Archive for Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Officials scour area of county for woman

Olathe police ask for help in search

April 21, 2004

About 100 searchers converged on a rural area west of Leavenworth Tuesday afternoon, in hopes of finding an Olathe woman who last was seen on Sunday.

But they were unsuccessful.

Leavenworth County sheriff's officials called in volunteers from the county's fire departments to join the search for Patricia L. Hicks, 37, who on Monday was reported missing from her Olathe home.

She last was seen late Sunday, according to published reports that also said police found signs of forced entry to her home.

"Olathe came up with some information from some place, I can only assume where, that the person they were looking for was brought up here in Leavenworth County, on the west side of Leavenworth, and was left," Sheriff Herb Nye said after the search was called off late Tuesday afternoon.

"Now, left alive, left dead, left tied up? I don't know."

Searchers navigated wooded areas, as well as pastures east of the intersection of Leavenworth County Road 33 and Mount Olivet Road.

"It's cow pastures," Nye said. "It's quite a bit of scrub brush and small trees -- and hilly. It's a valley-ravine, almost."

Nye said Olathe police officers touched base with his officers Tuesday morning. A call went out for volunteers about 11:30 a.m., and the search was under way about 1 p.m.

"We had about 100 personnel up there," Nye said. "We paged the volunteer fire departments for assistance. They really turned out for us."

Participants in the search also included Lenexa, Overland Park and Olathe police.

"It made fast work of it," Nye said.

While he said he didn't want to speculate on whether information about where to search came from Hicks' estranged husband, who is in police custody, Nye said, "I don't think they just picked a field up here in the middle of Leavenworth County and decided to go and search it."

Olathe officials also searched a home in the 200 block of South Main Street in Lansing in connection with the case.

Nye said he wasn't certain when additional searches would be conducted in Leavenworth County.

"I think there are some other areas that they want to look at, whether we do it today, tomorrow, I don't know," he said about 5 p.m. Tuesday.

Reports published in Tuesday's Kansas City Star provided other details about Hicks: Her husband, Gary, 36, was charged last month in Johnson County District Court with making a criminal threat against her. His bond was set at $1,000, and he was ordered to have no contact with her as a condition of the bond. On Monday, after Patricia Hicks was reported missing, his bond was increased to $500,000, and he was taken into custody. Court records show that Patricia Hicks filed for divorce March 22, two days after the criminal-threat charge was filed. A judge had issued a protection order that Patricia Hicks had sought against her husband.

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