The last time Alisha Dellevalle heard from Addison Waddell he was jovial, talkative and inquisitive about how things were going with his longtime friends in the barrel racing industry.
Waddell was described as jovial, talkative and inquisitive about how things were going with his longtime friends in the barrel racing industry that June day.
That’s why his recent death was a shock to the woman who’d known Waddell for more than 40 years.
“When we heard what was going on, we were praying to God that he would be coming back home,” Dellevalle told the Tulsa World. “There had to be more than one person involved in this situation who would do this to Addison.”
Waddell’s remains were found July 3 in the area of 330 Road and Gun Club Road, nearly 10 miles from where he last was seen, the Okmulgee County Sheriff’s Office reported.
He was reported missing June 24, when he had been expected to travel to North Carolina to visit relatives, after his pickup truck was found abandoned within the county.
Authorities later arrested Nacole “Nikki” Bain, 37, after she admitted to fatally shooting Waddell. Bain was reportedly the last known person to see Waddell alive. She is being held in the Okmulgee County jail on a first-degree murder complaint.
Bain and Waddell had been friends, police said.
Prior to his death, Waddell, 56, had established a longstanding reputation as an accomplished horse trainer within the barrel racing circuit.
He was an award-winning trainer who most recently owned Waddell Quarter Horse, a horse training facility in Henryetta.
“He was a phenomenal trainer and probably one of the best in the business,” said Dellevalle, who owns Sugar Magnolia Ranch in Timmonsville, South Carolina. “He could take a horse and just make it a winner. He had a niche and a talent.”
The barrel racing community, Dellevalle explained, “is a tight-knit family” and Waddell’s death has already reverberated throughout the sport.
“This had really hit the racing industry hard as losing him,” she said. “People on the outside don’t understand the impact that this has had on us.
“He was mild-mannered, very soft spoken. He would help with horses and put on clinics. He was close with people all over the southeastern and northeastern region. He had a heart as big as Texas.”
The Barrel Racing News, an international magazine that provides news about the trade, acknowledged in a Facebook post that Waddell was “not only a champion trainer and highly skilled horseman, but a genuine man who touched the hearts of so many.”
For now, those who had developed a close, strong relationship with Waddell simply want closure in the case.
“We just are hoping for closure,” Dellevalle said. “I just don’t feel one person could do this on her own. One person couldn’t do something like that.”