Someone suggested I write about Nikki Campbell for Select It Sunday, and I thought: why not? Although I did make her MP of the week awhile back, her case hasn’t gotten much press.
Her full name was Amanda Nicole Eileen Campbell, but everyone called her Nikki. She disappeared in 1991, two days after Christmas, which must make that holiday even harder than usual for her family to bear. Nikki was four and a half, but tall for her age and on the chubby side, so she may have looked a year or two older.
As you’ll see in her Charley Project casefile, some other little girls disappeared from the same general vicinity and some people think the cases are connected. A guy named Tim Bindner has been bandied around as a suspect for years. He might be guilty. Or he might just be very eccentric. Certainly his behavior is suspicious and he’s probably a pedophile, but the police haven’t found one grain of solid evidence to tie him to any of the disappearances. There are other suspects in the offing too, who unlike Bindner are proven child predators.
Tantalizingly, Nikki Campbell disappeared from virtually right outside her front door — she was going to ride her bike to a friend’s house just eight houses down from her own, and never made it. (An aside: I certainly couldn’t ride a bike at four. I wonder if by “bicycle” they actually mean a tricycle? Shrug.)
Statistically speaking, it’s likely that whoever took Nikki lived in the neighborhood and knew her, at least by sight. And there’s no evidence that she’s dead. It’s more likely than not that she was murdered, but with cases like Jaycee Dugard and Elizabeth Smart and Carlina White and of course the girls from Cleveland (and other people I’m not going to name because this list is getting too long), you have to wonder. At four, Nikki was just young enough that she could have been raised by another family and forgotten her own.
If Nikki Campbell is still out there, she’s twenty-six now.
Shantae’s money is on Tim Bindner and always has been. They better keep watching him close, maybe he’ll finally slip up and they can lay can get enough evidence to lay charges and or find the bodies.
Have you read the book about him?
What is the name of the book?
It’s called “Stalemate: A Shocking True Story of Child Abduction and Murder.” The author interviewed Bindner extensively, I believe.
Thank you, again. Meaghan, for profiling her case and getting her name out there. This is a personal cause for me, getting Nikki’s name out there. Somebody somewhere has to know something. And like you, I have not written off that she could be found someday, hopefully sooner than later. I thoroughly hope and pray that police will look at Bindner, as well as other pedophile suspects again. A fresh new look at this case would be wonderful.
This seems as good a time as any to say it: I think people should learn that there is a difference between a pedophile and a child molester. Not all pedophiles molest children, and not all people who molest children are pedophiles. Pedophilia is simply a sexual preference for children and I don’t think it’s anything anyone would choose to have, and I don’t think it can be completely eliminated in a person.
Studies have shown that the majority of people who would be considered pedophiles from a medical standpoint (i.e. they fit the diagnostic criteria in the DSM) do NOT act on their desires, because they are moral people and they realize that to do so would be wrong. I think Tim Bindner may be one of those latent pedophiles: he’s creepy, yes, he’s had inappropriate interactions with young girls, but there’s not a shred of evidence that he’s sexually abused anyone.
I feel deeply sorry for those people — the latent pedophiles, I mean, the ones who don’t act on it. They’re stuck with those feelings which they can’t do anything about and those fantasies about things they know are terrible crimes. And they can’t talk about to anyone, at risk of ruining their lives. Everyone thinks of them as monsters. Slate did a really good article about this last September:
I don’t know a lot about Binder, but one thing I am pretty sure about is that the majority of his strange behavior was directed towards the investigation into Angela Bugay’s murder. However, the police fairly recently got DNA evidence and arrested the man who killed her. Therefore, I think Binder actually may be innocent and is probably not at fault for any of these abductions, strangely enough. He must just be a pretty weird and creepy person though.
It would be very unwise of law enforcement to completely write Bindner off, in my personal opinion. Weird, creepy, are just some of the adjectives that I’ve read about Bindner. But there’s more to the guy than that. With that being said, there are some extremely strong similarities that Nikki’s case shares with that of Michaela Garecht, Amber Swartz-Garcia, and other Bay Area missing girls. Those cannot be ignored and there are other strong suspects in those cases. As I have said before, law enforcement sometimes gets focused in on one person, not allowing any insight into other possible people. While I do believe Bindner is creepy and weird, I also believe he’s a fabulous manipulator – either for or against the kidnapping stance. It’s hard to tell. And I think that is his game. Also, I do not have any sympathy for pedophiles who don’t act on their emotions or a pedophile who does act on their emotions. And I strongly hope if someone has the desire to be with a child, they seek counseling.
Why don’t you have any sympathy for pedophiles who don’t act on their feelings?
Its also worth mentioning that Nikki had played with two neighborhood boys the day before she vanished. She was on her way to the same house the day that she vanished. This particular family was known as “rambunctious” in the neighborhood.
Weird and creepy don’t cover half of it. Even if he never kidnapped anybody, what he’s done to the families of those kids is beyond just weird. Its sadistic, end of statement. He ought to of been arrested just for that alone.
