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What Car did Nickole Atkinson Drive? And Does it really Matter?

“What Car did Nickole Atkinson Drive?” This was one of the unexpected questions I was confronted with when trying to visualize the final moments of Shan’ann’s life, when Nickole drove her home from Denver International airport in the early hours of August 13th, 2018.

It was an agonizingly difficult to answer in early September, when I was writing THE MAN UNDERNEATH CHRISTOPHER WATTS.  I knew how I wanted to open the narrative – which became a series of 9 books – and I needed Nickole’s car to do that. What car did she drive? At that stage there was no bodycam footage. It wasn’t even certain what color or what type of vehicle Niockole’s car was.

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It took a thorough search of Nickole’s Facebook timeline to come across a small handful of references to her car. Like this one.


And this.45491553_10210933259042030_2880445844564213760_n

In the screengrab of a video [below] it’s almost possible to see the brand of the vehicle on the steering column.

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When I posted an audio excerpt of the book onto YouTube recently, some listeners were quick to point out [obviously with the benefit of the bodycam footage] that Nickole’s car isn’t a “battered Mitsubishi”.

Some said it was a Chevy Malibu, which isn’t a bad stab at it except the rear lights don’t line up and the logo is very prominent.cc_2019chc110006_02_640_gaz

It does look like it could be a Mitsubishi [see below], but it’s not. When I reviewed the data I wondered what made me think it was a Mitsubishi to begin with?

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Well, it was this image.

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The first time I saw this image, I looked closely and saw the Mitsubishi name and logo, and GT on the right hand side. But I should have looked even closer. Above Mitsubishi was the word DART although the font made it hard to make out. Was the D an O or a 0? Was it 0art? The letter “E” was also peeking out beside Nicolas’ star-spangled shirt. That ought to have been a clue too.

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As one YouTube commenter rightly pointed out, Nickole’s car is a DODGE DART, a vehicle that was discontinued in 2016. The image below is missing the GT but the one below it has the GT on the right, just as Nickole’s car does.


Although there are a couple of permutations of the Dodge logo, and often in either red or black, the Mitsubishi logo is still pretty distinct.

This [below] was the original post.

In the scheme of things, the make and color of Nickole Atkinson’s vehicle wasn’t relevant to the facts of the Watts case, but it’s still important that True Crime Rocket Science gets the details [even the unimportant ones] right.


  1. Gina

    There is audio of Nicole speaking with the 911 operator and the operator asks her about her vehicle and Nicole responds “a Dodge Dart”

  2. nickvdl

    That’s interesting, thank you.

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