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Originally published June 18, 2008 at 12:00 AM | Page modified June 18, 2008 at 1:48 AM

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Wife of missing man files for divorce

The wife of a 28-year-old SeaTac man, whose disappearance in February sparked widespread attention and Internet speculation and sleuthing...

Seattle Times staff reporter

The wife of a 28-year-old SeaTac man, whose disappearance in February sparked widespread attention and Internet speculation and sleuthing, has filed for divorce, according to documents filed last month in King County Superior Court.

Nicholas Francisco vanished after leaving his Queen Anne graphic-design job on Feb. 13.

Five days later, his red 1992 Toyota Paseo was found abandoned outside a Federal Way condominium complex, but sheriff's detectives found no indication that he'd been the victim of foul play and no evidence of his whereabouts.

As a result, investigators with the King County Sheriff's Office have said the case is no longer on the front burner, although detectives will keep it open until they can rule out any possible criminal connection.

Sheriff's Sgt. James Laing said that if Francisco did disappear on his own, there is nothing illegal about it.

"People disappear for various reasons all the time," he has said. "Adults decide they want to start another life for various reasons."

Christine Francisco, who initially said she believed her husband had been murdered, launched a massive public appeal on TV and on the Internet pleading for information right after he went missing.

His disappearance and her request spawned an unusual level of interest, prompting amateur sleuths to bombard the Sheriff's Office with investigative suggestions, according to sheriff's spokesman Sgt. John Urquhart.

In March, Christine Francisco said in a newspaper interview that the reality of her situation was settling in and she was coming to realize that, regardless of the reason for his disappearance, she might not see her husband again.

"There's a point you have to face the facts," Francisco said then. "You can't sit and hide in a corner your whole life, especially if you have kids. His disappearance hasn't made the world stop spinning; the bills need to be paid."

Christine Francisco filed for divorce on May 28, citing "willful abandonment that continues for an extended period of time." She also cites the Revised Code of Washington referring to a "history of acts of domestic violence or an assault or sexual assault, which causes grievous bodily harm or the fear of such harm" under a section requesting restrictions on Nicholas Francisco's access to their children.

Christine Francisco also asked that the court award her the couple's common property and assign the couple's common debt to him.

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Francisco said she had no comment when reached by e-mail Tuesday. Francisco's attorney did not return calls.

Christine Clarridge: 206-464-8983 or cclarridge@seattletimes.com.

Information from Seattle Times archives and staff reporter Jennifer Sullivan is included in this report.

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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