medical Examiner’s findings, he also announced that even though Wheeler was cooperating, he was a person of interest in the case.
According to an email, Olsen had been viewing apartments the previous week and may have been planning on moving her and the girls to a complex approximately six miles from Wheeler’s home. Other friends indicated that Olsen had been slowly withdrawing from friends and family, and one stated she saw multiple indicators—including a black eye—that Wheeler may have been abusing Olsen. The police have never responded to the allegations that only appear in a single article. Older social media posts appear to have been edited to remove any accusations, only showing hints from the initial replies in the comments. Why these were changed is just another unanswered question in this case.
Both Olsen and Wheeler had previous run-ins with the law. Wheeler had been arrested multiple times over the years for public intoxication, a DWI, and had multiple speeding tickets on file. Olsen had been arrested in 2014 on suspicion of misdemeanor assault after she and her boyfriend at the time got into an argument.
Even though Olsen had a rocky past, friends and family insist she would never hurt her girls. She had been through two divorces, had survived failed relationships with all three of her children’s fathers, and always managed to maintain her vivacious spirit. She was providing for herself and her daughters and had a healthy relationship with her older, adult son. And she always left work at 2:30 p.m. so that she could pick up the girls from school and spend the afternoon with them.
To further contradict the ME’s findings, Olsen had been planning on entering London in an audition for America’s Got Talent, had an appointment with the girls the morning after their death, and was expecting her son to visit her that weekend. They insist that she cleared her schedule at the salon because she was moving out of Wheeler’s home, even though the Sheriff’s department hasn’t released anything confirming this to be the case.
Shortly after the ME’s findings, the FBI is brought in to help with the technical analysis of the evidence. But again, nothing is ever released, so we have no way of knowing what was tested, analyzed, or found with their help.
Six months later, in July 2019, Wheeler put the home up for sale and moves to Austin. He’s still noted as a person of interest, but the police make no move to stop the sale or his move.
Search warrants reveal doubt
A year later, the search warrant details are released, and they show police felt there was evidence that the deaths were a triple homicide and not a double murder-suicide. This information is supported in Sheriff Salazar’s repeated insistence that there are multiple persons of interest, not just Wheeler, even if they have not been named or are currently unknown. The report also indicated that there was electronic evidence being analyzed by the FBI.
New information released in 2021
In January 2021, several new pieces of information came to light. The first was that Sheriff Salazar, who had initially indicated he would close the case absent any new evidence by the end of 2020, stated that he had too many unanswered questions and would leave the case open. He didn’t say what those questions were, but one of them might be Olsen’s state of mind the night she died.
It's unclear when authorities may have found this information, but one of the girl’s fathers had allegedly texted Olsen that night questioning his paternity. There are no reports indicating whether this was before or after her argument with Wheeler, or what was said between the two, however, two separate lawsuits were filed against Wheeler, first by Carlos Montez and then by Hector Bribiescas, Alexa and London’s fathers, respectively.
In the lawsuits, details about text messages were released and they paint the picture of an erratic Olsen. The suits allege that Wheeler’s texts to unnamed individuals claim Olsen was acting out of character, may have been on pills, and that she was highly emotional and erratic when he left. While neither man has publicly stated anything against Nichol, they assert in their lawsuits that Wheeler left the girls with Olsen, even though he knew her “behavior was escalating, was erratic” and could have led to violence.
It further insists that he had evidence they were in danger according to texts between Wheeler and Olsen’s brother Justin. At some point, Alexa asked Wheeler if he was in the home, then stated that she thought her mother was talking to herself. Despite all that, Wheeler never called authorities.
Many questions still unanswered
There may never be answers to what happened that January night. Police have yet to release any reports or information, leading family and friends to speculate on what happened. Family members say the sheriff’s department has indicated they have a clear picture of what happened that night, but for whatever reason, refuse to release the details.
It’s been four years and despite working with the FBI, involving a cold case detective, and including the work of Project Absentis, there has been no new evidence or movement in the case. In late 2022, both girls' families have petitioned the Texas Attorney General to reassign the case to the Texas Rangers, but there hasn’t been a response from the office to date.
Did Nichol Olsen have a breakdown as the civil lawsuits allege, resulting in the tragic death of both of her daughters and herself? Did Charlie Wheeler have something to do with their deaths and manage to cover up the crime? Or did something else happen that night?
Until authorities release more information, or new evidence comes to light, we continue to hope that the families are able to heal and somehow find closure in this tragic nightmare.