Former MLB player's remains missing, woman sues homebuilder

"It's like we lost him twice now."


It began as a love story. Nikki Frederick met Doug Slaten, a former pitcher for Pittsburgh, in 2012, when the Pirates came to Ohio to play the Cincinnati Reds.

Four years later, Frederick gave birth to their daughter, Anika.

Slaten died that year at the age of 36.

In 2018, Frederick and Anika moved to Burlington, Kentucky.

"I talked to his mom about it. I talked to a preacher about it, and he said, 'Nikki, why don't you bury the ashes and you have basically a grave?'" Frederick said. "We buried it right by the house, and we'd sit out there and look at the stars and talk to daddy."

Frederick said she's devastated now because the urn Slaten's ashes were in is gone.

"The whole side of my house on that side was gone. They collapsed my yard so much, you could even see underneath my window wells," Frederick said.

Frederick and her attorney, Steve Doan, blame Brookstone Homes.

"Sometime in January 2020, Brookstone began construction on a lot next to Nicole's house. As a result, they didn't do proper shoring. They dug too deep of a hole, and it caused the property to begin to subside," Doan said. "She noticed where property had slid, it was where Doug Slaten had been buried."

Frederick has filed a $1.5-million lawsuit against the company for trespassing, negligence and desecration of a grave.

Frederick said the gravesite wasn't marked, but she said she contacted Brookstone to let them know the urn was missing.

"Once they received notification that human remains were buried there, they had a duty to preserve that gravesite. They didn't do that," Doan said.

Attorney Licha H. Farah, Jr. represents Brookstone Homes, Inc.

"We have advised our client to not comment on this ongoing litigation. There are heavily disputed facts. We feel that the facts are so one-sided against the plaintiff that the plaintiff has elected to use the media before the facts are decided at trial. We do not want to prejudice any potential jurors.," Farah wrote. "We do not intend to have my client make any further comment until a jury has rendered its decision in this case."

"At this point, it's our contention that the house was built on top of Douglas Slaten's remains," Doan said.

Anika, who is now 5 years old, is too young to understand what's going on, but Frederick said her daughter cries for her father.

"The kid's been through so much already, losing her dad, and we lost him again. It's like we lost him twice now," Frederick said.

This case is scheduled to go to trial in December.