A man has been arrested on murder charges and at least four children are believed to be without a mother in the wake of a trailer fire near Sams Valley, in which first responders found a body inside a burning travel trailer.
Kevin Dean Hicks Sr., 52, is lodged in the Jackson County Jail on charges of murder and corpse abuse charges, alleging he killed his estranged wife and burned her body inside a trailer Saturday afternoon on property located at the 3100 block of McMartin Lane, according to a release issued by the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office.
The body inside the trailer that first-responders found fully engulfed in flames Saturday afternoon is presumed to be that of Tammy Raye Hicks, 49; however, as of Sunday morning the Jackson County Medical Examiner’s office has not yet verified the body’s DNA and dental records. An autopsy will be performed later this week.
A nearby neighbor who didn’t provide her name said near the crime scene Saturday that she heard “loud popping noises” and screaming when she called 911 just after 3:15 p.m. Saturday. The fire had flames nearly 25 feet high and left a pillar of smoke before being swiftly knocked down.
Oregon Department of Forestry crews were also witnessed at the scene.
Hicks Sr. was arrested at the McMartin Lane property where he lived, according to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office. Tammy Hicks lived in the 12200 block of Table Rock Road in Central Point.
The preliminary investigation shows that Tammy Hicks had separated from her husband last October following a domestic violence incident witnessed by the couple’s four minor children, according to the sheriff’s office and Jackson County Circuit Court records.
No children were present during the alleged homicide and fire Saturday, according to the sheriff’s office.
Hicks Sr. was sentenced to probation last April after pleading guilty to a felony count of fourth-degree assault consisting of domestic violence, admitting he slapped Tammy Hicks in the face hard enough to leave a mark at Tammy Hicks’ residence in the 12200 block of Table Rock Road, according to court documents filed by sheriff’s deputies in the case.
A day after that arrest, Hicks Sr. was arrested again for violating terms of a no-contact order.
Jackson County court records show that Hicks Sr. has felony convictions from the 1980s and 1990s, though little other criminal history until 2017, when Hicks was arrested by Phoenix police in a separate misdemeanor assault case, which is still pending in Jackson County Circuit Court. Hicks Sr. was convicted of first-degree criminal mischief and felon in possession of a firearm in 1989 and second-degree assault in 1994, court records show.
A grand jury hearing is slated to hear evidence in the homicide investigation later this week, which involved the Jackson County Major Assault and Death Investigation Unit and the Jackson County Fire District No. 3 investigators.