Left and Center: Nicholas circa, 1994
Right: Age Progressed to age 26
Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance
Missing Since: June 13, 1994
Missing From: San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas
Classification: Endangered Missing
Date Of Birth: December 31, 1980
Age: 13 years old
Height and Weight: 4’8″ and 80 pounds
Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian Male, Brown hair, Blue eyes, Nicholas was diagnosed with having ADD; attention deficit disorder prior to his disappearance, he has the following tattoos: a letter “J” on his left shoulder, the letter “T” on his left hand which was in between his thumb and forefinger, and the letters “L” and “N” on his outer left ankle, Nicholas has a gap between his two front teeth and he might use the nickname “Nicky”
Clothing/Jewelry Description: A white t-shirt, purple pants, black sneakers, Nicholas was last known to be carrying a pink backpack
NCMEC Number: 802112
Details of Disappearance
Nicholas Barclay disappeared from San Antonio, Texas in June 13th 1994. He played basketball with his friends at a basketball court located in Fort Sam Houston. He called his home phone and wanted his mother to come and pick him up. His brother answered the phone but refused to wake their mother who was sleeping since she works the night shift. Nicholas ultimately decided to walk home. He never arrived and was never seen again.
Investigators originally believed that Nicholas was a runaway. He was a very problematic and troublesome teenager at the time of his disappearance. He was known to get in trouble at school. He threatened his teachers and had trouble with truancy as well. He also had a juvenile criminal record for breaking into a convenience store and stealing a pair of shoes. Nicholas was also physically and verbally abusive towards his mother and the police were sometimes called to his home.
At some point prior to Nicholas’s disappearance, his mother asked her older son, Jason, to move in with them and to potentially help take control of Nicholas. This apparently caused more trouble in their household since Jason had a drug addition and a violent temper.
Nicholas had a scheduled court appearance the day after his disappearance. The judge would determine if Nicholas should stay at home with his mother and brother or if he should be sent to live in a group home. Nicholas did not like the idea of losing the freedom he had while living at home.
Investigators don’t think he left on his own anymore. Nicholas has previously runaway from home but he would only be gone for a day or so. He also only had $5 with him and had no additional possessions with him at the time. His mother has suggested that Nicholas might have entered a strangers car since it wasn’t unusual for him to do so and met with foul play afterwards.
On September 25th 1994, Jason called the police and claimed he saw Nicholas attempting to break into the garage of the family’s home. He said Nicholas fled after presumably noticing he had been caught. Investigators searched the area and neighborhood but found no evidence that Nicholas was there. They do not believe the sighting to be accurate.
His case went cold until over 3 years after his disappearance. In October of 1997, investigators received a phone call from a man who was at a youth shelter in Linares, Spain. The man claimed that Nicholas was living at the shelter after he escaped from a child sex ring operation. His sister, Carey, flew to Spain along with her employer and she believed the man to be her long lost brother.
According to Nicholas, he was abducted as he walked home by high ranking government officials who abused him and many other children for years. They also allegedly performed experiments on the boy which caused his blue eyes to change to brown and his hair to darken. He claimed they did this to make him unrecognizable as the missing boy.
While his immediate family, except Jason, believed this man to be their long lost family member, his extended relatives had their doubts. It’s entirely impossible to alter a persons eye color and when comparing photographs of the found man to missing Nicholas, they noticed his ear shapes were different and he didn’t resemble the boy at all. He also had a thick European accent which was seemingly odd as well
His behavior was also odd and he didn’t seem to remember anything about his previous life before being abducted. He refused a blood test and also refused to identify his alleged abductors. However, in February of 1998, the Federal Bureau of Investigation got a court order for the man to voluntarily give blood samples and probe his identity.
The samples identified him as Frédéric Pierre Bourdin. He was 23 years old and was a French citizen who posed as Nicholas and various other missing children from Europe. Bourdin claimed he gathered Nicholas’s name and information from a missing children’s center.
Bourdin was convicted of perjury and passport fraud in 1998 and admitted to posing as the missing child. He made several compelling statements about the boy’s disappearance afterwards. He at one point claimed that he had met Nicholas in Spain and that he was still alive. He now denies this statement and claims he has proof the boy was dead and his theory on the case. He served 6 years in prison for his crimes against the Barclay family.
He believes that Jason was killed by someone within the family. He noted how oddly they all acted around him and fed him information about Nicholas so he would remember it. The family even went as far as to still believing he was the real Nicholas even after he was exposed.
Bourdin said he was baffled by this all. Investigators have also considered the possibility that Nicholas’s family was somehow involved in his disappearance. His mother was subjected to three polygraph exams, she passed the first two but failed the third. She was addicted to drugs in 1994 but did go into recovery after Nicholas disappeared.
Police also noted that Jason’s phone call he made in September of 1994 wasn’t uncommon. They called it a common tactic in which people did this to make others fall under the assumption that the person was still alive. He was questioned by investigators multiple times but he never revealed anything incriminating.
Some speculate that Jason killed Nicholas and that their mother helped cover up the crime to protect Jason. This possibility has not been substantiated but investigators call Jason a possible suspect in his brothers case. Before anything could happen, Jason died of a drug overdose in 1998. Many people believe this to be intentional but it’s unclear.
Jason’s death threw the investigation into a frigid cold state. It’s unknown if he or anyone in the family had a hand in Nicholas’s disappearance or not. It’s possible Nicholas is still in the local area, some agencies might classify Jason as an endangered runaway.
Nicholas’s disappearance remains unsolved and foul play is considered a high possibility in his case. He has never been recovered.
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
San Antonio Police Department 210-207-7484
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children