Baxter

A Richmond truck driver has been charged with fabricating a shooting last Friday at Walmart, but his connection to a missing mother of three has peaked law enforcement’s interest.

Joseph Eugene Hicks, 53, has been charged with criminal mischief, first degree, falsely reporting an incident and tampering with physical evidence. He is in the Scott County Detention Center on $100,000 cash bond. He was arrested and charged Friday, Feb. 21.

Hicks is also the ex-boyfriend of Sheena Baxter, 32, said Baxter’s sister Christ Crumley. Baxter was last seen Friday night about 7:30, Crumley said.

Police are not saying there is any connection between the two incidents and Hick’s has not been charged with Baxter’s disappearance. However, in 2018, on two different occasions, Baxter filed for an order of protection against Hicks accusing him of abuse, stalking and sexual assault.

The coincidence between the two incidents had the news media buzzing Friday as TV stations interviewed Crumley at her home, court officials scrambled to fill open records requests and law enforcement officials followed multiple leads in each case.

Hicks stopped someone in the parking lot of the Speedway at Darby Drive Friday night, blood pouring from his injured wrist, witnesses said. He was suffering from an apparent gunshot wound and told police he was approached by a large black male who demanded his wallet. Hicks told police the incident happened in the tire and lube area of the Walmart parking lot.

Georgetown Police Department investigators reviewed video from Walmart and nearby businesses and could not find where Hicks ever stopped at the shopping center. Investigators interviewed witnesses at the nearby gas station and tire and lube center parking area beside Walmart and no one reported hearing any gunshots.

Police discovered by video Hicks had actually been inside a semi-tractor trailer rig at Phoenix Transportation eight minutes before the 9 p.m. Walmart shooting was alleged to take place. 

A probe of Hicks’ truck revealed a bullet hole inside the truck and the bullet went through the driver side seat, the windsheild and driver-side visor. The damage to the side is estimated at over $1,000, police reports state.

A video recorded Hicks at Phoenix Transportation with cleaning materials in an effort to clean his truck on Sunday, Feb. 16, police reports state.

Across town, Baxter’s family is still awaiting any word on or from the missing mother.

“We’re not doing too good,” Crumley said. “We don’t really have any interest in doing anything but look for Sheena.”

The arrest of Hicks created a brighter spotlight on Baxter’s disappearance, and Crumley is using that in an effort to solicit information about her sister.

“We haven’t heard anything from the investigators,” Crumley said. “We’d like to know something, but we haven’t heard anything. Of course, I sure they are doing their job, so we’re just trying to be patient and hope we hear from her soon.”

The Scott County Sheriff’s Office is leading the investigation into Sheena Baxter’s disappearance, but an outside volunteer group with bloodhound tracking dogs searched Wednesday night, starting at the woman’s last known location. The bloodhound group is not affiliated with the sheriff’s department but came at the family’s request.

The sheriff’s office is following several leads and are working on a timeline before and up to the moment she disappeared, said Sgt. Eddie Hart. Other law enforcement agencies have joined in the investigation for the woman.

Baxter stepped outside Crumley’s home Friday night to wait for her boyfriend, Crumley said. Because she was expected to leave with her boyfriend, no one was initially concerned, Crumley told WKYT-TV. Hicks is not the boyfriend for whom Baxter was waiting, Crumley said.

“When she went out we just assumed that maybe she did leave with him right then and there,” Crumley said. “He might have just came by, and then, you know, when he called  and let us know he didn’t and wanted to know where she was, we went outside and her bag and everything was still there.”

Baxter is described by Crumley as 5’1”, slim build, about 120 lbs. with blue eyes and reddish brown hair and fair skin.

“At this point I’m begging for answers,” Crumley posted on social media. “She has three young girls who love her and need her. I need her to be here too. This isn’t right or normal in our world not to hear from her.”

In 2018, Baxter twice filed for protection orders against Hicks. The first went into effect June 7, 2018, but cancelled when Baxter left the courtroom during recess and did not return. Court records stated Baxter filed for a second order of protection when Hicks chased Baxter in a vehicle on Aug. 21, 2018, tried to get into her vehicle and then followed her home and cussed her. When the second EPO was issued, Hicks was ordered by the judge to surrender his firearm.

Anyone with information on Sheena Baxter should contact the Scott County Sheriff’s Office at 502-863-7855 or TEXT-A-TIP anonymously at 859-509-0510.

 

Mike Scogin can be reached at mscogin@news-graphic.com. 

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