Cleveland journalist Nikki Delamotte murdered in Wood County

Community pays respects with vigil, fundraiser

Matt Hooke, A&E Editor

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Nikki Delamotte represented some of the best that Cleveland journalism had to offer.

As an arts and culture reporter for Cleveland.com, she covered the hidden gems that make the city special, often discussing how people took elements of Cleveland’s past to create a brighter future, from how Maple Lanes—a bowling alley founded in the 1940s—became a haven for underground rock when they opened their doors to live music, to profiles of notable artists and literary figures in the area. One of her final stories, a piece on La Plaza Supermarket opening a new taqueria, exemplified how she spotlighted the local institutions that make the city special.

On Monday morning, Delamotte was found dead inside her uncle’s trailer in Wood County. She was 30.

The reporter traveled to Wood County to reconnect with her uncle after the recent death of her maternal grandmother. According to WKYC, her death has been ruled a murder-suicide.  The police say that her uncle killed Delamotte before turning the gun on himself.

Delamotte was a contributing dining editor at Cleveland Scene for two years before being hired by Cleveland.com. While an editor at Scene, Delamotte wrote an article for The Observer as part of the Dining Hall Wars series, where she compared the food options at Leutner and Fribley Commons.  She authored a book entitled “100 Things To Do in Cleveland Before You Die,” as a guide to the city’s treasures.

Tributes have poured in on Facebook and Twitter from the people who Delamotte touched through her work and personality.

“The rest of the world is mourning someone who created superheroes, but Cleveland is mourning an actual superhero,” said Cleveland Scene writer B.J. Colangelo on Twitter after Delamotte’s death, referring also to the death of Stan Lee.

Annie Nickoloff, a life and culture reporter at Cleveland.com, said she and Delamotte were planning on launching a new series called “Building a Safer Scene,” on Nov. 19. The series would spotlight people promoting inclusiveness, safety and diversity in the Cleveland entertainment scene. On Twitter, Nickoloff confirmed she will continue the series independently.

“While I know it’s going to be difficult to do the “Building a Safer Scene” series without her,” said Nickoloff in a tweet, “I know she’d be irritated if I didn’t follow through after all our planning.”

Two local business owners who knew Delamotte, Melanie Hersh of Music Saves and Rachel Kacenjar, former owner of Re/Dress, started a Gofundme page in her honor. The money raised will cover her memorial costs and will be given to her mother and partner.  

A candlelight vigil was held in her honor Thursday, Nov. 15, at Edgewater Park. A fundraiser to raise money for her family will held on Friday, Nov. 16, at The Side Quest in Lakewood.