Father of missing Ohio National Guard soldier pleads for help

Nation and World

WILLMINGTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Family and friends are searching for clues after a member of the Ohio Army National Guard was reported missing.

Lance Nelson has not seen or heard from his 26-year-old daughter, Michaela Nelson, in weeks.

“I received my last text from her on October 24th, and her grandmother received the last text from her on October 26th,” Nelson explained.

Michaela is the oldest of five children. She was a star athlete in high school and ran track at Cedarville University. Her dad said she is the social butterfly of the family and made friends everywhere she went.

“She’s amazing, she makes friends all the time,” Lance said.

Michaela joined the Ohio Army National Guard’s Recruit Sustainment Program in Sept. 2020. She was training to be a chaplain’s assistant.

But according to a spokesperson with the Ohio National Guard’s Office of Public Affairs, Michaela failed to check in with her unit after training in South Carolina and did not report for drills in October.

This prompted the National Guard to release the following statement:

“Spc. Michaela Nelson enlisted in September 2020 and is a valued member of the Ohio Army National Guard’s Recruit Sustainment Program (RSP).  Spc. Nelson’s family has filed a missing persons report and anyone with information is urged to contact the Columbus Police Department at 614-645-4545.  Our hope is she’s found safe. We will continue to provide any assistance needed to her family and law enforcement.”

Lance filed a report with the Columbus Police Department on Nov. 5, 2021. He also hired Private Investigator James Terry to help. Terry has been contacting family and friends, including new people in Michaela’s life.

Many of the leads are leading to unanswered questions. They were able to confirm the last known person to see Michaela was a friend who picked her up at the airport on Oct. 1, 2021. That was also the last time her car, a 2016 Gray Dodge Charger SXT, was seen.

While Michaela could face disciplinary action for not showing up to drill, Lance said the National Guard is working with the family to help get Michaela home.

“They’re also just concerned that she needs to be found and found safe,” Lance said.

Lance is now pleading with anyone who knows information about Michaela to come forward.

“Her siblings as well as me are eager to have her back, help her financially, help emotionally and every way we can. We want you back Michaela,” Lance said.

If anyone has information on Michaela’s whereabouts, contact the Columbus Police Department at (614) 645-4747. The family’s private investigator, James Terry, will also take tips. He can be reached at (813) 993-2242.

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