In less than two days, a crowdfunding campaign has garnered tens of thousands of dollars for the four children who lost their mother in a Sams Valley homicide, allegedly at the hands of their father.
As of Wednesday evening, a GoFundMe page started Monday for the children of Tammy Rae Hicks, ages 10 to 16, had reached $22,686 in 242 donations. Among the earliest donations was from the family of Jackson County Sheriff Nathan Sickler.
“Much love to you kids and your grandparents,” the Sickler family posted. “Our family is praying for peace and comfort during this heart-wrenching time.”
A grand jury Tuesday afternoon indicted Kevin Dean Hicks Sr. on felony counts of murder, second-degree abuse of a corpse and first-degree arson, alleging he killed his estranged wife at his property near Sams Valley and attempted to dispose of her body in a trailer fire.
The grand jury’s charges followed an hour of testimony from seven witnesses, according to a release issued by the Jackson County District Attorney’s office. Witnesses were identified as Jackson County Fire District No. 3 Deputy Fire Marshal Mark Northrop, Jackson County sheriff’s Detective Sgt. Scott Waldon, sheriff’s detectives David Seese and Ben Fazio and sheriff’s deputies Adam Osborne and Anthony Grieve along with an unnamed civilian.
As of Wednesday, an arraignment on the grand jury’s charges had not been scheduled in Jackson County Circuit Court. Hicks is being held without bail in Jackson County Jail.
The alleged murder left the children with “no real assets,” according to the campaign organized by Tammy Hicks’ brother, Cody Nelson. Funds will be regulated by the children’s grandparents, according to the GoFundMe page.
“Even with family and friends stepping in where we can, the unfortunate truth of rent, utilities and food are all too present,” the page says. “The kids were left with no real assets to assist them and are in tremendous need.”
Family members told the Mail Tribune that they weren’t ready to talk about the loss of Tammy Hicks, but two women who knew Hicks through her children described Hicks as a “kind and devoted mother” who helped her children participate in a variety of activities — such as 4-H and youth basketball.
Marie Weber knew Hicks’ son as part of the Young Marines program she manages.
“She was an incredibly sweet, hardworking woman that loved her children and wanted the best for them,” Weber said.
Hazel Clements of Medford said she knew Hicks as the mother of her daughter’s close friend. Their girls played basketball together.
“She loved her kids,” Clements said in a Facebook message. “I’m just so saddened and devastated for the kids.”
Jackson County civil court records shows that Tammy Hicks had a divorce lawyer and had a pending divorce petition first filed in February. It’s unclear whether divorce papers were ever served on her husband. The day before Tammy Hicks’ death, court records show she filed a 45-day extension in divorce proceedings in order to serve her husband.
The divorce petition cited “irreconcilable differences,” but a domestic violence incident had occurred in October, according to earlier news reports.
Hicks was sentenced to probation in April after pleading guilty to a felony count of felony fourth-degree assault, admitting he slapped his wife in the face hard enough to leave a mark in an incident witnessed by their children just after 7 p.m. on Oct. 15.
A “lethality screen for first responders” questionnaire — used since 2016 by the sheriff’s office among other local police agencies in domestic violence cases — showed Kevin Hicks as a relatively low risk of seriously injuring his wife.
Four yes answers to 11 questions, touching on prior threats, the attacker’s employment status and the victim’s fear for their life automatically trigger closer scrutiny.
Tammy Hicks answered yes to only two questions on the form: “Is he violently or constantly jealous, or does he control most of your daily activities?” and “Does he have a gun, or can he get one easily?”
Tammy Hicks told a sheriff’s deputy she worried about her husband’s anger and expressed concern about future attacks; however, she reportedly told police at the time of the attack that her husband never made threats to harm her or the children.
During the October incident Kevin Hicks only threatened to harm himself, the report says.