Ah, but if I remember correctly, he got a medal for helping earthquake victims or some such. Funny how that works…..
Oh, and I do have one question, didn’t he sue and win a suit against the city or something for slander? How is it possible for a book to be written about him if he’s already won a lawsuit….is it all speculation or something? I don’t quite understand.
I think the book came out before the lawsuit. And he was suing the city, not John Philpin the author of the book. Besides, I wouldn’t call the book defamatory. It simply tells the facts about the missing and murdered children and what Bindner did. It’s very impartial; I can’t tell whether the author thinks he’s guilty or not.
I read the book (and still own the paperback) and though I find him creepy and a possible pedophile, I don’t think he had anything to do with the cases mentioned. I think he was just someone who became obsessed and maybe wanted to have something to do with them for the attention. I could be wrong. My gut tells me that those speed freak killers had something to do with Michaela Garecht’s disappearance.
I worked for several years as a sex offender therapist for adjudicated youth. All of these kids had molested or raped before they were 15 or 16, some as young as 11 and 12. I can tell you I have a great deal of sympathy for the struggles they endure; they have these attractions early in life and know it’s wrong, but who can they tell that won’t react negatively? Don’t get me wrong; they broke the law and I don’t condone that. I just think the article is correct and that there is a way to prevent SOME of the pedophiles from acting on their urges. Thanks for posting it, Meaghan, and keep up the good work.
I read Stalemate and found it very fascinating to say the least, except I have never thought of Tim Binder as a suspect in Michaela Garecht or illene Mischeloff’s disappearances, two other girls mentioned in the book. Either this guy, like Meaghan said, is vey eccentric, or he is extremely intelligent to avoid getting caught. I remember reading he worked with some Social Security Administration and would write notes and send money to children after looking their addresses up…very odd… I wonder if he ever did act on more than that? We may never know. He is obviously innocent in Angela Bugay’s murder because her killer was caught, despite his obsession with it, but I have always wondered about him in the disappearance of Amber Swartz-Garcia and Amanda Campbell…I have always grouped those 2 together as being possibly connected out of all the Bay Area cases, and I wonder if Curtis Dean Anderson REALLY killed Amber…there’s no evidence saying these girl aren’t alive, we just assume that by statistics. I’d love to see some closure on the San Fran Bay area abductions, these cases are unforgettable!
Although Amber Swartz-Garcia’s case is closed by LE, I do not believe Curtis Dean Anderson killed her. His house was searched by LE for evidence in Nikki’s case as well and nothing was found. I have long thought that Nikki’s, Ambers, and Michaela’s cases were so closely connected – as they were all taken in broad daylight, so close to their homes. Nikki was just riding down the street from hers, Amber was right in front of hers, and Michaela was literally ten minutes from hers. They were all blond and all within the age range of 4 – 9 years old. While that fits Curtis Dean Anderson’s “profile”, I don’t believe he had anything to do with their abductions. If you will go to http://www.missingmichaela.com, you can read Michaela Garecht’s mom’s blog. It really goes into the investigation into the Speed Freak Killers. Michaela was a little too young to fit into their profile, as they tended toward teenage to young adult women more.
I’m with you about there being a good chance that Amber, Michaela and Nikki’s cases are related, but I don’t know if you could call 5:00 p.m. in December in the foggy San Francisco Bay area “broad daylight.”
You’re right. I guess I meant in public, as opposed to sneaking in the home late at night. It was rather brazen the way she was abducted, with neighbors around.
I believe Curits did kill Amber because he abducted a second girl who escaped and he used the same MO: Root beer schnapps, so that is a very specific connection. I think he probably took Amanda also. I think Kaycee’s abductor took Michaela and murdered her.
Well, did they actually prove he gave Amber root beer schnapps? Or that he bought any around the time of the crime? That’s the kind of detail he could have remembered from his previous crime and just made up.
There are certain things I remember, silly little details, unimportant ones, about significant events in my life. Those details stand out more than the ones that actually matter.
Amber has never been found.Therefore, there is no way to know for certain if the root beer schnapps were used on her. Curtis Dean Anderson also had a reputation for admitting to murders that he did not commit. It has also been noted that he did not like Amber’s mother, Kim. Although Curtis Dean Anderson had connections to the area of Fairfield, I don’t believe he was connected to Nikki’s disappearance. However, I also believe LE have not thoroughly searched for Nikki. Although they did in the 3 days right after her disappearance and again in 2001, as a tip came in that her remains were in the underground area of a neighborhood house. LE never investigated a shrine to Nikki on the outskirts of Fairfield that was found “near a shed of sorts”. Why? Because “they couldn’t track down who made it”. Bland excuse to me and unacceptable. Her case makes me wonder if a few things are going on 1) shotty police work 2) little to no evidence 3) she’s indeed alive somewhere 4)a dead end of possible abductors.